‘witchcraft belief defence’ rejected by Greytown Regional Court in sentencing

Philisiwe Zuma (33), Thubelihle Shezi (24), and Mazwi Lembethe (23), were recently found guilty of double murder and arson and were sentenced by the Greytown Regional Court to life.

The South African Pagan Rights Alliance wishes to thank the Greytown Regional Court for not accepting a ‘witchcraft belief defence’ in mitigation of sentencing in this case.

The consideration of a belief in “witchcraft” as a mitigating factor in sentencing is wholly inappropriate as this will not discourage further accusations of witchcraft or witch-hunts. The purpose of sentencing must be deterrence. Our courts must never lend credence to the perpetrators unproveable “beliefs” that motivate violence against victims of witchcraft accusation.

It’s 2024 and “TAYLOR SWIFT IS A SATANIST”?!

An industrial psychologist and self-appointed life coach, Madeleine Pretorius (48), has accused Swift of including “satanic symbolism in her songs and music videos, as well as during her worldwide Eras tour” in a Facebook video, which has been viewed over 5000 times. Pretorius’ accusations are nothing more than what was initially hurled at Fokofpolisiekar, ACDC, Metallica, and other popular culture and media, in the 80s to early 90s. Moral panics of such a nature are generally proven by experts, to have little (if any) rational basis!

Conspiracy theories and moral panics have no place in news reports or Psychology practices and frameworks in South Africa, as they are harmful and unprofessional. Qualified Industrial Psychologists, like Pretorius, aught NOT be endorsing irrational Satanic panic conspiracies.

Dis 2024 en “TAYLOR SWIFT IS ‘DUIWELS’…”!?

Suid-Afrika is weer vasgevang in ‘n morele (Sataniese) paniek. Die soort paniek wat ons in die laat 80’s laas gesien het, toe Rodney Seale, John Gardiner, Kobus Jonker, en hul trawante nog hul rondtes by skole gedoen het om kinders by ACSV bang te praat met boeke en pamflette, teen “die gevaar van rock musiek en Satanisme”. Mens sou dus dink, dat in 2024, ‘n samelewing sou bestaan wat al weggedoen het met dié uitgedateerde persepsies oor populêre kultuur, musiek, en kunstenaars, wat die Afrikaanse jeug wil besoedel met subtiele aanhitsing tot seks, dwelms, geweld, en goddeloosheid in hul lirieke -en konserte. Toe nie. Die naweek, bykans net ná Paasfees, is Suid-Afrika (weereens) in rep-en-roer oor ‘n kunstenaar se kwansuise “duiwelaanbiddery” en “heksery”, tydens konserte -en musiekvideos.

Hierdie keer is dit Taylor Swift, van alle kunstenaars, wat skielik nou persona non grata is. Die Afrikaner-Christen-publiek se hoof opponent, wat binnekort Suid-Afrika toe kom vir ‘n ekonomies belowende konsert, tydens haar Eras-wêreldtoer! So, waar het Swift dan so verkeerd geloop?

Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill: Facts and Uninformed Bias

The Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill seeks to amend the South African Schools Act of 1996. Since its introduction in January 2022, the Bill has been criticised by parents, civil society organisations and opposition Political Parties in the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

Some of this criticism amounts to uninformed bias and malicious prejudice, rather than fact.

We separate the facts from the uninformed bias, and name the provocateurs.

REMEMBER THEIR NAMES – Victims of witch-hunts in South Africa 2000 to 2024

February 2024. An 85-year-old woman and her 90-year-old husband lost their lives on 12 February 2024, after their home became the alleged target of an arson attack. “The exact cause of the fire is still to be confirmed, and we are following up on all information. We are aware of the allegations of witchcraft, and this motive is still to be confirmed.” Captain Sipho Nkosi

’30 Days of Advocacy against Witchcraft Accusations and Witch-hunts’ – 29 March to 27 April.
https://paganrightsalliance.org/advocacy/

Touchstone Advocacy (on Facebook)
https://www.facebook.com/TouchstoneAdvocacy/

Call for Suspension of Shaun Christie from NWU

Christie has sought support for his anti-LGBTQ cause on social media, drawing backing from notable queer-phobic organisations, AfriForum Jeug and the African Christian Democratic Party. These organisations advocate for his reinstatement, portraying him as a victim of alleged attempts by “higher authorities” to suppress “religious freedom and Christian values”.

