What Makes a Woman Woman A Witch
“Suicide bombers”; “Girl accused of using witchcraft”; “African kids sacrificed in UK Churches”: such headlines might seem to be unlikely fodder for news in British papers. But at a time when London, the city in which I live, has experienced the trauma of a terrorist attack, and three Angolan refugees here have been convicted of child cruelty for torturing and threatening to kill a child in their care whom they believed was a witch, it's not surprising that British politicians are talking about “our” way of life being under threat. Barbarism, it seems, is snapping at our heels. The heart of darkness is encroaching on the capital city. At a time when the social consequences of globalisation are being felt by migrant and indigenous communities throughout the world, it seems pertinent to try and understand what it must be like to be made a scapegoat for social ills: in other words, what it means to be a “witch”. This article is taken from a much longer report, which I wrote for the Mapping Sexualities Project1 over a five-month period in Ghana (between October 2004 and April 2005). The report was based on research I conducted in Gambaga in the Northern Region of Ghana, from early November to the beginning of December 2004. Here I summarise some of the findings from my larger report, highlighting the narrative of Asara Azindow, one of nineteen people I interviewed and whose story I recorded in the “witches' camp” in Gambaga.
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