Tag Archives: sport

Soccer and sorcery: only in Africa

Just wanted to share something that I found quite amusing…

Just to give you some context, Ugandans are soccer – mad (like most of the world its called football here but my allegiance to aussie rules prevents me from calling it that)

There was a big soccer game on TV on Saturday night, between the Ugandan national team (the Cranes) and the Kenyan team, to see if either could qualify for the Africa cup of nations. Neither team have played in the Africa cup for decades. And to be honest, that’s not a massive surprise – they don’t have the strongest soccer teams around…

We don’t have a TV, so Michael and I watched the game at a local pub, like most people in Kamwenge.Everyone took the game very seriously. It was quite painful to watch. Kenya played terribly, and although Uganda played much better, it was still a very non-eventful match. Not one goal was scored for the whole game, and it ended in a draw. But not before Uganda had about a million corners and even more shots at goal (while the Kenyans had almost none).

Once the game finished, we walked into town to grab some food, and I bumped into a good friend of mine. Of course, the topic immediately turned to the game that had just finished, with much clicking of tongues and shaking of heads from myself, her and the people around us. Then she said something I would never expect to hear in Australia:

‘Ah! These Kenyans! They were playing some very funny tricks!  Did you see the witch doctor with the pipe at the start of the match? He cursed us!’

With those around her nodding in agreement, and spurred on by my amused questions, my friend proceeded to explain to me how it was obvious – ‘proof’ was the word she used – that the Kenyans had cursed the Ugandan players. What was the proof?

They had so many chances to score, but always missed.

The theory was that the spell cast on them was similar to the curse used to render a woman infertile. Michael, with some other friends later, heard a similar theory about the almost naked medicine man who was chanting at the start of the match.

I don’t have much to say on this. I find it fascinating, slightly amusing and entirely different to what I know. But it certainly gives a glimpse into Bantu culture; the seeming absence of any authoritative line between physical and spiritual, the merging fragments of self.

An entertaining example of a very complex concept that I love about Africa.