In response to Christie’s behaviour, this Alliance has appealed to the South African Human Rights Commission in pursuit of strict and decisive action against Christie.

Pan-African Parliament Guidelines seek an end to witchcraft accusations

In March 2023 the Pan-African Parliament released its “Guidelines on Accusations of witchcraft and ritual attacks: towards eliminating harmful practices and other human rights violations” at the joint sittings of the Committee on Gender, Youth, Family and People with Disability, the Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs, and the Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism, and Human Resources at the PAP headquarters in Midrand, South Africa.

‘Overcomers through Christ’ a little fishy?

These articles relate to the early events of the Krugersdorp murder saga.

SAPRA and others in the community were already skeptical when new cases labeled in the media as “occult” and “satanic crimes” appeared. History has proven that our skepticism had merit. Our hypothesis that it is Christian anti-Satanism and anti-Occult hysteria and propaganda fueling cases also proved to be correct. Legend trippers enact the “Christian myth of Satanism” and frequently have no real knowledge on the occult or Satanism.

In fact, the focus on identifying Satanists involved with the crime and the involvement of the Occult Related Crimes/Harmful Religious Practices Unit and “Colonel X” caused severe delays as they chased red herrings in their religious quest to fight the devil.

Call for caution and reason as new cases fuel Satanic Panic

SAPRA and others in the community were already skeptical when new cases labeled in the media as “occult” and “satanic crimes” appeared. History has proven that our skepticism had merit. Our hypothesis that it is Christian anti-Satanism and anti-Occult hysteria and propaganda fueling cases also proved to be correct. Legend trippers enact the “Christian myth of Satanism” and frequently have no real knowledge on the occult or Satanism.

Why some Pagans are defending the right to religious freedom for non-Pagans

Despite obvious theological divergence between Paganism and Satanism, both religious movements find common ground within the Occult and Occultism. The Department of Education’s intention to single out so-called “occultism” or “occult practices” as harmful constitutes a very real threat to the religious freedoms guaranteed for children who may choose, or who may already have chosen, to explore or become adherents of Pagan Witchcraft or Satanism, or who have or do show any inclination or fascination with the Occult or Occultism.

Advocacy against witch-hunts in South Africa a success

We would like to thank formal SAPRA members, and international supporters, for their unwavering support for this campaign to end witch-hunts in South Africa. Thank you. We note that there have been no reports of witch-hunts in our country since 2021. We will continue to closely monitor published news reports to ensure that accusations of witchcraft never ever lead to witch-hunts in South Africa again.

SAPRA Comment on draft “Prohibition of Harmful Practices and Unlawful Accusations of Harmful Witchcraft Practices Bill”

In June 2022 the South African Law Reform Commission confirmed its recommendation for the repeal of the Witchcraft Suppression Act.

This Alliance herewith submits further comment in objection to the proposed draft “Prohibition of Harmful Practices and Unlawful Accusations of Harmful Witchcraft Practices Bill”.

OCCULT HERITAGE MONTH

The South African Pagan Rights Alliance – SAPRA is proud to announce a virtual (online) seminar, dedicated to the celebration of the heritage of Left-hand path religions and philosophies in South Africa.
Date: 24 September 2022
Time: 11:00-13:00

CALL FOR PAPERS
Theme: Dancing Under A (South) African Moon: New Religious Movements in a Christian hegemonised context.

If you are a practitioner of Paganism, Witchcraft, Luciferianism, Shamanism, or Satanism, we invite you to come and join us in a public discussion, reflecting information on beliefs and practices within the South African Pagan community in celebration of its sacred Occult heritage. All submissions, academic and non-academic, are welcome.

