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Afr Health Sci. 2009 Mar;9(1):61-4.

Witchcraft in Transkei Region of South African: case report.

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Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine,Walter Sisulu University for Technology and Science, Mthatha, South Africa.


Witchcraft and witch-hunt have been practiced widely almost all over the world. It is known as magic in Europe, maleficium (wrong-doing) in Latin America, and superpower in Asia. In Africa those accused of being witches often face execution. A range of accusations are leveled against witches such as causing impotence, turning milk sour, causing disease and death.Three cases are presented here to highlight the issues related to witch craft in Transkei area. The information was given by the next of kin at the time of autopsy. All were elderly women over 50 years of age. The first was related to tuberculosis of the brother of the perpetrator the second, death of the culprit's relative and third the death of culprits brother in Johannesburg. The first and third victims were brutally chopped by axe and in the second it was a firearm injury. The case history, the type of wounds, and medico-legal aspects of death are discussed in these reports. There law related to witchcraft and their implementations to prevent such deaths are discussed.


Witchcraft; homicide; unnatural deaths

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