Tuesday 17 February 2015

Uvira, Democratic Republic of Congo - Work goes on in view of the opening of a shelter home for the elderly accused of witchcraft

On the occasion of the week of prayer dedicated to Christian unity, the Community of Sant’Egidio of Uvira, in South Kivu, on the border with Burundi, organized a celebration that saw the participation of the bishop, Mons. Sebastien Muyengo, and representatives of the Orthodox Church of the Patriarchy of Alexandria, of the Anglican Communion and of the Lutheran, Methodist and Pentecostal Churches.
On the same occasion, Mons. Muyengo decided to visit the shelter home that Sant’Egidio is renovating downtown to house elderly people who, accused of witchcraft, were able to escape lynching thanks to our intervention. 

The accusations of witchcraft against the elderly are a widespread and very severe problem in all of central-eastern Africa and all the communities of Sant’Egidio are engaged in the building of a different mentality, in order to save the lives of so many innocent victims and free people from a degrading and violent superstition.
We remind ourselves that it was at Uvira that Sant’Egidio was painfully shocked by what happened to Sophie Mulondala, an 80-year-old woman, accused of having caused the death of her niece through magical practices. The people of her neighborhood lynched her together with her son who had tried, unsuccessfully, to protect her in (March 2011). The Community has organized city-wide assemblies, to inform and sensitize, in order to protect those who are victims of such senseless accusations and to build a different culture. It also increased the visits to the homes of the very old. Some of the older people, until recently treated as witches or sorcerers, have seen the attitude of their neighbors change once the young members of the community of Uvira began visiting them.     

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