Stifling the Imagination: A Critique of Anthropological and Religious Normalization of Witchcraft in Africa
AbstractRecent anthropological and religious, especially Christian, discourses on African witchcraft normalize the witchcraft imagination on the continent by failing to show how damaging the imagination has been to Africa’s move toward modernization. While anthropologists normalize it by studying the phenomenon ahistorically and by rationalizing and reinterpreting it, scholars and preachers of African Christianity see it as the context necessary for the growth of Christianity on the continent. However, this normalization of the witchcraft imagination stifles the African imagination because it does not encourage Africans to think in scientific ways that may be more helpful in the transformation of the continent in our modern world. This article is an attempt to liberate the African imagination by critiquing the witchcraft imagination from a rational and theological perspective. It also proposes policies that need to be taken in order to overcome this ruinous imagination and facilitate Africa’s dignified participation in the modern world.