Strange births: Just bizzare or mysticism?

By Sandra Wekesa
Wednesday, January 13th, 2021
A vodoo doll. A tool used in hexing and witchcraft. BELOW: Peter Wambua, an elder from the Akamba community. Photo/PD/Sandra Wekesa
In summary

Sandra Wekesa @wekesa_sandra

Just last month, the world was left mouth agape after a video showing a woman from Uvinza district in Kigoma, Tanzania giving birth to what looked like a chicken.

Eye witness confirmed she experienced regular labour pains just like any other pregnant woman.

Kigoma’s chief medical Officer said the woman did not show any signs of an out-of-the-ordinary pregnancy.

But when it was time, she delivered an extra ordinary being: a strange creature with no feathers, but resembled a chicken. 

Although this cannot be scientifically proven, sources believe it is quite rampant in the rural area in form of witchcraft.

Broadly speaking, sorcery is the ability to harm someone through the use of ‘mystical power’.

Although no comprehensive study has ever been undertaken to confirm the extent of the phenomenon, most African traditions’ believe such bizarre acts can be as a result of witchcraft.

Unconfirmed reports say that the creature was inserted into her by a witchdoctor.

Act of punishment

Peter Wambua, an elder from the Akamba community explains that in any African society, such a case will be categorised as witchcraft.

He adds that although he has never seen or heard of such an incident, it is quite evident this was a strange thing that might never be explained properly.

“People will either conclude that the woman had wronged someone or committed an offense that led to such act of punishment. In most cases no one would understand why it would happen,” he says.

He adds that as a result, the woman would face rejection from her neighbours or would seek a spiritual intervention for deliverance from that which is tying her to such harsh treatment.

This is not the first of such cases. Reports indicate that in Somalia over five years ago, a young woman was said to have given birth to a human baby and a snake instead of human twins.

In the late 17th century, an Italian doctor claimed that two women had given birth to strange creatures.

One woman gave birth to a monster and the other Cyclops. In the UK, a woman became famous for claiming she had given birth to rabbits in the 18th Century- something she later retracted, saying it was all lies.

In 2014 in Indonesia, medical professionals came out strongly to refute claims that a woman gave birth to a lizard.

They said this could have been as a result of “pseudocyesis” – a false pregnancy, when a woman’s body mimics that of an actually pregnant person.

Besides, they said, it’s impossible for a human to have sex with an animal and give birth to a hybrid creature.

Lawrence Shichiabati, a Luhya elder, says it is impossible to ignore such things because they happen in our society.

This is why maintaining peace in the community is advised; that way you stay off people’s paths and respect their boundaries and you will be safe from such brutal events from your enemies.

However, he says that not all strange things happen because of witchcraft. For example, cases of deaths caused by lightening are natural and people shouldn’t be quick to blame mystical power.

“Also, cases of floods and accidents associated with drowning should never be associated with black powers because it is never true.

Accidents do happen and it would be wrong to conclude that it happened for the wrong reasons,” he says.

For Pastor Peter Bunyasia, an evangelical preacher, associating every strange thing that happens to witchcraft is quite normal. This especially applies to cases that can’t actually be explained.

“Nowadays things have changed and people are becoming spiritually drowned into sorcery.

This allegation could actually be the reason why people are quick to assume  that anything happening out of the ordinary could be as a result of witchcraft,” he says.

Escape problems 

He strongly believes that this could also be as a form of punishment from someone who she wronged earlier.

Also, the fact that people still believe that Satan can come in any form make people believe that witchcraft actually exist.

As of the natural calamities that might have been attributed to witchcraft in the past, Bunyasia says there is no way out of it since it remains to be normal.

 “From where I come from in Busia, natural causes of death are never concluded to be normal; in most cases they are associated with witchcraft.

But I do believe that it could be natural, either the victim didn’t take precaution and that led to an accident,” he says.

He concludes by saying that people should always have Faith in God because that is the only way you can be able to escape such problems. 

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