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Witchcraft in Ghana: Belief, Practice and Consequences

Author: Kwasi Atta Agyapong
ISBN 978 – 9988 – 3 – 1740 – 9
DOI: 10.38159/npub.eb2021502
Published:  27th May, 2021.

There are varied views concerning the belief in witchcraft in Ghana. In pre-Christian religions in Ghana, reality consists of an organism and physical entities imbued with varying degrees and qualities of supernatural power and hardly do things happen at will, naturally, accidentally, or by negligence. The material realm and the realm of the supernatural are not detached from each other but are fettered up and undivided: nothing is purely natural, since spirits control everything and vicissitudes occur as a result of one spirit acting upon another thing, thus a chain reaction. Deaths are hardly natural as well as sicknesses and business failures. There is always a link between physical evil and supernatural wicked forces that are the witches. The belief of Ghanaians with regards to witchcraft affects the way they live and act which has a direct bearing on Ghanaian society. Witchcraft belief also embraces a system of values that regulate human conduct. Witchcraft takes part in all misfortunes and scarcely may any hypothetical evil transpire, deprived of a witch who is branded to have activated the malicious act.

The people of Ghana often seek higher powers or spiritual persons who will protect them from the witches who are regarded as life-threatening forces. The early missionaries who came to Ghana, in their zeal to “evangelize and civilize the indigenous people” spelled out that, belief in the spirit-forces such as the gods, fetishism, dwarfs, amulets and witchcraft are devilish and demon induced, thus enforcing their belief in the spiritual forces but failed to provide for the all-inclusive needs of the people to combat these life-threatening forces as they have believed over the years. As a result, this has been a struggle for Ghanaians and down through the centuries to date, the belief of the activities of witchcraft has hugely affected the Ghanaian society. Debrunner’s research in Ghana in 1959 postulated that witches cause social instability such as famine, rapid change, oppression and economic distress. Field’s case studies and analysis of so-called witches in Ghana also revealed that witchcraft is attributed to psychological imbalances resulting from ill health and misfortunes. In Ghana, an effective Christian ministry with significant relevance and impact seems intolerable unless one takes into account the misfortunes and evil promulgated by witchcraft and how to deal with them. Access to power and dominion to deal with witchcraft is critical not only for realistic pastoral care but also for understanding African responses to the Gospel throughout Christian mission history. The concept of Witchcraft issues has spread over the years in Ghana and this has greatly impacted Ghanaian society. The speculations that all misfortune, social instability, the canker in society, mishaps, sicknesses, and all negatives in life are caused by witches are quite widespread. Belief, Practice and consequences stemmed from the fact that some Ghanaians have shirked all their responsibilities and roles in society but rather blame witches when bad things happen to them. This inadvertently situates Ghanaians at a pedestal where they are helpless about the plights they are faced with because a power beyond their reach is in control.

The book seeks to find ways to understand the Ghanaian belief in the activities of witchcraft and to quantify its impact on the socio-economic, religio-cultural and psychological development of Ghanaians. This book is based on research conducted by the Author to find out the effect of witchcraft belief on Ghanaian Society. The nine-chapter book discusses the concept of witchcraft belief in Ghana, the acquisition of witchcraft and the living conditions of these accused witches in some selected witch camps in Ghana. The book also looks at the activities of witches and wizards from the Ghanaian perspective as well as the effects of their activities on the economy and social lives of the people. It finally discusses the biblical, anthropological and psychiatric perspectives of the belief and activities of witchcraft in Ghana.

Kwasi Atta Agyapong, BTh, MA Pentecostal Studies, Research Associate, School of Theology and Missions, Pentecost University – Ghana and a Member of the American Anthropological Association. He is an Ordained Minister of The Church of Pentecost, and currently the District Minister for Nkawkaw Asuboni, Eastern Region – Ghana. His areas of interest in academics are Biblical Studies, Witchcraft Studies, Pentecostal Studies, and Anthropology. He has authored several articles on Witchcraft Studies and Pentecostalism in several peer-reviewed journals. He is a reviewer for some journals. He is also the author of the novel book entitled, The Effects of the Belief in the Activities of Witchcraft in Ghana, published by Lambert Academic Publishers in Germany with editions in Polish, Italian, French, Portuguese and German.

