Women all around the world are still being accused of using witchcraft.
According to Unicef, witchcraft accusations and persecution are spreading around the world.
Women are being chased out from their villages, sometimes tortured and killed. Family and friends blame innocent women for murdering people, when someone is sick, an accident occurs, or if a person makes people jealous or angry. You can be accused for witchcraft for almost anything.
More than 200 women and even more children lives in the alleged witchcamp of Gnani.
Gnani is a small village in the nortern region of Ghana. There is one school and a small healthcentre. The old women in the witchcamp live in mudhuts, there is no electricty and no water.
Many of the women are very old, some are handicapped. Their children and grandchildren, generally girls, are said to be be infected by thir mothers or grandmothers evil spirits. The children become their caretakers and help the old women to survive. Few of the children go to school, and those who do get harassed, threatened and persecuted by other students who accuse them of being haunted by witchcraft.
Belief in witchcraft exists not only in isolated villages - well educated and rich people also believe in it. Despite religion, people are careful leaving cut hair and nails on the floor in dread of someone using it in a spell. People believe that witches can fly, that they dance naked in the cemetery, dig up corpses and eat the dead bodies meat. That they copulate with animals, perform incest and hanging upside down in a tree when they are sleeping. The person you accuse for being a witch are mostly someone close, a friend or a family member that you think are using evil spirits against you. The common victim of witchcraft are older women, poor and vulnerable. Maybe the victims husband are tired of her, maybe it´s a woman with a handicap that makes you diverge. But she can also be beautiful, smart and successful - a victim of peoples jealousy.
text and images © ÅSA SJÖSTRÖM