THE WITCH WHO COLLECTED MAHANGU TO PREPARE LUNCH FOR HER FAMILY:
She appeared suddenly from the Mahangu fields next to the village. Her old thin and wrinkled arms full of Mahangu. [ a type of maize]
Slowly she walked straight to me: Êhwah! She greeted me!
Born on 30 January 1930 in Mahangu, today a wild life reserve 20 Km south of Divundu on your way to the Okavango Delta in Botswana.
While we were sitting under a tree, in that same Mahangu field where she collected the Mahangu, her daughter told me:
‘ After my second sister died we took her to a witchdoctor because we suspected my mother to be a witch, killing her daughters, my sisters. The witchdoctor gave her something to drink, if you die it is a confirmation that you are the witch in the family, causing death and other bad stuff. She did not die , but was vomiting a lot! According to the witchdoctor she was stronger than him, that is why his potion where not able to kill her. If someone in the family die again we need to a stronger witchdoctor to stop her, he said’
Well another family member did die, she explained, that is why we want to kill her!
Repuruka had a handbag with her! She was fiddling with it the whole time , never looked up to her 3 children who was sitting next to her.
I tried to make her feel comfortable by asking questions about her childhood , wildlife at that time in Mahangu and the great Okavango river. Later she start to look up and her eyes met mine…did I hear her eyes saying?; Are you also going to accused me!!!, or was it my imagination?!
At that time three young boys ( age 9,7 and 6) came back from school and joined the conversation in the Mahangu field!
Than her son asked me directly: Do you think that she is a witch? Without hesitation I said: No! I don’t believe it!
I than asked her directly:
Are you afraid if you hear your children accusing you of being a witch?
For a few seconds there were absolutely silence…even nature holds its breath…and than, she looked me straight into my eyes and said:
“Wouldn’t you be afraid if your family accused you of being a witch?”
Everything in me , every muscle, every drop of blood revolted against this superstitious believe that is tolerated in the name of culture. A Believe that brings huge tensions and distrust in families.
I turned to her daughter, the judge and jury of her mother, and said:
One day your mother will be dead and you will be old and family members in your family, younger than you will die…and then they will accused you to be the witch of the family and your life will be in danger!
Maybe , you will be in your hut , listening to the outcry coming from another hut in the village because a young person had died, and you know you will be accused, but you also know that you had nothing to do with it.
Maybe than you will remember that you believed it about your own mother ,and now it is your turn to be the witch! How do you think you will feel and how are you going to disapproved it?
I am sure that I could see the frightening thoughts in her eyes for a moment! Well I hope that she can’t sleep tonight being haunted by this thoughts!
I told the family, and the old one, about the village we want to build , where she will be save and the community hopefully be educated about so called witches.
Again the daughter asked me:
What will the advantage be for the family?
If a witchdoctor or whoever planted the seed of evil in your minds about your mother being a witch, he/she knew that one of you will someday trying to be the hero of the family and killed her… But he/she will surely go to jail! So , my dear lady to answer your question: Our village will not only be a save place for your mother but will also keep one of your family members out of jail, by not giving him/her the change to be a murderer like the man of KAKE village who is now in jail as you all know!
I greeted everyone and turned to the 3 schoolboys saying:
Please tell your teachers I want to come to your school and teach you about the Brain and witches like your grandmother!
You might be disagree with my methods but tonight I hope that another witch will go to bed with hope for herself and so called witches like her!
Education is the strongest weapon which can change the superstitions about witches and wizards in the Kavango!