Inhabitants of eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, have reacted to a government statement banning a popular witchcraft and magic competition to be hosted by Manzini, the country’s second city.
The contest – known as the Tinyanga (Zulu word for a traditional doctor or healer) or the ‘witchcraft and magic’ competition – brings together witchdoctors to compete against each other in a power-play by exhibiting their prowess in a battle of skills.
Describing the competition scheduled for this weekend as “illegal and weird practices that have the potential to poison the minds of (LiSwati people), especially children,” the government of eSwatini said it was not going to allow it to hold.
The competition is believed to have first happened under a previous King Sobhuza II, who died in 1982.
“The proposed competition of witchcraft and magic spells was unheard of in the country and it was regarded as an anomaly in the lives of the people of eSwatini”, government spokesman Percy Simelane said.
The statement further stated that the competition is “an anomaly in the lives of the people in eSwatini” and that “government will not sanction any competition of that nature.”
“Anyone who will persist with any activity related to witchcraft will face the full might of the law” the statement concluded.
eSwatini’s laws classify witchcraft, sorcery or the practice of voodoo as punishable offences.
A leading member of the organizing team for the competition is quoted by the Times of Swaziland as saying that “The King (former King Sobhuza II) was concerned about unnecessary competition among healers so he called them to one place so that they could demonstrate their powers. I was competing with traditional healers, doctors, and prophets from across the world.”
eSwatini, a country of 1.3 million people, is in southern Africa and is ruled by one of the world’s few absolute monarchs, King Mswati III. The country has both Christianity and indigenous believers.
Meanwhile, people have been reacting to the announcement with mixed sentiments on whether or not the decision was fair. Some people were actually disappointed that this did not go on as planned. Take a look.