Skip to comments.Zimbabwe's Harry Potter (After 107 year ban, Mugabe legalizes witchcraft and wizardry)
Posted on 07/18/2006 3:59:20 AM PDT by Stoat
|Zimbabwe's Harry Potter|
|By: Frik Els|
| THE NEWS FROM Zimbabwe has been in the realm of the surreal for a while now, but last week came the news that shows just how abysmal and absurd the situation has become. After a 107-year ban, witchcraft and wizardry are again legal.
The 1899 law instituted by the country's colonial masters made it illegal for anyone to be called a witch or a wizard, but from 1 July, the Zimbabwe government will once again acknowledge that supernatural powers exist.
JK Rowling, who must be suffering from writer's block (and many, myself included, have fervently been wishing that she would) after churning out thousands of pages of spell spiel, can now find inspiration for the final instalment of the Harry Potter series in Kwekwe and Tsholotsho.
Rowling has acknowledged that two central characters will die in the last episode, so she should be careful of not falling foul of the amendments to the Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1899. You can use magic, but only for good.
The Act now states that: "Any person who engages in any practice knowing that it is commonly associated with witchcraft shall be guilty of engaging in a practice commonly associated with witchcraft if having the intention to cause harm to any person."
About as clear as the rules of broomstick Aussie rules or whatever it is they play at Hogwarts, but I'm sure everyone agrees that witchcraft is just what Zimbabwe is in need of at the moment.
With inflation now reaching 1?000% you need magic to buy your daily bread or to keep life and limb together; doctors' consultation fees went from Z$500?000 to Z$800?000 last week and medical aid rates increased 85%.
Gordon Chavunduka, chairman of the 50?000-member Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers' Association, which has been instrumental in forcing the change in the law, says as much. "Witchcraft and tokoloshes are making a comeback. It's obvious the cause is economic. The worse the economy gets, the more political tension there is in society, the more frustrated and frightened people get. They turn to witchcraft to gain riches or to hurt their enemies," he told the Worldwide Religious News Service.
However, why the acknowledgement of supernatural powers has to be written into law isn't that clear. The United Nations, the African Union, the International Monetary Fund, President Thabo Mbeki, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Morgan Tsvangirai (champion of internecine opposition), Roy Bennett (the MP refused amnesty in SA) and the 2m or more Zimbabweans who have fled south, all know the supernatural is at work in Zimbabwe.
You just have to look at President Robert Mugabe's magical ability to cling to power. Sanctions (limited as they were), travel restrictions (stopping Grace Mugabe's Paris shopping trips hardly sends a strong message), diplomacy (quiet or strident) and punitive measures (sorry, I'm mistaken; those haven't been employed - Eskom never cut power to Harare, just to Cape Town) haven't shifted Bob one inch closer to retirement.
Neither has pleading. Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad couldn't have used a softer tone when he said: "One would expect that he [Mbeki] would be invited" for talks between Mugabe and the UN's Kofi Annan. As it turned out, Annan has pulled out of mediation despite Mbeki having said that the UN "holds the key" to solving Zim's problems. Former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa will now become mediator.
In the real world nobody has been able to read Mugabe's mind, or else that wishful thinking from the media and politicians about his imminent retirement or exile wouldn't surface so often.
At last week's AU summit in Banjul, its leaders again failed to adopt the Zimbabwe report by the African Commission on Human and People's Rights - on the grounds that it had not been translated into all the organisation's official languages.
Mbeki also wraps himself in an invisible cloak when it comes to Zimbabwe. He tells BBC World - failing to hide his irritation and discomfort with the questions - that he doesn't understand why it's incumbent on SA to address the Zimbabwe crisis.
For everyone else in SA, the penny (and the rand) dropped long ago: evidence of Zimbabweans' involvement in crime in SA (as the Sunday Times reported) is no longer just based on the accents of robbers.
The stresses on the social system that desperate refugees cause in SA are clear from regular virulent letters concerning illegal aliens to the Daily Sun. If you really want to study social trends in SA, forget about the Native Club's black (only) intellectuals' pronouncements. The Daily Sun's 3m readers' xenophobia is only matched by their concern about the lack of jobs and housing.
And incidents such as the one in Ikageng, outside Potchefstroom, where foreign traders were run out of the township for "stealing jobs" and putting locals out of business by "selling goods too cheaply", are eerily reminiscent of Mugabe's own urban "clean-up" operation that left 700?000 people homeless.
The Zimbabwe situation doesn't require witchcraft - it needs a miracle.
if klansmen wizards emigrated to Zimbabwe, then two groups of racist scum could wipe each other out.
Sounds like a great way to deal with two problems at once. The Klan would be at a disadvantage with those silly robes and hoods though....they would get caught up in the underbrush.
I'm the Grand Wizard of the Oreo Cult.
If nobody pays attention and nobody cares, does black Africa exist?
"Bowing down to the Snack King"
I don't think so, no.
Ah yes, our not so secret headquarters. :-)
The view is great but the food oftentimes fails to inspire.
The inspiration is entirely in the choice of milk.
And perhaps also in the choice of one's dinner companions :-)
Be advised, however, that choosing Winnie Mandela as your dinner date may preclude any future engagements of any kind whatsoever, so be sure to clear your calendar beforehand..
Mugabe just found himself another scapegoat...
Mugabe can surely be called a great Witch (or rather Wizard) of Zimbabwe for ruining the entire country.