A self-confessed 65-year-old Choma wizard has abandoned witchcraft for Jesus Christ.
In an interview with The Mast, Albert Ng’andu of Mboole, who is chief Cooma’s senior ngambela, said he did not know that charms administered to him by a Malawian traditional healer in 1987 when he was sick would end up making him practice witchcraft.
“Having been raised in a village and to a family that believed in superstition my life evolved around believing that charms were the only protection for man. So at an early stage of my life, I developed interest in traditional medicine to an extent that whenever I got sick, what came into my mind was that I had been bewitched,” Ng’andu explained.
“I got very sick from 1987 to 1989 and now for fear of dying as a result of being bewitched, I went to Malawi to look for charms for protection. A friend took me there as you know during that period people believed much in traditional medicine than conventional medicine.”
Ng’andu narrated that upon reaching Malawi he discovered that there were a lot of charms for all kinds of problems.
“I got healed and brought the charms for protection for my home. And these charms were planted around my yard and so no evil missile could access my home. Old men in the village that were practicing witchcraft were shaken with my powerful charms,” he said.
Among the traditional arsenals that Ng’andu acquired for ‘protection’ was an amulet locally known as chitumwa.”An amulet, also known as a good luck charm, is an object believed to confer protection upon its possessor. The word ‘amulet’ comes from the Latin word amuletum, which Pliny’s Natural History describes as ‘an object that protects a person from trouble’. I got a chitumwa from a Luvale person which I used to move with in the pocket and put under a pillow while sleeping at night. Whenever I sit with friends who also had Chitumwa with them they would run away because mine was so powerful such that no one could stand it. So even if we were served food at a public gathering I would remain alone,” he narrated.
He said the amulet has helped him a lot “to win cases in court and deal with whoever dared him”.
“Even in public meetings people could get scared to quarrel with me or arguing with me because of my powerful chitumwa. It used to send shivers in their nerves while some could urinate on themselves or poop,” Ng’andu said.
He said he also had another charm which he kept in a metal tin for applying as body lotion.
“I used this charm in courts and other meetings. As a Ngambela I’m in charge of traditional courts. People used to run away from me whenever they face me. They could cry. I also had charms whereby if a woman is divorced because of another woman, they could get back and make the one who disturbed the marriage get chased away or divorced. A lot of marriages were saved by this charm,” he said. “I had charms also to boost love and to win cases.”
Ng’andu said the other charm enabled him not pay any fare when he used public transportation or anything of that sort.
“I never used to pay transport money in any vehicle I jumped in. No one used to charge me even if it was in a bus. They never used to see me. Sometimes, I used to make my own transport by throwing a magic stick on the road and the rule was that you wait for two cars to pass then the third one you stop it and jump in,” he said. “And the third vehicle would stop and pick me up without charging me. The rule of that charm was to make it on the road by throwing the magic stick then first vehicle will pass, second will pass then third one will stop for me. I travelled extensively to all parts of this country for free using this same method. The most places I frequented was Lusaka and Livingstone.”
Ng’andu said had helped a lot of people especially civil servants to get promoted using his charms.
“There are a lot of people that got promoted through my charms and till now they are heading institutions, departments, while others rose to ranks quickly than expected even without proper qualifications,” he boasted.
Ng’andu said after using the charms for a good period of time his home became a haven of strange things that made everyone uncomfortable.
“My amulet or chitumwa got angry and started causing havoc to my family by making them sick, certain birds like owls could come and make terrible noise at home even during the day. A lot of strange things happened that gave me sleepless nights. My children were fainting. We called the Luvale man who gave me chitumwa or amulet to come and remove it and we burnt it,” he narrated.
“All these things I was doing, happening around me because of these charms I was using as protection. I didn’t know that it made me become an evil spirit as well. My family started getting sick not knowing that it was my things that were fighting me while I thought it was my enemies.”
Ng’andu said those that attempted to bewitch him kicked the bucket.
“Whoever tried to bewitch me they died. Whoever hated me died. We grew up knowing that killing and shedding blood during rituals was meant to feed the spirits so that they don’t turn on the family. As Bansaka clan from childhood, we grew up with charms and we were protected yet sickness continued troubling us. We were doing rituals by killing cattle, goats and chickens during family ceremonies and so this was part of our tradition,” he explained.
Ng’andu said his mother was the last person to die among all her age mates in Mboole area.
“Our mothers never used to go to their husbands’ place after getting married. It’s them who were keeping men. So they used to choose who to marry them and bring him home. When dying, the old lady told us that we abandon witchcraft and healing people so that we concentrate on Jesus Christ,” he narrated.
Ng’andu said in 2006 an American missionary by the name of Tiens visited him to try and share the Word of God.
“This missionary preached to me so that I repent. He used tricks of giving us second hand clothes so that we can be attending his church services. At first when he started baptising those that repented, myself and other friends who were still living in the dark world refused because we didn’t want to lose our magic power,” he said. Ng’andu said a local pastor, Albert Muleya from Choma preached to him until he decided to accept Jesus Christ.
“Pastor Albert Muleya made me accept Jesus Christ because during his preaching I could only see myself in his preaching though I was hesitating to repent because I was scared that once I throw away my charms I will die,” Ng’andu explained. “I accepted Jesus in 2006. Pastor Muleya’s church came to uproot the charms planted at home. I had a bottle of charms which if the sick person is fought by people once I used the charms from that bottle they would get healed immediately and whoever bewitched them would die. I used to make a lot of money through healing such that it was the only thing I was doing. Life was good and I never used to do farming.”
However, he said time came when he realised that all the magic he was doing was temporary for there was Jesus Christ who was more powerful than anything.
“When I accepted that whatever I had was temporal I brought men of God to pray for me. The last week I wanted to accept Jesus I had a lot of customers from all parts of the country. I made a lot of money such that I wanted to change my mind from going ahead with my initial plan of repenting,” Ng’andu explained. “I had a cupboard which contained all kinds of charms. So I thought of hiding the metal tin of lotion but later I just thought of revealing it. We burnt everything. As we were burning these charms three forms of rainbow developed covering my home only for two days.”
He said after burning the charms fear of being bewitched gripped him.
“[But] I have now lived 15 years without using charms and I rarely get sick. So with permission from Chief Cooma I’m going round the whole chiefdom to give my testimony so that those that are still using charms should give their life to Jesus Christ like I did,” Ng’andu said. “Charms cannot help anyone apart from Jesus Christ. The time I lived in the dark world I never had peace. At night there was no sleeping. I’m now free in Jesus Christ. From the time I got baptised I no longer get sick. Despite people still throwing their missiles on me, I’m now protected by the blood of Jesus. I was practicing witchcraft without knowing because the charms I had for my own protection was fighting other people. A lot of people that fought me using charms died…I’m now a full time farmer after stopping depending on healing using charms. I used to find a lot of money but I could not do any tangible things because the source of the money was evil.”
Ng’andu said after giving his life to Jesus Christ, he was privileged to go to South Korea and was also blessed with a motorbike given to him by “a certain church”.
“…a villager, I reached South Korea where even some educated people have never been to. All this was the favour of God. A certain church had taken me to South Korea for a tour and when I came back I opened a branch,” he said.
Ng’andu said the other benefit he has so far experienced after giving his life to Jesus Christ was peace with other people.
“I’m no longer in conflict with peopleThere is only love in my life, peace at home. I’m married to four wives and have 33 children. Because of the decision I made to repent now my family is living a free life without anything disturbing them,” said Ng’andu.
Credit: The Mast
A self-confessed 65-year-old Choma wizard has abandoned witchcraft for Jesus Christ.