Opinions expressed here do not reflect that of TVSA but solely of the writer of this piece.
I am not the one who condones violence and I firmly believe violence of any kind is wrong. However, I am allowed to express my opinions on violence happening in different contexts.
Last night, 3rd Degree was exploring the issue of witchcraft and how communities butcher those who believe have bewitched them.
There were people inteviewed who went on camera to speak about how their comminuties turned against them since it is believed they are witches. For the purpose of this article, they shall be called alleged witches. There were alleged witches from KZN and Limpopo including "exile" witches, so to use the show's term. Those in exile are from Venda and Giyani, if I remember correctly.
According to answers.com, witchcraft is the power of a person to do harm or influence nature through occult means.
The issue of witchcraft is sensitive as the law of our country believes witchcraft doesn't exist. The show took to the streets to ask Black and White people to explain what witchcraft is and whether they believe in the existence of witchcraft. 100% of the interviewed Blacks and Whites gave their description of what witchcraft is and each agreed that indeed, witchcraft does exist.
The problem I had with the show is that it was only one-sided and seemed to be siding with the alleged witches whereas a journalist should not take any sides and needs to let facts do the talking.
As a journalist, I had expected Debora Patta, as the show's executive producer, former editor-in-chief of the the E News Channel and the channel's chief news anchor, to really probe the matter further as opposed to having one expert on anthropology and alleged witches giving their version of events. Last night's show of 3rd Degree failed to serve its purpose and was just a silly documentary of victims who are accused of witchcraft because of the following reasons:1.
The show only interviewed one expert specialising in anthropology;2.
The show only spoke to those accused of witchcraft;3.
The show should have spoken to sangomas aka traditional healers, priests, prophets, politicians and law makers etc etc to dwelve deeper into matter;4.
The show did not ask probing and tough questions that it is famous i.e The alleged witches were not asked to state in full detail what they are accused of and they were not asked if they indeed did betwitch those people;5.
The show did not speak to those who have been on the devastating receiving end of witchcraft.
Ok, those are just some ideas for Debora Patta on what makes a current affairs show, let alone "more investigative journalism". Just so Debora Patta knows, the show is fast losing its lustre. Kante vele what happened to 3rd Degree Extra?
Moving right along, there was a lady who was interviewed and we were never shown her face and she comes from the village of Bokgaga where I come from. Currently she is no longer in the village.
That woman gave her side of the story and failed to mention a whole lot of critical things that ended in her parents being killed with an axe and her house set alight and how the police arrested every male figure in the village.
It is my opinion that witches are the worst killers compared to thugs and bank robbers. Why, yo ask? Because they can kill over a 100 people and they will walk freely as if they haven't done anything wrong. You go and kill someone, you will be arrested and jailed faster than you can say a witch.
Back to the woman, it is alleged that after a particular family in the village suffered a number of deaths within a short period of time, they decided to consult with a powerful Venda sangoma, who allegedly showed the family on a mirror of some sort who killed the memebers of their family. The family was also allegedly shown where their siblings and parents are allegedly being kept and to say who the culprit is, you should have watched 3rd Degree last night as I don't want to name people without evidence. But of course, these allegations by the community were convinniently not mentioned on the show last night.
Upon hearing the news, an uproar ensued on the village and people accused of witchcraft were killed and the woman's house was burnt; police helicopters were all over the village 24/7 for a period of approximately one month. I never wanted to go home that month.
Growing up as young boy, there was a very old man of over 100 years who was still herding his flock of cattles and could run like no other person. The man is question was nicknamed Phuurrrr Tshwahla which is a sociolect meaning Fly and Appear.
A whole lot of stories were told about him ranging from allegations that he uses the energy of the people he allegedly kills to stay strong.
The mdala had a very big farm of mangoes. During summer school holidays, as young boys, we would always go to his garden to steal mangoes and he would always find us and cough. He had this funny cough that was his signature style.
When we saw him on the village's shopping centre, we would quickly run to his farm to steal mangoes but as soon as we were on the mango trees, we would hear his signature cough, jump from the trees and run away and he would throw his walking stick (he never used the walking stick to walk, he only used it to put it on his shoulders lol) at us. One day, the stick got the head of my friend and 'till this day, the part of my friend's head where he received the gig of the old man stick, doesn't have any hair.
Also on the village, there was a man working in Polokwane and this one day, he allegdly slept with a Zimbabwean makgosha (no pun intended to my Zimbabwean friends who read my blog and also no offence to our brothers and sisters who blog from Zim) and refused to pay her. He slept with the makgosha lady on a Friday.
After he refused to pay, she allegedly told him he will market her until he finds her and pay her. The following day, the man went home. Come good night and his wife o batla ntho tse monate and ntho tse monate is not there. In fact, we were told on the place of his manhood, it was just plain.
Brotherman and his wife marketed the makgosha lady and followed all the leads until he found her in Mokopane, paid her and apologised. As soon as he left the makgosha lady's yard, his things returned and he happily told his wife how "ntho tse monate" is back.
Soon after the advent of democracy in South Africa, a commisision of enquiry was formed to investigate the issue of whitcraft. I couldn't find anything on the net about the commission but I was able to establish that:
1. Since witchcraft is more of a belief and you cannot point it out to show someone, the law decided it doesn't exist;
2. Anyone could accuse any person they don't like of witchcraft and kill the person even though the person isn't a witch. It is also worth mentioning that a lot of innocent people have been killed after being falsely accused of the practice;
3. The country would just be in disrepute and ungovernable if the law acknowledged the existence of witchcraft.
According to the Bible and African as well as Western cultures, witchcraft does exist.
I must say I commend the law for taking a tougher stance on the matter and choosing to conclude that witchcraft does not exist.