chapter  5
28 Pages

Witchcraft as imaginary cannibalism

Witchcraft and cannibalism are the two phenomena that most upset the Europeans; cannibalism because it was generally repugnant and witchcraft because large numbers of innocent people lost their lives to it. Both witchcraft and cannibalism, of course, constituted serious problems for the societies in which they occurred, as well as for their neighbors. They represented a most dangerous self-destruction. The colonial powers prohibited both these practices, but on witchcraft accusations the prohibition had no real effect. People in the villages continued to administer the poison ordeal to supposed witches and to kill them far into the 20th century. The problem still exists. In the Congo it was discussed in a circular letter from the Ministert dt l'Administration du Tmitoirt tt du Pouvoir Populairt in 1985 (1/2) where powerful measures to prevent the killing of innocent people were demanded.