Monday, January 30, 2017


The Director of Public Prosecution’s office in Swaziland has told witchdoctors in the kingdom to stop murdering people for body parts.
The witchdoctors, also known as tinyanga, were advised to go to the Ministry of Health for body parts, such as bones.

There have been ongoing concerns in Swaziland that people, especially those with albinism, have been targeted. Witchdoctors use the body parts to make spells that they claim bring people good luck.  Their services are especially sought after by candidates contesting parliamentary and local elections. Sport teams have also been known to use spells to bring them good fortune during matches.

Macebo Nxumalo from the Director of Public Prosecutions told members of the Tinyanga Association, meeting in Manzini on Thursday (26 January 2017) witchdoctors who needed human bones must visit the ministry of health and see if they cannot get help there, the Swazi Observer newspaper reported.

During the national elections in Swaziland in 2013, people with albinism lived in fear that their body parts would be harvested by candidates seeking good luck. 

Independent Newspapers in South Africa reported at the time, ‘In the past albinos, who lack the skin pigment melanin, as well as epileptics have been specifically targeted, prompting the police to set up registries. 

‘In 2010, the killing and mutilation of albinos, including in one instance the decapitation of two children in Nhlangano, prompted panic.’

In August 2013, Independent Newspapers quoted an academic at the University of Swaziland, who did not want to be named, saying, ‘Ritual killings to achieve elected office are a natural outgrowth of a government based not on rationality or democratic principles but on superstitious beliefs. 

‘The Swazi king claims power through an annual Incwala festival where a bull is brutally sacrificed and mysterious rituals occur, and this sets the tone. No one knows how office-holders are appointed in Swaziland. It’s all done in secret, without recourse to merit or any rhyme or reason, so this fuels irrational beliefs. 

‘Ritual murder has long been part of Swazi life.’

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