Nine women and 14 men in a village of Tanzania’s Rukwa Region were arrested last week for allegedly destroying the homes of other villagers whom they suspected of practicing witchcraft. Mr. George Kyando, the Rukwa Regional Police Commander, announced that the suspects in Kazila, a village in Mwazye Ward, Kalambo District of the Rukwa Region—in […]

Accusing, and even killing, others because they are supposedly witches is a widespread plague in Africa, particularly in Tanzania. Many people in the homeland of the Fipa people—the Sumbawanga District in the Rukwa Region of that nation—claim the magical powers of witchcraft. Sometimes those supposed magical powers are used for beneficial purposes, proponents argue—to cure […]

A depressing story early last March about a three year old albino Fipa boy being kidnapped from his grandmother’s home near Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania had a surprising, but happy, ending last week. The little boy was found safely, though the news had not gotten out for a year, probably to protect him. The story […]

Have the Fipa heard of Lucrezia Borgia, the Renaissance Italian woman who was rumored to have murdered people with poisons that she allegedly hid in her ring? In 1968, Roy Willis described the beliefs and practices of sorcery by the Fipa in a couple articles that provide useful clues to understanding their reactions to witchcraft, […]

Witchcraft and traditional healing, long associated with the Fipa people of Tanzania despite their conversion to Catholicism over one hundred years ago, continue to intrigue other Tanzanians, and outside observers. Several police reports last week from the Rukwa Region of southwestern Tanzania, the traditional territory of the Fipa people, concerned the practice of witchcraft and […]

A mob in a village near Sumbawanga, in southwestern Tanzania, attacked and killed a suspected witch last week. Numerous earlier reports of sorcery and traditional healing have surfaced in recent years in Fipa territory, but the murders of suspected witches have not been as common. Maria Jorah, also known as Salamba, was a 63 year […]

Superstition and witchcraft among the Fipa people of Southwest Tanzania have attracted the attention, and condemnation, of the Prime Minister of the nation, Mizengo Pinda. Speaking in the Sumbawanga District, he expressed surprise that, in this day and age, people still accepted superstitious beliefs. Apparently a common superstition is that some individuals can use witchcraft […]

Last week a Fipa fisherman tried to sell his albino wife for 3.6 million shillings (about US $3,000) to traders from the DR Congo in the Kalungu, Tanzania, marketplace. An informer tipped off the police that the sale was about to take place, so they set up a trap for the men. The authorities failed […]

Nyasio Alfonsi, a 40 year old Fipa medicine man, caused a stir last Saturday when he threw himself into the Ifuma River, promising to return after three days of visiting the “gates of hell.” Accompanied by the drumming, chants, and dancing of dozens of people from the village of Masigo (also called Masingo in another […]