Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Two friends sent me a link to this New York Times story ("In Africa, Accusation of Witchcraft Leads to Abuse") on children accused of witchcraft. I read it with a growing sense of nausea.

In my novel The Witch’s Trinity, a family member has possibly accused her mother-in-law of witchcraft because there is not enough food, and she wants one less mouth around the table. And that’s exactly what is happening today in Angola, Congo and the Congo Republic. Except instead of happening to grownups, it’s happening to children.

The article reports:

Officials attribute the surge in persecutions of children to war — 27 years in Angola, ending in 2002, and near constant strife in Congo. The conflicts orphaned many children, while leaving other families intact but too destitute to feed themselves.

“The witches situation started when fathers became unable to care for the children,” said Ana Silva, who is in charge of child protection for the children’s institute. “So they started seeking any justification to expel them from the family.”

This picture is of a six-year-old boy Afonso Garcia, pushed out of his family home because of accusations of witchcraft. He now lives in a shelter with other boys who were accused. Children are being beaten, abandoned and even killed for being witches.

Although my novel describes a horrifying situation, I appreciated the buffer of its being long ago and far away (and fictional, although it certainly could be any woman’s story from medieval Germany). This New York Times story just makes my heart ache… it is happening now.