Saturday, June 26, 2010

Witch Hunt Update

A little update on what has been going on and some answers to questions about the whole ordeal!
The kids are back in school and the teacher who has been accused is on leave for an undetermined amount of time while a group from the ministry of education investigates the whole thing. The investigation involves a lot of interviews and meeting with everyone involved one-on-one. While the teacher is gone, we have divided up her classes (there will be no replacement teacher...) so I am now also teaching grade 7 math. A bit of a disaster this week as i tried to jump in on what they had been doing, but it's getting better now that I'm on the same page as the learners.
So in answer to some of your questions about the whole thing:
I honestly have no idea if what the kids were doing was a big act or not. I believe that they honestly believe what was happening to them was true, and I think that if they convinced themselves of it enough that it is probably real for them. That being said, the kids involved were some of the more dramatic learners, and while not kids I would necessarily expect this sort of thing from (Mclean was involved, for example) I can see them getting swept up in the excitement.
I am not afraid for my safety. While it's true that I am the only other non-Damara at the school, my relationship as an american is very different from the inter-ethnic relationships here. I do not think this sort of thing could be turned on me either, since no one would be able to explain where i learned African witchcraft.
This sort of thing has happened before, not at my school, but up north. It has not happened for several years however, and is by no means a common occurrence. We have been all over the Namibian news (TV, paper, radio) for weeks now.
I will let you know what the investigative team decides!

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