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Their corpses should be respected!

You won't believe what I am about to say, but it is real. Among the Orokos in Ndian Division, South West Region of Cameroon, It is believed that women who die during labour, while giving birth, or shortly after giving birth are witches. Such women have their corpses maltreated and buried as if they were fowls.
In the Oroko ethnic community of southwestern Cameroon, it is a traditional belief that swine mystically inhabits the stomachs of some women, who are capable of witchcraft and morph into swine at night. When these women become pregnant, they give birth to baby swine in the bushes and risk losing their lives if they try to deliver their babies in the real world. It is alleged that some women introduce other women to this witchcraft practice by force, and some other women ask for it since they believe that if you have swine witchcraft you become more beautiful. But the validity of this practice and belief cannot be verified.
Following this belief, many label women who die during childbirth as witches. These women don’t receive a traditional burial.
Firstly, it is not allowed for mourners or well wishers to view the corpse, if they view it, then a traditional cleansing is done to everyone who viewed the corpse.
This situation puts pregnant of Oroko origin in constant fear, they get into labour already tensed. They always have it in the back of their minds that should anything happen, they will be labelled as witches and their corpses desecrated. This will usually leaves a strong stigma amongst surviving family members, as they battle with the daily insults of having one of them die because of witchcraft.
The interesting thing is that, most of the women who have died in this process are poor women who lack money to attend ante-natal clinic. I witnessed a case where the said woman did not attend ante-natal even for a day. She laboured for several hours in a traditional maternity that lacks even basic equipments, attended to by a lone traditional midwife. she later died in the process. Unfortunately, she was labelled as a witch and her corpse laid on the backyard of her mothers house, on the bare floor, naked and covered with a loin cloth from head to toe. She was buried shortly after, naked and with no casket. Traditional cleansing was done to all present at the funeral and all mourners and well wishers are asked to go to their various houses immediately. Then rumour mongers now go about spreading the word that the said woman died of swine witchcraft.
Cameroon is off track to reduce its maternal mortality ratio by 75 percent by 2015 – goal five of the Millennium Development Goals, a U.N. anti-poverty initiative agreed to by countries worldwide. There are 600 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in Cameroon, according to UNICEF’s latest adjusted data.
Now, whether some women actually have swine witchcraft or not, there is no proof as to who really have it. Therefore I call for respect for all corpses. I call for cancellation of such practice because it puts women under stress of the unknown thereby bringing labour complications. Instead, there should be widespread sensitization on the importance of ante-natal clinic so that women can have their babies checked during pregnancy. This will in turn help in reducing maternal mortality among the Orokos of Ndian Division. The old is gone, let's put harmful traditional practices and beliefs aside and embrace the new.

You can read the original version of this article following this link Cameroon is off track to reduce its maternal mortality ratio by 75 percent by 2015 – goal five of the Millennium Development Goals, a U.N. anti-poverty initiative agreed to by countries worldwide. There are 600 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in Cameroon, according to UNICEF’s latest adjusted data.

Read more: http://globalpressinstitute.org/africa/cameroon/maltreatment-corpses-rev...

Comments

pelamutunzi's picture

HORRIFIC

this si pure evil not only for the dead woman but for her mother as well and all the other women who die because of poverty and lack of knowledge and the peace she has never known. lets stand together to stop this evil were a woman is being violated even after death.

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

Nakinti's picture

Pure evil!

Dear Pela,
Thank you for reading my post.
As you mentioned, it is pure evil, and also a violation of rights.
Desecration of corpses is punishable in Cameroon.
I hope we find solutions soon.
Xoxo

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon
Email: nakinti@globalpressinstitute.org
nakintin@yahoo.com

For a woman realizing that she has missed her menses and is likely expecting her baby in Mt. Elgon, Kenya is one of those sweet feelings and moments one can ever have.One carrying a life inside her, and soon to bring it to the world during delivery. women i have shared with are treated with tenderness, they are told not to do hard work, they are fed well, they are respected that period, and they are supported all through. for the religious couples, they are prayed for during, before and after delivery. they are given gifts for those who succeed in giving birth well, and for those who don't, the husband family and surviving children are given all the needed support. I guess this is a different picture from what you just shared. But i believe this is what should be done to all women around the world irrespective of where they come from. if we do what is experienced in my community, and i guess in other parts of the world, we can reduce tension and enable our women to deliver successfully.
in the event that one dies....a woman dies when giving birth......this has been one of the most painful moments in lives of people in my community. All support is mobilized to see to it that the affected families are consoled and supported emotionally, materially, socially, and spiritually...let alone culturally.

My love and peace wishes this morning go to women of Oroko!!

All of us should Respect the Quiet sisters who succumb to death during delivery.

We should Give them dignified send off!

Lets create awareness to demystify "witchcraft and morph" in the swine....and sensitize on safe motherhood for all!!

Let's Stand in Solidarity with womanhood in Oroko, Cameroon to stop maternal mortality and abuse of the dead!!

EK Chemorion

Nakinti's picture

Thank you Chemorion

Dear Chemorion,
You have said it all.
The conception and birth process should be a respectable and honorable one. Not one that adds up worries and stress for women.
The oroko women have undergone some torture -- it needs to stop!
I am an Oroko myself, I know what it means for victims and family members of victims.
Something needs to be done my dear.
We must join hands to put an end to maternal mortality and abuse of the dead.
Thanks dear for reading and commenting on this post.
Love you.
Nakinti

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon
Email: nakinti@globalpressinstitute.org
nakintin@yahoo.com

Aurore's picture

That is absolutely awful!!! I

That is absolutely awful!!! I never heard of it... This is a terrible thing to put on women. As you say, I can pretty much imagine that if you have that in the back of your head while delivering, you're not really ready to relax and live this moment in a positive spirit.

Do you think information campaigns on pregnancy complications and deaths while delivering would be able to make a change? Were there already similar initiatives? I would be interested to know more about the potential solutions you foresee.

Greetings,
A.

Nakinti's picture

You are right!

Dear Aurore,
It is absolutely crazy!
Those are acts violence against our kind.
I am very sure information campaigns on pregnancy complications and deaths while delivering could play the trick.
There has never been any innitiative on this...I plan to do something about this when I can.
It will require sensitization campaigns, workshops, with traditional rulers and community members themselves.
If the traditional rulers understand the negative effects on this, they may help in placing a ban against this.
Thanks for thinking about the solution part of this whole drama.
Love from Cameroon
Nakinti

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon
Email: nakinti@globalpressinstitute.org
nakintin@yahoo.com

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