CHAPTER ONE
THE CONCEPT OF WITCHCRAFT BELIEF IN GHANA
Introduction – 1
The Concept of Witchcraft belief – 1
Witches fly at night – 2
Witches drink human blood and eat human flesh – 3
The Position adopted by the book – 4



CHAPTER TWO
SCHOLARLY VIEWS ON THE CONCEPT OF WITCHCRAFT BELIEF

Introduction – 6
Opoku Onyinah – 6
Abraham Akrong – 10
Rick Joyner – 12
Daniel Olukoya – 12
Perry Stone – 13
J.P. Timmons – 13
Johannes Merz – 14
Alexander Crampton – 15
Owusu Berempong – 16
Conclusion – 17


CHAPTER THREE
WITCHCRAFT ACQUISITION AND WITCH CAMPS IN GHANA

Introduction – 18
Witchcraft Acquisition – 18
Witch camps in Ghana – 19
Bonyasi witch camp – 19
Gambaga witch camp – 19
Gnani witch camp – 20
Gushegu witch camp – 21
Kpatinga witch camp – 22
Kukuo witch camp – 22
Nabuli witch camp – 23
Perspectives of Ghanaians outside the witch camp – 23
Assemblages of Witchcraft Belief and Practice in Ghana – 24
Addressing the three groups of witchcraft belief and practice in Ghana – 24
Witch-cynic paradigm – 24
Witch-detectors – 25
Witch-centric conduct – 25



CHAPTER FOUR
THE BEDROCKS OF WITCHCRAFT BELIEF INTHE GHANAIAN SOCIETY

Introduction – 27
Witchcraft belief and the family set up in Ghana – 27
Witchcraft belief on marriage and fertility in Ghana – 29
Witchcraft belief and Chieftaincy in Ghana – 30
Witchcraft and economic conditions of Ghana – 31
Witchcraft belief and unemployment in Ghana – 34
Witchcraft belief on poverty, sickness and social vices – 35
Witchcraft belief on misfortune – 36
Conclusion – 36


CHAPTER FIVE
AKAN AND KONKOMBA WITCHCRAFT INVESTIGATIONS

Introduction – 37
Akan Witchcraft Test – 37
Konkomba Witchcraft Test – 38
Appraisal of Witchcraft trials of the Akan and Konkomba – 40
Conclusion – 41


CHAPTER SIX
WITCHCRAFT BELIEF, PRACTICE AND CONSEQUENCES IN GHANA

Introduction – 42
Gender and age discrimination – 42
Educational Challenges – 44
The increased rate of Poverty – 45
Medical challenges – 46
Estrangement of relationships – 46
The Incidence of Lawlessness – 47
The Exploitation of the weak and the vulnerable by the strong and affluent – 48
Conclusion – 48


CHAPTER SEVEN
BIBLICAL, ANTHROPOLOGICAL AND PSYCHIATRIC PERSPECTIVES OF WITCHCRAFT BELIEF IN GHANA

Introduction – 49
Biblical Perspective – 49
Witchcraft belief on marriage and fertility – 49
Biblical perspective on the belief that witches fly at night – 51
Biblical perspective on witches drinking human blood and eating human flesh – 52
Biblical perspective on witches causing poverty,sickness and other social vices – 54
Biblical perspective on witches causing misfortune – 55
Biblical Perspective on Curbing the activities of witches through witch camps – 57
Anthropological Perspective – 58
Psychiatrists Perspective – 60
Conclusion – 61


CHAPTER EIGHT
WITCHCRAFT BELIEF AND CHRISTIAN ETHICS IN GHANA

Introduction – 62
Ethics in the Christian Perspective – 62
An appreciation of ethical implications of belief and practices of witchcraft in Ghana. – 65
Marriage and fertility – 65
Flying in the night – 65
Camping of witches – 66
Conclusion – 66


CHAPTER NINE
PASTORAL AND THEOLOGICAL RESPONSE TO WITCHCRAFT BELIEF AND ACTIVITIES IN GHANA

Introduction – 67
Pastoral responses – 68
The Theological response to the belief and activities of witchcraft in Ghana – 71
Man, the Imago Dei (Image of God) – 72
Enthronization of the Holy Spirit – 73
The affirmation of believers authority – 74
Conclusion – 75


CONCLUDING REMARKS – 76
BIBLIOGRAPHY – 77
APPENDIX 1 – Interviews – 81
APPENDIX 1I – Ethnologic map of Ghana – 84
APPENDIX III – Glossary of Asante and Konkomba Words – 85

Agyapong Kwasi A.  Witchcraft in Ghana: Belief, Practice and Consequences. (Accra: Noyam Publishers, 2021).