Witchcraft and music have had a long relationship in pop culture in East Africa. To be rich and famous, some youths have sought help from the occult.
To be young and beautiful, some say, you have to seek dark powers to compel your suitors to obey your every command.
Some of East Africa’s top personalities have admitted, without shame, that they sought the powers of a mganga to give them that supernatural push.
Artistes, socialites, footballers, business people and surprisingly even thugs, are some of the groups that are known to get into this lifestyle.
Even though many do it on the low key, others have admitted to using uganga to catalyse their craft.
Some of the celebrities that we will be looking at include gospel singer Sarkozi, bongo star Diamond Platnumz, his sister Esma Platnumz, Hamisa Mobetto and Darassa.
Gospel singer Rigan Sarkozi’s life history is an inspiring yet scary one altogether.
In an interview on Radio Jambo, the man who rose to fame thanks to his ‘Wewe ni Mungu’ hit song featuring Daddy Owen, shocked many when he revealed that he once resorted to witchcraft and drug dealing to survive.
Opening up on his controversial past, Sarkozi said his spirit convinced him to speak out on how he turned to the same God he was fighting in search for prosperity.
“As a Christian and a human being, I got saved in 2011, and since then, I haven’t spoken about this (practising witchcraft),” he said.
“I did not wake up just one morning and get saved. I have been involved in theft cases, witchcraft, among others. I would come into your house and steal your TV set and leave, only for you to realise it hours later.”
He said it all started with the company he kept in the past. His friends were into women and the partying life, and since their parents would never give them money for such, they resorted to stealing household items.
Sarkozi decided to change his ways for good upon receiving a call from his mother, who dreamt that her son had died.
It is at that point that he fled Tanzania with the little he had and came back to Kenya, where he grew up, and decided to give his life to Christ, despite being as drunk as a fiddler back in 2011.
The news that Hamisa had gone to a witchdoctor to bewitch Diamond raised eyebrows. When Hamisa came to Kenya, she said she had gone to seek spiritual guidance and not witchcraft.
Diamond had spoken about it on his TV station, Wasafi TV, saying she had gone to seek a witchdoctor’s help to secure Diamond’s love.
He called out his baby mama, Hamisa Mobetto, for seeking the services of witchdoctors to compel him to marry her.
“You have gone to witch doctors wishing harm against my family. That means you could kill my mum and here you are asking that i buy you a house,” he wrote.
“I have heard those voice notes going round. I heard things that I knew that is her (Hamisa). I know this is you. I even told her I know this is you. You want my mum and sister to look like the bad people. They can never be the bad people.
“What you are doing is not right. You should focus on your businesses and your work, instead of going to the witchdoctors to charm me into marrying you.”
In his song, featuring Navy Kenzo called ‘Katika’, Diamond admits it actually worked on him. He confessed this saying: “Tunguli zimenibamba, Mobetto.”
Tanzanian rapper Darassa hit the headlines with his hit song Muziki, featuring Ben Pol. He later said he sought the services of a witch doctor at one point in his life.
“Nikisema sijawahi enda kwa mganga, nitakua nimedanganya. Nimewahi kwenda kwa mganga mara moja kwenye maisha yangu,” he said.
Darassa, however, said it was long ago, and he did not go to seek black magic powers over his music but for personal issues.
“Sikuenda kwenye vitu vyangu personal,” he said. “Nilikua nacheza football, na tulienda ki-team. Team yangu ilikua inaamini kwenye hio challenge. Nilikua team captain kwenye team yangu na nilikua na umri mdogo zaidi. Sikua na nguvu ya kuwa against maagizo ya viongozi ambayo walitupa.”
Joseph Mayanja, popularly known as Jose Chameleone, is arguably the best musician in the East African region. Having stayed in the music industry for 16 years, Chameleone has managed to become one of the most-sought-after artistes around, despite many peers fading into insignificance.
Known for hit songs such as Wale Wale, Nkoleki, Vale Vale, Dorotia, Tubonge, Agatako and Pam Pam, Chameleone’s music has always dominated both the local and international airwaves, a clear indication that he is creative and talented.
The Tubonge hit singer has also worked his way up, and his lavish lifestyle is a clear indication of that. From his palatial mansions to driving expensive cars, Chameleone is a clear indication that indeed, music pays.
Well, of late, Chameleone has been accused of using black magic to gain fame and popularity. He recently refuted the claims in an exclusive interview with Mpasho.
Chameleone said there are people out there trying to tarnish his name. He said he is a believer in Christ and that’s why he has risen from grass to grace. He further said, “Witchcraft is nonsense.”
Jose Chameleone is the elder brother of Ugandan singers Palaso, Weasel and the late AK 47.
Diamond Platnumz and Ommy Dimpoz have recently been exchanging unkind words on social media, amid a series of misunderstandings between them. In the past, Ommy Dimpoz claimed that Diamond was using witchcraft to promote his music.
“Siku moja akaja akaniambia, fulani ameniambia sasa hivi inabidi niwe makini kwa sababu wanaona ule ukaribu wetu labda nakupeleka kwa waganga wangu…yaani yeye ananichukua mimi ananipeleka kwa waganga, bwana jamaa angalia mtu asije akakupita usilete ushikaji kwenye mambo ya mziki,” he said.
Esma Khan is Diamond Platnumz’s sister. She said she does seek witchcraft to protect and grow her business.
In an interview with a Tanzanian based website, the celebrity sister said she is not afraid to confess to this dark secret.
“Kwa mganga mimi naenda, huyo ni mshikaji wangu. Unaweza ukaenda dukani ukapata kuna irizi mlango. Usipojikinga itakuaje? Kwa mganga sikatai, naenda, naroga,” she said.
“Naenda kwa ajili ya biashara zangu.”
Esma owns a business in Tanzania, where she sells vitenge and beauty products.
Twenty-three Ugandan radio stations were closed mid this year for trying to promote what the authorities called ‘uchawi’ (witchcraft) by conning people of their money.
According to reports, the radio stations were inviting people to talk on air who claimed to be medical miracle workers.
The Uganda Communications Commission spokeswoman was quoted as saying:
“The radios have been promoting witchcraft. People claimed on these radios to cure diseases like Aids and cancer, These people have been fraudulently getting money from the public,” she said.
Uganda has about 292 radio stations, and most self-proclaimed prophets and traditional doctors use some of these stations, claiming to heal diseases.
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.
However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow
Drastic life changes affecting mental health
Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.
Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.
Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.
Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153
With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.
In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020. It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.
A study by Dr. Habil Otanga, a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.
KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.
Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.
As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.
“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”
Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.
“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.
Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.
“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”
Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.
“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.
Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.
Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.
She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.
Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.
“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added
Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.
“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and also engage in reading that would help expand their knowledge.