A long-standing tradition ended in 2017, when Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority fenced off an area where practitioners of ancient religions had made animal sacrifices. In a country where much land is not formally deeded, and ownership disputes are common, a spiritual leader wonders how the airport could claim title to the site, when his clan has been its rightful owner for more than half a millennium.
Aside from their belief in the supernatural, more and more Haitians are looking for healing from Voodoo priests rather than physicians, because of far lower fees. One former priest likens healing rituals to psychotherapy.
Health care organizations had long pleaded with the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe to ban faith healing ads from the airwaves, because the ads and their prophets were leading many people to abandon their medications, with particularly grave consequences for those taking anti-retroviral treatments. The state banned the ads in April – so is it making any difference?
For one side of the controversy, the new law is a relief, because faith healers dangerously claim an ability to cure the incurable. For the other side, the ruling limits the right to practice religion freely.
From the economic crisis to mental illness, Zimbabweans are seeking help from a variety of apostolic sects, many of which blend Christianity with traditional beliefs. One point of difference between sects is on the appropriateness of seeking revenge.
Tradition holds that playing the mbira can summon the spirits of dead ancestors - and that women should not play the instrument. But several women in Zimbabwe are redefining the instrument and the music, composing songs with political and social messages.