By Toby Prince
A Professor of Anthropology and Head, Department of Anthropology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), P. J. Ezeh, has alleged that witchcraft don’t exist as it a product of mere fantasy.
The academic presented the lead paper at the just held controversial international conference on witchcraft at the university.
To the immediate past President of Pan-African Anthropological Association (PAAA), witchcraft does not exist. He described it as mere adult bugbear currently used mainly by new generation churches to exploit the poor and uninformed.
Well, this is what the most rigorous researches in the science that makes a specialty of studying autochthonous social structures and social processes everywhere on our planet have found. And the findings are consistent across space and time, whether it is ancient or present time, or anywhere in all the continents.
Some people may say, if this is the case, why then does the mention of witchcraft generate so much panic, indeed tension? What then is the essence of my paper? What I addressed in my paper is witchcraft belief. The claims on the nature of witchcraft are, of course, part of the belief. So, belief is just what it is: belief. It does not always translate to the existence of whatever it is that is claimed to exist. Sometimes it may, at other times it may not. Studies have shown that what all those experiences with belief in witchcraft in societies outside Africa have in common is that they belong to the past. In Israel, in European countries, and North America it will be laughable to talk seriously about witchcraft as a real-life experience today. Things pertaining to witchcraft survive in the lexicon in figurative sense only. Professor Daniel Offiong, one of Nigeria’s best known experts on the subject, spent about ten years studying witchcraft.