2 responses

  1. Franck
    August 18, 2010

    Commenting as an African here. The key in understanding the difference in treatment is the way these people see themselves. Chimbalanga identified HERSELF as a woman and thus was seen as succumbing by her own will to a “Western mental illness/aberration”. Mateyu, on the other hand, claims to be an unwilling victim to some evil magical act.

    Africans are big believers of magical acts. I live in a country where beating a woman to death over accusations of being a witch has been reported as happening at least half a dozen times since the start of this century. The people will often find it heroic for someone to “stand up and denounce evil magical acts committed against them,” hence Mateyu’s sudden celebrity.

  2. Chris McCoy
    August 18, 2010

    I suspect that this is a form of Koro, which is rampant in Asia and in Africa; where individuals believe that their genitalia are shrinking or have disappeared altogether.

    This article in Harper’s goes into some detail about the extent of Koro in Africa.

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