By Thula Chisamba
In what Government officials might interpret as contempt of court, some traditional witchdoctors in Nkhatabay are still offering their services despite the recent court order, which banned them from operating in the country.
On Saturday, The Malawi Star found that most temples used by traditional healers, were still patronised by locals.
In Chitheka area, withdoctors (or herbalists as they are also known), continue to conduct the traditional spiritual dance called ‘Vimbuza,’ which is believed to have some healing powers.
An herbalist only known as Fwiti zakomwa, told our reporter that his spiritual gift to help sick and traumatized people cannot be restricted by artificial laws.
“We don’t just wake up one day and claim that I am a herbalist. This is a gift given to us by our ancestors thus we do what the spirits tell us,” he said.
Another witchdoctor, Thembuzawu, echoed the same sentiments, citing that their failure to comply with spiritual demands comes at their own risk.
Thembuzawu clarified that a witchdoctor can even die or go mad once he fails to carry out the duties assigned to him by his ancestors.
“It’s a risky decision when an herbalist dares to deny duties of his ancestors. People die and I have even seen others getting mad,” he claimed.
In this area, most people seem to believe in the witchdoctors’ trade. In each of the temples we checked, the locals praised the withdoctors.
According to on local, very recently people in the area invited a witchdoctor, who conducted a witch hunt. About five suspected witches were chased out of the village at one time.
Drums for traditional healers are said to be thumped every Wednesday and Saturday.
According to some, the sick get healed and those bewitched get relieved.
Nonetheless, witchdoctors are believed to be behind the rise in cases of albino abductions.
It’s believed that these predators are being urged by such spiritual men to kill or exhume for the prized albino bones.
The witchdoctors we interviewed in Nkhatabay claimed to have joined the campaign against torture of people with albinism, citing that their ancestors would never allow them to spearhead such evil practices.
“My duties are not urging people to be killing albinos but helping the sick to get healed and relieving the bewitched people. In fact, count me in the campaign against that,” said Thembuzawu.
On his part, Fwiti zakomwa described herbalists who are fostering the malpractices as satanists and not gifted witchdoctors.
“They belong to something satanic and not our spiritual family. Albinos are people like everyone else, thus they deserve justice,” said the herbalist.
Recently, the Mzuzu High Court Judge, Dingiswayo Madisi, ruled that herbalists are banned from offering their services in the country, owing to claims that they are behind the rampant killings of albinos.
When we went to press, Nkhatabay police publicist, Sergeant Ignatius Esau, was unavailable for comment.