Juju In The Age Of Social Media

Witchcraft is a big deal in Afrika. It may sound satirical but according to some proposals in South African universities, a BSc witchcraft could be in the pipeline.

A few months ago, a one Simon Mulenga Mwila from Zimbabwe devised an African Anti Theft Innovation for his car. Since he had traveled upcountry, to a place rife with all sorts of petty crime. He was worried for his side mirrors and indicator lights would be stolen by dawn. According to his Facebook post, he sprinkled some ash around his car as if enclosing it in an ellipse, added a few nondescript things on the car's chassis, and this all looked like a talisman.

Hilariously (and rather unsurprisingly), it worked!

It's reminiscent of the days when Nollywood movies like Suicide Mission and Billionaires Club were the holy grail. Majority of them came in parts: 1, 2 and 3, some up to 5. The suspense was always searing and unbearable. In my neighbourhood, people always watched the movies whose themes were around witchcraft and all other shades of evil because they wanted to learn how to insulate themselves against the waves of spells and potions.

My neighbours watched almost all the movies from Nigeria's box office. Nothing was left to rue oohh... Oya, what happened to Scholastica? And the other witch? Non, how about the diabolic oga from Enugu? Did his left limb rot away?

Things like spy and candid cameras that defied the laws of technology were first seen in those movies, just like Mulenga's recent scenario. So this one juju-man would fill a bowl with water and with sleight of hand, live images of a target would appear in 1080p – at the snap of a finger.

Then also, the juju-man would get a target's photograph and begin piercing it with all sorts of pins, smear it with vaseline and then burn it. I guess this would lead to some sort of muscle spasms and untold body pains on the other end. "Call the pastor, mommy, call the pastor," the target's loved ones would panic as they called for help. However in most scenes, death was almost assured. It was scary.

Looking back, I don't know whether these worries were warranted or rather there is some strong force nowadays.

People no longer care – at least on social media.

A quick scroll down your timeline is likely to reveal all kinds of pics and media, especially of your friends, their loved ones, and their offspring. People are constantly uploading and sharing these photos widely, oblivious of who is actually seeing them.

Although we are living in a generation of smartphones, we are living with not so smart people. Suddenly, if one can't be smart, they pretend they are. People are even wearing geek glasses as a fashion trend. No wonder baby pictures continue to lace timelines, accompanied by details exposing their entire DNA hierarchy.

It's certainly better to live in minutiae and yet ignore the perils of life – living and working productively. This is without regard to privacy too, and to the realities of juju itself.

It doesn't come as a surprise that most of us sound no different from Melania Trump, and quite often like Donald Trump. Full of self glorifying trite, stolen pictures and content and banal chaff, and first person 'I' essays.

As long as there is a likelihood of garnering shares, likes and hearts. They could do anything there is. Whether to expose a little skin too much or to force-feed nostalgia to strangers and bored internet people in the name of 'throwback Thursday'.

And the plethora of platforms isn't helping either. You'll likely find the same photos on Instagram, Whatsapp, Facebook and literally everywhere else. There is no escape. In fact, according to recent statistics from Instagram, droves of users are deleting photos that don’t get enough hearts within the first hours, reposting them later in the hopes that more people will find them appealing.

The most interesting are those who take suggestive pictures and then caption with bible verses. It's often a scenario like this:

Caption: I thank God for blessing me (quotes some unrelated bible verse in Corinthians). Hashtag Blessed, hashtag ToGodBeTheGlory.

To some extent, I am certainly sure Jesus wouldn't be happy with this kind of blasphemy.

Then again, perhaps, on the other end, is a jujuman, under the instruction of an adversary, eerily waiting waiting to pounce. From tradition, photos have been long sought after as a medium of launching witchcraft attacks.

On this other verse, our higher than life selves are pouting mouths and holding the selfie sticks at an arm's length, hoping to capture the most epic vine the world has ever seen. Maybe, and just maybe, our forefathers, the progenitors of witchcraft as we know it, would have equally been dazzled at the kind of witchcraft technology has betrothed upon us.

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