“Who sat and watched my infant head,
When sleeping on my cradle bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed?
So goes the first stanza in the popular poem for mothers by Anne Taylor. I used to weep profusely at school when I read this poem. I was away at boarding school and missed my mother like shege. Far away from home, I learnt to appreciate the value of a good mother, one who labours so hard so I could live better.
But this piece isn’t necessarily a tribute to my mum, it’s a tribute to another woman, one I have never met and may never meet as well as many others like her.
This piece is for all the women who have been accused of witchcraft by their children; whether in truth or not.
A friend forwarded a 48 seconds video clip on WhatsApp; in it, a woman was being brutally beaten and stripped in public by angry young people numbering up to six or more. They tore at her like wild dogs hungry for blood as she tried to flee their wild punches and slaps but she couldn’t run fast enough, they knocked her down and tore at her hair, clothes… at everything they could lay their hands on. This woman, the so-called witch, couldn’t have been more than 55 or even 60 years old.
The angry young people were the woman’s children and their friends; they looked to be in their early 20s and had just learned from a pastor that their mother was a witch and the cause of their stagnation in life!
…I pause here to take it all in.
Now the said pastor hasn’t been identified nor his words verified; that is not to say stories like this are strange among us. We hear of people accusing even kids of witchcraft then go ahead to beat and often maim these kids in a bid to exorcise.
This is our reality. The branded witches will forever be ostracised in that community; they would not be treated in the hospitals or clinics should they ever fall sick. They probably won’t be attended to by retail traders in that community, because, hey, who wants to handle the cash that belongs to a witch; its bad for business.
The ‘witch’ will die lonely and unsung because her children will have nothing to do with her; she wouldn’t share in their triumphs, their struggles, their losses and victories; she wouldn’t be invited to events, who wants a witch for a guest?
She can’t laugh out loud or she would be quickly accused of having scored a point in the coven; if anyone falls ill in that area, she is responsible for it and may even be beaten to confessing to something she has no hand in.
She wouldn’t live long knowing that the children she loved, nurtured and raised to adulthood have turned against her so viciously, it’s worse than having the world against you.
Now, let’s reason together.
Me: First off; the mother witch didn’t snuff the life off her children when they were young and vulnerable, she didn’t poison her own milk while they were still suckling, she didn’t ‘donate’ them to her coven when they were malleable and trusting as kids, no, she chose to labour over them all these years, make sacrifices for them as they grew into young adults and just as they were done with school…she stagnates them at the time she should be eating from her labour!
Argument: Yes ke! That is a classic case of witchcraft
Me: She herself will suffer, don’t you see?
Argument: Witchcraft defies reasoning and logic; they disguise their affections and thwart your dreams.
Me: But the claim is that these kids have been unemployed since finishing university and their mother is responsible for that.
Isn’t that the same with some 85.1 million employable Nigerians out there; blame bad leadership over the years…blame the system that rewards mediocrity, blame past wastage of resources, blame corrupt officials…not their poor mother!
Argument: A pastor, ‘man of God’ who ‘sees’ things, told them, so it must be true that their mother is behind them not succeeding in life.
Me: What proof does the pastor have? If indeed she is guilty, why don’t they leave it to God? Will you fight for God?
Argument: They will leave it to God but only, after they have dealt with her very well.
Me: Whether she was found guilty or not, no human being deserves to be so severely beaten and stripped naked in public. She’s their mother!
Argument: That’s the only way to handle witches, disgrace them.
Me: They have already incurred the wrath of God; they have raised their hands against the woman who raised them.
I’m no pastor but I do know that God says to honour our parents and there’s no caveat to this, instead, there’s a blessing attached to it.
Dear reader, if you’ve ever been told in church that your mother is a witch, if you’ve even been told you need deliverance from her as she’s ‘using your destiny to shine’, if you’ve even been persuaded to kill her or pray for her death, please run from that church, run like there’s a mad man after you and flee such an assembly.
Flee also from people of like minds, for even if your mother is a witch, who says you can fight back physically?