Saturday, November 10, 2012
The murder of an 11-year old boy in our community
This may be the most difficult blog I have yet written and even more difficult for you to read. I was conflicted as to whether I should write this in a public post, but after prayerful consideration and confirmation by a dear friend, I have decided to share a very dark, evil story of what happened in our community quite recently.
First let me start by saying there is evil everywhere. We live in a broken sinful world and Satan is here on the earth to kill and destroy whether it is literally murder, through divorce, broken relationships, incest or all the other things that cause hurt and pain.
Now for a dark side of my beloved Swaziland.
Two weeks ago we got a call from one of our partner churches. The Pastor was distraught because an 11-year old boy in our feeding program had been sold and then murdered for ritualistic purposes. I will call the boy Musa for this blog.
Musa was an outcast. He was born out of wedlock, his mother ran away and left him with the man who she claimed was the father, but the man denied his paternity and left the boy with an old Grandmother. The Grandmother loved Musa and he was quickly her favorite grandchild because he was so sweet. He was able to complete fourth grade, but then there was no more money for school fees so he stayed at home and helped care for the animals.
Two weeks ago another teenage boy came along and was helping care for the goats. The family didn’t know that he came with evil intentions and allowed the teen to sleep in the same small room as the young boy. Early one morning Musa got up and left with the teenager to take the goats to the bush to graze, but he did not return that night. The teenager arrived home soaking wet, but said that he had fallen in the river. The family feared that Musa had also fallen in the river and drowned, but what happened to him was far worse. Musa had been stabbed to death by the teenage boy, and his private parts had been cut off to be used by a local Medicine Man. The other young children in the family were the ones to find his body.
Traditional medicine men (witch doctors as we might call them) have been a part of Swazi culture since the beginning of time. In fact, “traditional medicine” is still practiced in most African nations and is the biggest barrier to Christianity. Sometimes/often witchcraft and Christianity are mixed together, but that is a blog for another day.
Some people seeking to increase their power and influence visit a local witchdoctor and pay him money for “muti”. Muti can be made from natural products (trees, roots, plants), but for very strong and powerful muti the witchdoctor may require special ingredients such human body parts, often the private ones. We are told that Albino children are at high risk because they are considered to provide the highest potency in muti. Most ingredients are then mixed with river water and then consumed by the purchaser.
We are told by our Swazi friends that as we head towards an election next year, that some people running for public office may start going to their local witchdoctor now (and continue until the elections) so the incidence of murder for body parts will intensify. This particular case was in the newspaper and radio in Swaziland and our team has become much more safety conscious. We will increase security around the baby home because young children are at highest risk.
In this particular case the teenage boy would have been hired to go and get the private parts of a young boy. That would be his assignment and that is what he did. When the family discovered Musa’s mutilated body they immediately went to find the teenager. He had run away, but was quickly found by police and the knife and body parts were still in his bag. He is in jail now.
Let me simplify this. People are going to witchdoctors and paying money for muti to make themselves more powerful, to get ahead in life, to gain wealth and influence. It is easy to quickly judge this from afar, but what do we do in other parts of the world to get ahead? Steroids? Corruption? Sleeping with the boss? Bribery? Gossip? Cheating on income tax? I believe that sin is sin and God sees it all the same way. That is hard to read isn’t it? I don’t want my sin to be compared to that of the teenage boy who just murdered and mutilated an 11-year old for his body parts. But does God see them the same way? I believe that scripture says He does.
I will end my blog now and leave you to ponder this. I do ask that you pray for the children of Swaziland and the babies at El Roi, that His mighty hand of protection would be over them and that this generation of young people will be a shining light for all to see.
Live from Swaziland … I am pondering.