Time to let go of ‘black magic’


Somebody once told me that “Africa is not called ‘the dark continent’ for nothing.” They were referring to what is sometimes called ‘black magic’ or ‘Juju’. Juju is a native, ancient religion that is still practiced in parts of Africa today.

Born into a Nigerian family, I have watched countless Nigerian films centered around this mysterious art. Somebody visits a witch doctor, usually in the hope of being able to set dark forces onto an enemy. Another popular storyline is making a stack of money by sacrificing someone else – sometimes even a family member.

Juju is not exclusive to Africa. Black magic was taken abroad as Africans tried to hold onto their culture when they were transported to new, strange lands during the transatlantic slave trade. Some parts of the Caribbean islands, for example Haiti, still practice this religion.

The problem I have with this religion is that people use it against each other. I rarely see or hear any positive connotations that come with Juju. It’s all blood money and spiritual attacks.  Instead of telling people to f*** off, the norm in the Yoruba language is to curse their head, their life or their family. This all creates a dark aura that even the most rational among us cannot deny.

I’m sceptical about what Juju can actually do. I don’t think it’s a simple as going to a doctor, asking for what you want and voila – untold riches are yours! Or that girl who stole your boyfriend will grow old and childless because you told that doctor to make that bitch infertile. However, I do believe that there are forces that can work against us – and a lot of these forces come from the spoken word and evil intentions.

Africans, as a people, are deeply spiritual, and overwhelmingly religious. Which by itself is no bad thing –  but to hold on to a belief in something so dark, so backwards (yes I said it) can only hold Nigeria back. In the 21st century we need to be putting our efforts into society. It’s time to shake off this old belief system, which many Christian/Muslim Nigerians still hold onto. We need to be asking questions about the government and officials who have it in their real, human power to make life better for the average Nigerian.

There are tangible benefits of a structured, developed society. We should believe in that.

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5 responses to “Time to let go of ‘black magic’

  1. Lollipop,i personally dont believe in “juju” and neither do i have any reason to, as in its power or existence. Rather im strongly inclined to rationalize its popularity to a consequence of the long ages of the African man’s mental laziness and that resort to ascribing every event or natural occurence to a spiritual being rather than developing a scientific approach towards evaluating them as obtainable in the West. Im African and have lived all my life in Africa.

  2. Interesting. I think it’s far too easy to say that (insert incident here) happened because of Juju. Our innate spirituality as human beings lends us to believing there is more than meets the eye. And there is…but in regards to science. For example, if someone suddenly gets sick and dies in Nigeria, it is far more likely that they have an undiagnosed illness than a curse. So many illnesses and diseases still go undiagnosed. It isn’t right that in such a potentially wealthy country healthcare is STILL exclusively for those who can afford it (a small percentage of the overal pop).

  3. Music for the Mind Body and Soul

    Sir, if you want to say something contructive about African Traditional Religions then you need to go and study them. You can’t watch films and then based on what you saw proceed to waste cyber space spouting complete nonsense.

    This is all I beg of you, please go and make a proper study of the subject, preferably by seeking out babalawos and discussing with them, and then come back and write what you want about Traditional beliefs.

    • Thanks for your comment Music. This is not a multi-sourced feature – it’s a blog post that I filed under comment because it’s my opinion on what I see to be a detrimental part of Nigerian culture. I invite you to specify what parts of my post you disagree with and why

  4. Of course the belief or practise of juju is diversified. The common factor is that it has never been known for the outcome of any good. Rather, it is mentioned as instrumental to an affliction of a disease, sudden misfortune, mysterious death, and on the other hand sudden wealth but where longevity could be mortgaged for the sake of opulence or a life has been put to sacrifice. Juju, Voodoo or whatever other name it is known as, has an impedance effect on societal development in the African continent.

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