They are called " Witches"

Lisbeth
Posted June 8, 2019

How I have waited for this special day? I have longed to expose this especial camp to the entire world.  Today, is my day and definitely nothing is going to hold me back. I will speak with confidence and with hope. Perhaps their God will listen or hear their cry through my speaking out. 

I have a real story to tell about widows in my country, a story that must be brought to the fore fronts of all women leadership. A story that the whole world must hear. My story is about the Gambaga Witches Camp in Ghana.

Short history about Gambaga Witches camp.( source of brief history Wikipedia)

Gambaga Witch camp is a segregated community within Gambaga township in the Northern Region of Ghana established in the 18th century to accommodate alleged witches who are banished from their communities.

The camp has about 25 round huts, and holds about 100 women. No health services or indoor plumbing are available.

Many women in Ghana's witch camps are widows and it is thought that relatives accused them of witchcraft in order to take control of their husbands' possessions. Other old women in the camp have been accused of using black magic (juju) to cause misfortunes in their community.

 

 You see what I am talking about? This camp was created as far back the 18th century. I was not sure I was born then, if I was I will have being a kid less than 5 years.   Why must women be subjected to such humiliating violent and abuse? What wrong have they done? Where are the wizards? They claimed men wizards are inclusive but if you visit the camp now 99% are women. This is real injustices. This is an abuse to the woman freedom. Why are only women the cause of mishaps in the family?  These women family members has deserted them completely. Its only few cases that visits them  one or twice in a year. 

Even before they are brought to the Camp, the are humiliated in the entire community. They will be declared Witches in their communities, in fronts of kids. They will be initiated disgracefully,  some head shaved, others are force to drink bath water from their husband's corpse. Eiiuu, what a barbaric act? What an uncivilized behavior? 

The so called women activist are doing nothing about it. All they do is visit them when its election time. They go there with their sweet lips.  Somewhere last year 2018, at some point I thought I heard a goodnews about this camp.  The then Gender minister for children and women, Hon Otiko Ofisah Djaba was the one who came forward with a strong view of closing the camp. When this was highlighted all over the new I got so happy, finally something good was about to happened. However, sadly few months after this advocacy it was all over the news media that she has resigned her post. All hopes dash!

I am writing to bring this issue in the forefronts of all stakeholders, please whether local or international let's come to the aid of these innocent widows. Let's give them hope, let's help reunite them with their families. I know it will not be easy, this is a camp that has exited for over 40years now, its become business for centre for some I guess. But I have hope anything is possible.

My Promised I promised or plan that if this post gets a story award and gets to be featured at worldpulse during this campaign week. I will personally pay them a visit in the camp come this 23 June 2019 with some gifts to put a smile on their faces. So WorldPulse please help us to put a smile on their faces come this Widows Day!

We need to show love, we need to give a helping hand, we need to give them an encouraging words. Pls let's do this together!

 

https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2018/January-25th/gender-minister-commi...

This story was submitted in response to International Widows' Day.

Comments 16

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Tamarack Verrall
Jun 08
Jun 08

Dear Lizzy,
Thank you for writing about these women. I do hope you find a way to visit with them and honour them. The accusation of being a witch has shown up in many ways, in many countries and for many reasons. In Europe in the 1400's to 1700's, even into the 1800's thousands of women were being killed as witches. Through European migration to North America it spread here too. The original meaning of witch was "herb gatherer", and many of these women were old, wise healers. The persecution of any woman (and some men) who dared to be or were seen to be different, not actively following the rules which determined women to be useful and benefitting society, in post child-bearing years, and in Europe not Christian, took on a hysterical momentum. The church was actively involved. In 2004 Pope John Paul apologized.
These women are the elders of their communities and deserve respect. I suspect you are right that as widows the interest is in grabbing what they have and not supporting them in their elder years. This is definitely an issue of respect for women. Thank you for your love and concern.

Hugs
Tam

Lisbeth
Jun 08
Jun 08

Dear Aunty Tam,
Its very alarming! I never knew its all started there. But I remember when I was a kid, its was terrible every week or two a hound or elderly woman will be accuse as a witch. They will be emotionally and physically publicly. Later, as a teenager I got to understood a bit what was in the ground. My grandfather who then had three wives. The elderly wife of his, I remember nearly was a victim. But my grandfather refute the community request insisting his first wife will never be relocated to any camp. It was then that I developed hatred for this Witches camp. Its sad for humans to be subjected to this tainted chronology.
I really love to visit and share gifts with them but all will require money. Its about 10-11hrs journey from Accra to Tamale, then to Gambaga. I hope I get story featured award then I can use that funds to buy the gifts. Its not one widow we are talking about, they are in 30ties or more. I pray sincerely that my hope for them is fulfilled.
Thanks Aunty Tam for throwing more light into the topic for me, its up building. I am aware now that it used to be a global issue. Other countries have let go because of advanced knowledge and human rights. So Ghana must also let go of these women. Its BARBARICALLY!
Hugs to you Aunty Tam
Lizzyy

Mojisola Adewumi
Jun 09
Jun 09

Dear Lizzy,
Thank you for sharing.
This indeed a clarion call for all.
Its time to rise up for widows rescue,particularly African Nations

Lisbeth
Jun 09
Jun 09

It is my dear, we all need to get on board. Not easy to break whatever taboo that has send them there but I think we have to start from somewhere.
Thanks for adding your voice. Have a great day. Thanks

Jill Langhus
Jun 09
Jun 09

Hi Lisbeth,

Thanks for sharing your troubling story about this camp and bringing awareness about it. How did you first hear about this camp? I'm curious how well known it is. And, do you personally know women in there, then? What if you started a change.org petition or brought the story to a prevalent journalist or TV station to do an expose on it? I think this could do the trick. Well, maybe not immediately, but I would think this camp won't stay open long if it gets in the hands of the proper channels.

