The recent case of a traditional priest in Ghana, who was seriously wounded in the process of testing his supposed anti-bullet charm, has once again illustrated the dangers of superstitious beliefs in Africa. This incident has amply shown the imperative of skeptical thinking and scientific outlook in the region, and the fact that a dearth of critical temper could damage and shorten the lives of people. The traditional priest,
Nana Tolofasito, claimed to have spiritual powers and went ahead to test these powers. He asked somebody to shoot him with a gun in order to demonstrate the efficacy of his anti-bullet medicine. In the process, he sustained serious injuries from the gunshot because his so-called medicine did not protect him.
Fortunately, the bullet only pierced through the upper part of the left arm and left a gaping hole. This indicated that there was no shred of anti-bullet power in his charm. The supposed medicine could not stop, counter or reduce the ravaging impact of the bullet.
The graphic photo of Nana Tolofasito receiving treatment while some blood was gushing out of his body at a clinic in Ghana, should serve as a lesson in the corridors of superstition in Africa. It should also be a gruesome reminder of the destructive power of such irrational and paranormal claims.
But the question is: Will this incident ever persuade people across Africa, both the educated and the non-educated alike, from believing in charms such as the anti-bullet charm? Will it stop people in Ghana and in other West African countries from taking seriously this absurd and dangerous claim that some charm could neutralize gun shots? I do not think so. And this is the reason why I said that.
This is not the first time that the process of testing anti-bullet medicine has led to tragic results. to Sadly many of these cases of death or injuries go largely unreported.
This is not the first time that a test had shown the claim of an ‘African’ bullet -proof to be baseless. In Nigeria, there have been several of such instances where traditional medicine men or some potential buyers and actual users of anti-bullet charms have died in the process of testing the ‘medicine’.
Still, the belief in ‘African’ bullet-proof technology remains pervasive and people continue to use and market the anti-bullet charms. These charms come in various forms and shapes. They can be in the form of a ring that a person puts on the finger or in the pocket or on the waist. The anti-bullet medicine could also be in the form of a liquid which people drink or rub on their bodies.
However, there is no shred of evidence verifying that any of these formations of ‘African bullet proof’ are effective.
That notwithstanding, traditional priests such as Nana Tolofasito, continue to risk their lives to demonstrate the purported efficacy of the charms.
Anti-bullet medicine remains a silent killer of Africans. What is most worrisome, is that some African intellectuals continue to promote and defend claims of the African anti bullets charms. They argue that the charms are demonstrations of ‘African science’ despite several tragic cases where these claims have demonstrably been proven false.
The unfortunate thing is that, even when anti-bullet charms are shown to be evidently false, some people remain adamant and unconvinced. They still hold on to their belief.
These people would rather argue that in the case of Nana Tolofasito did not use the genuine or potent brand of the charm. This pattern of thinking sustains the irrational belief trend and makes it difficult to eradicate the use and continuing of the superstition.
So there is an urgent need to promote critical evaluation of the paranormal claims in Africa. Efforts are needed to dispel this erroneous impression that African science stands for superstition and irrationalism. In fact this idea of African science exoticizes Africa because it seems as if the term, science, means something different to Africans and therefore should be abandoned.
The standards of science in Africa, what is regarded as science or scientific in Africa, should not be different from what applies in other parts of the world.
A process of enlightenment is required to dissuade other Africans from endangering their lives or the lives of others by producing or agreeing to test and market anti-bullet charms. The claim of anti-bullet charms and amulets has no basis in reason, science or in reality.