Submit submissions by Thursday, 22 September 2022

Occult Heritage Month, moral entrepreneurs and folk devils

The South African Pagan Rights Alliance celebrates Occult Heritage Month in September by re-exploring our collective historical occult heritage; including diverse topics such as Neoplatonism and Hermeticism, Mysticism, Alchemy, the Western Magic Traditions, Theurgy and Goetia, Divination, Spiritism, and the birth of Neo-Paganism.

For some evangelical Christians however, the mention of Occultism conjures only fearful primal fantasies of the loss of assumed religious authority, spirit possession, the adjuration of demonic forces and the hidden machinations of fabricated folk devils. A century ago, they might have organised a good witch-hunt. Today they tend to ply their false witness against identified religious minorities through the media.

SALRC calls for comment on review of Witchcraft Suppression Act

Revised Discussion Paper 158, Project 135: The Review of the Witchcraft Suppression Act 3 of 1957.

The Alliance has received an invitation from the South African Law Reform Commission to comment on a revised discussion paper for Project 135 (The Review of the Witchcraft Suppression Act 3 of 1957), released for public comment. The closing date for comment is 31 October 2022.

Attorney scapegoats occultism for brutal crime committed by Christian

Perhaps Santi Human of Human van der Merwe Attorneys Inc needs to attend a refresher course on attorneys’ ethics, or retire from the law profession and devote herself full-time to her not-so-secret passion; spiritual warfare against religious minorities. At least the latter occupation will not require her to be honest, truthful, or accountable to the law.

UPDATE: Project 135 Review of Act 3 of 1957

The following correspondence has been submitted to the Department for Justice and Constitutional Development. This Alliance trusts that international consensus on this matter will persuade the honourable Minister, and the South African Law Reform Commission, to revisit it’s hesitancy in recommending that the Legislature set aside the Witchcraft Suppression Act as clearly inconsistent with both Constitutional and International law, without further delay.

UN Human Rights Council Resolution 47

The United Nations Human Rights Council’s draft resolution 47 entitled “Elimination of harmful practices related to accusations of witchcraft and ritual attacks” finally, although indirectly only, acknowledges that Witchcraft is not the mischief requiring regulation or prohibition. The draft correctly identifies the true harm requiring remedy; the human rights abuses which flow from accusations of witchcraft.

Consumers are protected against delinquent suppliers

Have you ordered and paid for merchandise that was never delivered? Have you subsequently been refused a refund on demand for that undelivered order? Has a supplier demanded a cancellation fee for an undelivered order? The Consumer Protection Act protects your right to fair and honest dealing by promoting fair business practices, and by protecting consumers from unconscionable, unfair, unreasonable, unjust or otherwise improper trade practices; and deceptive, misleading, unfair or fraudulent conduct.

Don’t curse in the public square

What is not at issue here is the Constitutional right of Witches to identify as Witches, to profess to have knowledge of Witchcraft, and to practice Witchcraft.

The Constitutional rights to freedom of religion, belief and association, do not protect any right to practice magical rituals designed to curse others, whether to protect an innocent from harm, or to avenge a wrong. The Witchcraft Suppression Act prohibits the practice of harmful magic intended to curse another.

South African law expressly prohibits the practice of magic in such a way as to cause harm, or to harass another in such a way as to inspire the reasonable belief that harm may be caused, or to utter or convey a threat which might induce a fear of being harmed through the use of witchcraft.

Defamation and ‘witch-wars’ on social media

South African Pagans are not immune from inter-personal disagreements and personality conflicts. We are, after all, human. But we are also the objects of both fear and hatred by many non-Pagan South Africans. Our enemies ply their defamation against us through religious admonitions and condemnations.

Innocent people falsely accused of being witches and of practicing witchcraft to cause harm are often assaulted and murdered in this country. False accusations tarnish reputations and ruin livelihoods. No-one is immune to the harm caused by malicious gossip on social media. The accusers are not immune from justice either.

Dr Arthur Frost invokes religious intolerance against ancestor veneration

Dr Arthur Frost’s recent Facebook call to action against the legal right of non-Christian South Africans to celebrate ancestral veneration amounts to incitement to discrimination, and is motivated by religious prejudice. The South African Pagan Rights Alliance calls on all South Africans to condemn Frost’s call to action as a rejection of the Constitutional values of freedom, dignity and equality.

