Witchcraft Law

January 28, 2011

Shortly before midnight on March 2nd last year a Molotov cocktail was was hurled through the window of a house in the Western Cape. The resulting fire killed 22 year-old Yalezwa Phulwana and her 2 year-old daughter Liyema. Yalezwa’s two sisters managed to escape the burning house unharmed, but their mother, Nonjengezinye Matwa, was severely burned and hospitalized.


Two men, Kwanele James and Mzuvukile Thoswa, 24 and 25 years old respectively, were arrested and charged with murder, attempted murder, arson and three contraventions of the Suppression of Witchcraft Act of 1957. The reason for these latter charges is that Kwanele James’ mother had recently died, and a sangoma had told him that Nonjengezinye Matwa was a witch and had caused the death of his mother, providing the motive for the arson attack.

Well, I had no idea that such a law existed. Interested in learning what the law actually says, I searched for it on the Department of Justice web site, but found that it is not available for download, and is only obtainable by paying a stiff fee on a commercial website (or schlepping off to the DoJ and getting a hard copy of the Government Gazette, also at a non-trivial cost). There are some free download sites, but none that I have found are comprehensive; certainly none have this piece of legislation available.

To harp boringly on about how much harm irrational beliefs cause would just be depressing, so I won’t do it. Instead, I’m going to harp boringly on about how the hell a citizen is expected to obey the law when he can’t even find out what it says? “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”, but how is the average Joe to overcome his ignorance? And could the obscurity of the law really not be a defence in court? I have googled (although not binged) diligently in an attempt to find out just how many laws are currently on the South African statute books, but the only answer I can come up with is “very, very many”. Far too many for any citizen to have even a vague idea of what they are and what they allow or forbid. I suspect that most of these laws are moribund, in that they are not enforced or known about even by legal professionals. If I am right, isn’t it high time we had a vigorous brush-clearing of the statute books; get rid of the dead wood and allow the light to shine through and illuminate the laws that are useful?

And I have a brilliant idea for keeping superfluous laws off the statute books: carve each Act onto a stone tablet and make legislators carry a copy of them in a backpack wherever they go. When they make a new law, their burden becomes heavier; when they repeal a law, they get that much lighter.

Soon even ordinary people will know where they stand in terms of the law and there will be no need for so many lawyers.

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Grumpy Old Man by Mark Widdicombe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License

Witch Professor

February 17, 2010

witchcraft spells
cast a great spell that is gonna workout for you within seven days dont be fooled am here to help the power and the rich, black or white
Equality is the thing not colours and money.
call for your lover to back with you and wealthy problems.

Google, for some reason known only to their algorithm writers, displayed an ad for this page on my gmail account, so I thought I’d mosey on over and take a look.

The first thing that struck me was the old-fashioned, amateurish and annoying red-on-black text that makes your eyes bleed if you look at it for too long. But you wouldn’t spend much time looking at this site, and you don’t have to because I’ve done it for you.

According to this Proff character, his mumbled incantations can help you achieve wealth, health, love and a longer, heftier penis (all the better to piss through, my dear). Well, this sounds almost too good to be true, so I decided to drop him a line:

From: Mark Widdicombe 17 February 2010 11:02
To: proff@ssanga.co.za
Hello Proff,

I came across your website whilst researching alternative medical modalities. On your page you state:

Spell casting is becoming more and more accepted by mainstream society. And for one simple reason: it works!

Could you point me to any objective studies that indicate that spell casting works, or is that based only on your own experience?


Quick as a flash his auto reply landed in my inbox:

i will help within seven days
From: proff ssanga 17 February 2010 11:02
To: Mark Widdicombe

thanks for your request but,remember to send me your photos and both names i will checck and see how to help you within seven days. Contact me on +27713032860. NB:send your detail andress. YOUR LOST LOVER WILL GET BACK TO YOU WITHIN SEVEN DAYS IF YOU PROVIDE ME WITH ALL YOUR DETAILS AND HER DETAILS TOO SO,FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME’I WILL GET BACK TO YOU WITHIN 10MINUTES.THANKS

Clearly the majority of his clients require their flat love relationships reinflated. Why would he need photos for that, anyway? Perhaps to see whether or not you would be pleased if your lost lover got back to you.

After a while I received an answer to my question:

From: proff@ssanga.co.za 17 February 2010 11:56
To: Mark Widdicombe
[Quoted text hidden]

yes it does due to my experience as a professional native healer for the past 25years and i have helped many people like you and all of the have been asking the same question as you’re asking so,feel free to contact me i will explain.thanks 0713032860

Unfortunately my ‘wealthy problems’ preclude my being able to spend airtime on getting the good Proff’s explanation, but I must assume that the answer to my question regarding research is negative, otherwise surely he would have linked to it in his email. Which is a great pity, I could do with the intervention of metaphysical forces in my “Love, financial situations, Misfortunes, Court cases, Marriage and witches”, even though I’m perfectly content with the dimensions of my penis.

Creative Commons License
Grumpy Old Man by Mark Widdicombe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.