Efficacy of indigenous charms as weapons of war
Evidence from the Kamwina Nsapu conflict of Kasai in the Democratic Republic Of Congo
Keywords:Charms (manga), Kamwina Nsapu, Traditional Leadership, Modern Leadership
Conflicts and wars in the contemporary world are often fought through the use of modern and sophisticated weapons. The forces using such modern weapons are often regarded as having an upper hand especially when their opponents possess what is regarded as inferior weaponry. However, modern weapons can be overpowered as evidenced in the Kamwina Nsapu conflict in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The insurgency of Kamwina Nsapu militia in the Kasai Central Province sought to bring accountability to the modern political leadership and address bad governance practices. The case of the Kamwina Nsapu revealed the use of charms or fetishes (manga) to address the problem that had emerged in the Luba community. Different types of indigenous charms (manga) were used: trees and sticks were used as guns; slippers as telephones; and fruits as grenades. Militia were able to cut off heads of enemies from a distance with their bare hands and they teleported from one place to another at will. These activities were made possible by the use of charms (manga), such as the tshiota fire and nkwembe.
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