Politics of witchcraft and mental illness in the black communitiesPosted: 21 October, 2022 Filed under: Konanani Happy Raligilia | Tags: Andile Mxakaz, brutal assaults, Christian state, cultural heritage, Jostina Sangweni, killings, legislative framework, mental illnesses, religious denominations, rural communities, Satanic church, scientific approaches, spirituality, Steve Biko, violence against women, witchcraft, Witchcraft Suppression Act in 1957 3 Comments
Author: Konanani Happy Raligilia
Acting HoD, Department of Jurisprudence, University of South Africa
When asked by Judge Boshoff about his views on witchcraft, Steve Biko had this to say; “we do not reject it [witchcraft], we regard it as part of the mystery of our cultural heritage, [and] we feel for ourselves it has not been sufficiently looked into with available scientific approaches as of this moment.” Indeed, issues relating to witchcraft are public interest matters and that is so because ordinarily they highlight conflicting and contending views about spirituality. Arguably, the attributing factor to this contesting view is the fact that at the time of the enactment of Witchcraft Suppression Act in 1957, South Africa was still a Christian state as opposed to the current secular post-democratic one which embraces all religious denominations and cultural heritage. The Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1957 exposes a reality that this law failed to divide matters of spirituality and witchcraft, thereby creating a vacuum which often results in members of the communities resorting to judging those who are perceived as witches based on Christian standards of acceptability and norms. Regrettably, the Witchcraft Suppression Act does not provide a definitive answer of what constitutes witchcraft, yet its founding purpose is aimed at suppressing practices of witchcraft and similar practices. However, Reverend Riaan Swiegelaar and Dr Adri Norton announced the country’s first Satanic church in June 2020. It remains to be seen whether its practices would fall out of this witchcraft’s legislative framework and whether those potential witchcraft practitioners would then be prosecuted and punished.
Effectiveness of intervention measures to address female genital mutilation in Ethiopia: A discussionPosted: 14 May, 2019 Filed under: Henok Ashagrey | Tags: bodily harm, Children and Youth’s Affairs, children's rights, Constitution of Ethiopia, Criminal Code of Ethiopia, cultural practice, Ethiopia, female genital mutilation, fgm, harmful customs, Harmful practices, infibulation, Ministry of Women, North Shewa, rights of children, violations, violence against women, women's rights Leave a comment
Author: Henok Ashagrey
Legal Researcher at the Secretariat of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
Despite certain signs of progress, interventions to address harmful practices in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Ethiopia) are still ineffective. To be effective, these interventions require more inclusivity, stronger cooperation between levels of government, and a focus on changing societal values.
Harmful practices are a principal factor in the violations of women’s rights in Ethiopia. For example, in the North Shewa rural region in the North of Ethiopia, where I come from, harmful practices against women and girls, particularly female genital mutilation (FGM), are accepted as valid cultural practice. The practitioners of FGM justify their acts on religious and cultural grounds.
Violence against women and girls in Africa: A global concern to ponder on International Women’s Day and beyondPosted: 8 March, 2018 Filed under: Kennedy Kariseb | Tags: Africa, conflict, education, empowerment, feminism, girls, human rights, international human rights, international law, International Women's Day, IWD, IWD2018, pandemic, sexual violence, SRVAW, treaty, UN, United Nations, VAW, violence, violence against women, women, women's human rights, women's rights, women's rights movement 2 Comments
Author: Kennedy Kariseb
Doctoral candidate, Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria
It has been four decades since the United Nations (UN) observed for the first time International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March 1975. Although there are traces of celebration of this day, dating as far back as 1909, its formal initiation came in the wake of the first World Conference of the International Women’s Year that took place in Mexico City, Mexico. Its object, as aptly argued by Temma Kaplan, is to mark ‘the occasion for a new sense of female consciousness and a new sense of feminist internationalism’.[i]
In a sense, 8 March is meant to be a day of both celebration and reflection for women the world over: a celebration of the gains made in enhancing women’s rights and the overall status of women globally, while reflecting and strategising on the voids and shortcomings still persistent in the women’s rights discourse. The occasion of the forty-third celebration of the IWD clearly marks an opportunity for feminist introspection on the broader question of violence against Women (VAW) and its regulation under international law. This is because while VAW is not the only form of human rights abuse women suffer, it is one in which the gendered aspect of such abuse is often the most clear and pervasive.