I often heard other kids call her “Ogbanje,” probably because of the countless times she had fainted publicly. I always made a jest of her like, “Anita, if only you would eat like an elephant, you won’t be this skinny. You would cease to faint” Then, we would laugh about it, and when all the kids were playing in the rain, Anita wouldn’t come out. I didn’t know why, but I enjoyed myself alone with her. A couple of times, we had to fight off her “ogbanje” accusers, and after such ordeal, she would get really sad.
I didn’t know why people called her a witch, not until I was of age and read about sickle cell anemia. Where ever Anita is right now, I sincerely hope that she could fight off her illness, and I wish we all knew better.
The Bible says, “my people perish for lack of knowledge.” A lot of us are misinformed, uninformed, or ignorant. No wonder we throw stones at anyone different from us, rather than love them.
Here are a few disorders that are popularly seen as witchcraft here in my community.
ALOPECIA AREATA (AA)
Loss of hair syndrome. It is an auto-immune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, and in most cases, hair falls out in small, round patches on the scalp. This condition can progress to a complete loss of hair. Sadly, the exact cause of AA is unknown; roughly 20% of affected people have a family member with alopecia. People are yet to accept these affected individuals. So, they wear wigs to conceal it.
These are non-cancerous growth of the uterus that often appear during childbearing years. It ranges in size from seedlings to grown masses. It can distort and enlarge the uterus.
Have you heard of someone saying something like, “that woman don chop all her pikin for her bele” or “the woman with the issue of blood”? Here are their reasons? Symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
I) Heavy menstrual bleeding
II) Menstrual periods lasting longer than usual
Most times, submucosal fibroids could cause infertility or pregnancy loss. An exact cause of uterine fibroids isn’t known, but some of the following factors can be noted:
I) Genetic change
III) Extracellular matrix and other growth factors
Also called Hutchison-Gilford syndrome. This condition causes children to age rapidly. It results in growth failure, wrinkled face, baldness, short stature, large head, small jaw, limited range of motion, thin skin, etc. It’s caused by a mutation in the lamin A gene. So, whenever you see a child looking old, don’t go ahead and conclude, it’s the reincarnation of our ancestors, please!
I had a school mate who loved eating chalk. It was a bit weird to me, but I didn’t care. Pica is an unusual disorder that causes people to eat non-food substances, such as chalk, clay, dirt, paper, soil, etc. It’s more common in women than men and very common in children. It could have an adverse effect on them, but the good thing is it’s treatable with close medical supervision.
Have you seen an adult intentionally pulling out their hair? Fear not! They are not possessed; it’s just a disorder that compels people to pull out their hair from their scalp, underarms, and other body parts. Although it hasn’t been discovered why they do these, it’s believed to have a calming effect. However, it can be treated with therapy.
So, now you have been educated in some genetic and mental disorder that we have popularly tagged as “witchcraft,” especially in this world. We now know the truth. Now, instead of hating on them, why don’t you show love?
Please share with us some disorders or diseases that have been tagged witchcraft in the comments section.