I used to live in Ubangi, not far from the Congo river; my brother was born there. I've few memories of it, but as with all places of one's childhood, I'm immensely attached to it. Consequently this New York Times piece was mezmerizing:
"My father took me to the river," said Alfie, who is 7. "He said I was a witch."
...Anecdotes from children's advocates suggest that across the country, more and more children are accused of sorcery, blamed for the ills that befall their kin in what remains a time of unfathomable hardship.
The grown-ups who care for them see it as a barometer of national despair. When nothing else explains the gnawing misery of daily life, the supernatural steps in. Sickness, death, joblessness, hunger — all can be blamed on witchcraft. Children, defenseless by definition, can be the easiest scapegoats.
DR Congo, and strife-soaked Africa in general, looks like a ripe spot for field work on the question of religion and society. Clearly it seems that it is not only has the Congolese moral fabric been torn - whatwith drowning children like cats - but it appears equally that their spiritual footing has been shaken by civil chaos. I smell a lot of academic aggrandizement in the making.