Eastern Cape school closed for exorcism

On April 13 news headlines read “Eastern Cape school closed for exorcism after pupils captured by evil spirits”.

This is not the first case of hysteria in public schools in South Africa. In the past, pastors were invited to schools as a matter of course in order to deal with untested and unproven allegations of supernatural activity.

SAPRA appeals to the Minister of Basic Education Ms Matsie Motshekga, MEC Mr. Gade David Fundile, and the Eastern Cape Department of Education, to put an end to the charade of pandering to the fantasies of teenagers. Stop using public schools to proselytise religious prejudice and bigotry.

Cultural beliefs, religious identity and secular humanism

We honour Leo Igwe for his own successful campaigns against “child witchcraft accusations” in Nigeria.

We accept that his campaigns seek to deny the existence of Witches and Witchcraft; a natural consequence of his atheism. Our own campaigns in South Africa do not seek to deny the fact that real Witches do exist. We admit that navigating the thin line between religious identity and prejudicial accusation is always frought with difficulty.

Your Rights Issue 1 April 2021

SAPRA’s first issue of our quarterly newsletter, Your Rights.

In anticipation of yet another long year of lockdown and anxiety, we’ve devoted this issue to offering practical advice on matters with which you might have become all too familiar since March 2020, including lawful eviction procedure, health protocols in the workplace, and COVID vaccinations and the law, as well as articles on crafting a Bindrune for Justice, Deities associated with the Law, and making an Incantation Bowl to ward against illness and misfortune.

30 Days of Advocacy against Witchcraft Accusations and Witch-hunts – 29 March to 27 April 2021

During Human Rights Month – 21 March to 27 April – the South African Pagan Rights Alliance will be launching its annual ’30 Days of Advocacy against Witchcraft Accusations and Witch-hunts’ on 29 March 2021. If you would like to support this campaign, share links to our advocacy web-page and our Facebook page ‘Touchstone Advocacy’, and share our advocacy banner as your profile image.

SAPRA Director’s Report – 2020

SAPRA would like to encourage South African Pagans to continue to observe COVID health protocols – wear a mask when in a public space, observe social distancing, avoid gathering in large crowds whether indoors or outdoors, and be mindful at all times of the suffering of their fellow citizens. Assist others where you can, however you are able. During a time such as this one, everyone needs to have access to certainty (as much as there can be) in order to make informed decisions. This virus does not care if you don’t believe in it. Take care.

Education exemption and homeschooling

If you are unwilling to accept the very real risk of coronavirus contagion to your child or members of your family as a consequence of sending your child back to school, SAPRA advises applying for partial or conditional exemption from attendance. Parents seeking to homeschool their child must register for home schooling.
According to section 4(1) of the South African Schools Act, “A Head of Department may exempt a learner entirely, partially, or conditionally from compulsory school attendance if it is in the best interests of the learner.”

Witch-hunts: scapegoating, unfair discrimination and criminal acts

On Sunday morning, 15 March, an unnamed 83 year old woman and her 23 year old granddaughter became the first reported victims of witchcraft accusation in 2020. The grandmother was drowned by her assailants in a drum of water. Her granddaughter narrowly escaped being burned alive. The perpetrators alleged that the grandmother was guilty of bewitching a young man who was buried the day before in Majuba Village, Sterkspruit, in the Eastern Cape. These victims are the latest in a very long and growing list of individuals and families who have become scapegoats for unmerited blame in South Africa.

Children have a right not to be spanked!

Parents are no longer entitled to chastise a child using violence! The Constitutional Court held that “The application of force or a resort to violence, which could be harmful or abused, cannot in circumstances where there is an effective non-violent option available be said to be consonant with the best interests of a child.”
In terms of Section 110 of the Children’s Amendment Act, there is a general duty on certain citizens to report domestic abuse and violence against children. Ordinary citizens are given the discretion to report abuse when they become aware of it.