In a country like Zimbabwe which is filled with a variety of cultural and traditional heritages, child protection issues are at times difficult to surface as the traditional beliefs are based on families dealing with all issues internally.
The issue of publicizing information is deemed a Western approach and usually frowned upon particularly in rural communities. Africans have a term for this called, “kufugurahapwa” or as the westerners would call it“airing out dirty linen in public.” However, a new and strange phenomenon has hit communities and towns all over Zimbabwe leaving people bewildered and feeling very vulnerable particularly children.
The Herald newspaper dated 08 March 2013, reported a case of suspected Satanism whereby two grade 5 pupils at Hatcliffe Number 1 Primary School supposedly turned into baboons after being given rings and bracelets by their class teacher. Another story that caused a huge uproar in Manicaland reported in Manica Post late last year was that of a 12 year old girl who was brutally and viciously murdered by the trusted gardener who is said to have confessed upon interrogation that he is a practising Satanist and was thirsty for the taste of blood hence could not help himself. Such stories have shocked Zimbabweans all over who although were aware of ritual killings that surface now and then for purposes of making muti and charms to enhance one’s wishes of success, the issue of the devil taking possession of people or practising Satanism is still one which is foreign to the average person’s comprehension.
The Education Minister, David Coltart reported in a local paper on March the 10th 2013, that claims of Satanism were disturbing smooth learning in several schools across the country. This statement alone shows how Satanism has crept into all the places that are meant to be sanctuaries of safety for children such as the schools, homes, play centres etc. Even though cases reported are not tangible, suspicions of this devilish practise will continue to waft, making awareness of this phenomenon all the more important. One does not know when hiring a childminder, entrusting a teacher or any relative or friend for that matter if their child is in good hands or has been thrown into a lion’s den. Hence how can people protect themselves and more importantly their children? Mere trinkets such as sweets, jewellery, cakes could be genuine presents or possibly pawns of other supernatural powers.
The initiation process of Satanism seems to be one which cannot be escaped, understood nor identified easily. Another case of suspected involvement of Satanism was reported last year about Beaula Heights Primary School. Whereby a teacher was said to have given some students goodies which were suspected to be the reason why the children later on displayed behaviour of what seemed to be some form of spiritual possession. Other advocacy issues such as abuse, rape, neglect etc which are also rife in today’s society are deemed easier to avoid, prevent or even curb as they are readily understood and the measures to be taken clear.
But the question becomes how does one deal with a phenomenon strange to all but those who practise it? How can Satanism be identified or determined? And how do we protect our children? Simukai Child Protection Programme has taken on this new advocacy issue and through awareness campaigns, we are trying to find out as much information as possible on the subject so as to disseminate it to communities, schools, parents, religious and traditional leaders and the nation at large. Our hope is to make people and their children aware of the dangers of Satanism so that they exhibit great caution in the company they keep and the people they expose their children to. This phenomenon requires people to come together and bring to light any issues pertaining Satanism so as to find ways of eradicating this dangerous and highly threatening practise.
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Simukai child protection programme pvo27/12
SIMUKAI CHILD PROTECTION PROGRAMME