Ivorian group organizes exorcism ceremony to fight coronavirus

by Duke Magazine

An Ivorian traditional group dwelling in the southeastern part of Ivory Coast, recently held a special exorcism ceremony to seek for divine intervention in protecting its own population of about three million persons in ravaging coronavirus time. 

The chief of Sanwi, in speaking at the ceremony alluded to divine instructions underlying the pandemic: “Because science can’t fix everything. It just can’t. Take for example the virus, this little virus that we don’t see that silences everybody.

“Those that we call powerful, less powerful and so on. Everybody is at the same level, everybody hides. Today if everybody hides, we are weak. This is a message that God is giving us,” he emphasized.

With the largest producer of cocoa imposing a total lockdown across the nook and cranny of the country, the ceremony took place with few people in attendance. 

Traditional “komians” or women healers dressed in white attire purified the royal court by sprinkling alcohol to the strains of the “abodan,” a traditional beat. Those attending then daubed their faces with the wet earth as a sign of obeisance to the chief and lifted their heads towards the sun.

“So we’d have to do some soul-searching. After this examination of conscience, we can then address the Almighty because there is God and the chief. 

“That is why the chief makes the libation, a prayer to God, a prayer to the ancestors, those who see the unseen, of being able then to help us, to save our life, otherwise it would be the disappearance of the whole world.”

Ceremonies like this are held often to protect their land from looming natural disasters such as disease outbreak, drought or floods.

Ivory Coast as of May 3 had recorded 1,362 confirmed cases with 15 deaths and 622 recoveries from the pandemic. The government of the country has already charged all traditional rulers to enforce social distancing and other preventive measures to curb the health menace.

It has been recorded that approximately 20 percent of the population is animist. Muslims and Christians account for 40 percent each, and many members of the two religions still have a mixed-practice with the traditional beliefs. 

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