Please keep us posted. I hope you're having a good Sunday, dear.

Lisbeth
Jun 09
Jun 09

Hi sis. Jill,
I am glad to hear you adding a voice to my campaign for this Innocent widows. Hmm this camp has being in existence during the 18 century. Let's say 40years after now I guess. I heard about it since I was a little girl. We have hear many times they are sending a witch to a camp at Gambaga but it never made sense to me during those days. Later in my senior high school time, it got much closer that was in my extended family. My grandfather had three wives. The elderly wife, then my grandmother and the younger wife. At some point in times during those days, the elderly grandmother was declared a witch. The community came for request to excommunicate her from her family and husband but my grandfather refute it. In her case my grandfather was alive and he defended his wife. Has she been a widow will have been much earlier to be send there. As I speaks now, they are all late.
Yeah I agreed with the media. Did you read the link attached my post? That was the media that followed and reported that incidence. So all media stations in Ghana is aware and knowns about the camp. Its not a new case. My point is why is nothing being done about it? First, I think best is to visit, and then explore avenues. If I get featured story award then I can have enough money to carry at least one media station with me to the place, then we see the aftermath of things.
Thanks for your inputs.
Hugs

Jill Langhus
Jun 09
Jun 09

Hello dear,

You're welcome:-) Hope you're having a great Sunday!

Yeah, that's a long time. That's crazy about your grandfather but I'm glad he stuck by his wife.

I saw that your link was in the media, but I was thinking perhaps it didn't have a global enough reach or the right audience because it seems odd to me that it still exists. I can't believe that nothing is being done about it either, but it sounds like you may be the one to change that! Okay, well, please keep us posted, and consider the idea of doing a change.org petition. It's a good way to getting global attention on something, like the one Theresa is doing for the grabbing at the bus stations.

You're welcome.

Have a good evening.

Lisbeth
Jun 09
Jun 09

Hi again,
Pls tell me more a out the change.org petition and we see if something will come out of it quickly plus worldpulse. I really need to start things first with this visit as a break through. Now everything is money puha. I still have hope for them.
Heard from you soon. Its just the right timing with the 23 June, I hope its picks up.
Hugs

Jill Langhus
Jun 09
Jun 09

Hi there:)

I'm not sure about quickly, but this is the link to Theresa'a recent post with the petition in it. I encouraged her to post it and she's gotten quite a good response. We can brainstorm on messenger, if you like. I'm not sure when she's going to present the roster and story to the police. You could also ask her about he process, or Insia who has also led a successful petition. I think we can make a difference there.

Lisbeth
Jun 09
Jun 09

Hi :-),
Great! I think you are missing the link. Will chat you on messenger so we put our heads together.
Cool :-).

Jill Langhus
Jun 10
Jun 10

Okay. Great:-)

Hello, Sister Lizzy,

Thank you for speaking up on behalf of this widows and theharsh treatment they from their families and communities. I hope this practice will stop. Widos should be loved and comforted, not humiliated at all.

Good luck to your story!

Lisbeth
Jun 10
Jun 10

Hi Karen,
I hope you are doing fine with your lovely family? Thanks for the appreciative comment. I wonder why love has turn sour for others. These people deserved proper treatment not this accusation.
Yeah I really wish it goes well so I can visit them at least first to start with.
Warm regards

Hello, Lizzy,

Yes, I am. Thank you for the concern. You’re welcome, dear. Culture has a lot of bad influences on people. Yes, I agree!

How about starting a fundraising?

Hugs.

Mikaela Kate
Jun 11
Jun 11

Thank you for writing Lizzy,
I so look forward to you returning from the widows camp with more news and ideas on how we can begin to dismantle these misunderstood concepts about women. Ill bet these wise elderly women would love to have a garden and some children and motherly bustle around them. It breaks my heart that they are isolated and labeled. Witches always get a bad name. Witches are the healers and the elders with the most important advice. Please keep telling us how it all goes and how to encourage you to forward. Much love,
Aunty kate

Lisbeth
Jun 11
Jun 11

Dear Aunty Kate,
Wow your comment is so up building, already you have envisaged me at the camp. Haha! May it comes to passed. Its my dream to start something but it not going to be easy as I kept indicating. A 40years camp, don't you think something might have been holding it for this while? Haha, but I will keep trying. Sure, when things works to my good you will surely hear a good report from Gambaga Camp for Widows ( the new name). :-)!