Official launching of the “Unseen Worlds” – 27th February 2015 at FENZA, Zambia

Romaric BationoBy Fr. Romaric Bationo, M.Afr

The latest FENZA book “Unseen World” by Bernhard Udelhoven was launched to great compliments at an event organised and hosted by FENZA on Friday 27th February 2015. The book launch attracted good number people; well-wishers, friends and partners of FENZA. Among other attendants, there were the archbishop of Lusaka, Bishop Telesphore Mpundu; the German Ambassador to Zambia, his Excellency Mr Bernd Finke; the ZEC secretary general, Fr Zulu; the secretary of the Apostolic Nuncio, Fr Marco Formica; the National Pastoral Coordinator, Fr Justin Matepa; and the Provincial of the M.Afr in Southern Africa, Fr Christopher Chileshe.

Radio Yatsani represented by its director, Fr Singini, was there to record the event for a later broadcast.

Launching Unseen Worlds Feb 05The featured speakers were Bernhard Udelhoven the author of the book, Fr. Thomas Banda, the Diocesan pastoral coordinator for Lusaka archdiocese, and Chuma Peter Mfumu, one of the “Fingers of Thomas”.  Fr Bernhard explained succinctly how the book came about and its contributors. Fr Thomas spoke powerfully of the book. He commented that the book makes the case for urgent pastoral intervention gives hope and provides pastoral insights to deal with cases of witchcraft, Satanism and spirits possessions. He concluded with a glowing tribute to the book as sensible and a “must-read”.

After the interventions of the panelists, the audience was given the opportunity to comment on the book or ask questions. Many shared their experience and struggle to come to term with the issue of witchcraft. Others expressed their happiness that the book will elucidate the overwhelming issues of witchcraft and Satanism. Most of them congratulated Bernhard and FENZA and commended the book as timely. As the observations of participants sparked off a lively discussion, Mr Denis Wood, a contributor to the book urged all to buy it, read it, use it and promote it.

Unseen Worlds 01Several copies of the book were sold out, picked like hot cakes even before the opening of the launch. At the end of the launch many of the participants complimented FENZA for a memorable event.  Of this book launch, Fr Bernhard commented that it was “FENZA at its best”.

“Unseen Worlds” is available at FENZA, in the Catholic Bookshop of Lusaka and soon it will be available in other bookshops at K80. You can also buy it online at

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FENZA Book Launch Invitation – Friday 27th Feb. 2015

FENZA Logo 2

FENZA (Faith and Encounter Centre Zambia)

Cordially invites you to attend the book launch of

Unseen Worlds 01Unseen Worlds: Dealing with Spirits, Witchcraft, and Satanism

By Bernhard Udelhoven

Friday 27th February 2015, 15:00 -17:00 hrs

At Faith and Encounter Centre,

Off Leopards Hill Road, next to Yatsani Radio

 You are welcome to join us on this joyful occasion!

The book (453 Pages) will be sold for K 80.00

See the link:

UNSEEN WORLDS, Dealing with Spirits, Witchcraft, and Satanism

UNSEEN WORLDS, Dealing with Spirits, Witchcraft, and Satanism

Unseen Worlds 01“This book is dedicated to all those who experience evil or ambivalent spiritual powers in their lives. In a special way, I dedicate it to the people who have shared with me and with our pastoral groups their inner experiences with such powers. They have proven that encounters with these forces do not need to lead to suspicions, accusations, fear and despair. This book is a witness that they can lead to growth, reconciliation, and to a wider sense of belonging.”

Those are the words of the author, Bernhard Udelhoven, M.Afr, who has just published an outstanding book of 453 pages on a very difficult but increasingly important subject in today’s life in Zambia. Themes such as spirits, devil, power, deliverance, prayer, ritual, witchcraft, Satanism, inculturation and the charismatic Church, are abundantly studied in the book. It is a masterpiece that every pastoral worker should read.

How to help people affected by witchcraft or demons. How to intervene when witchcraft accusations rip communities apart. How to help pupils who claim contact with occult forces. 

Bernhard Udelhoven 03Already available at the price of 100 Zambian Kwacha, the book will officially be launch at a later date which will be announced in due time. Please contact FENZA or the Office of the Secretariat of the Missionaries of Africa in Woodlands, Lusaka.

By Bernhard Udelhoven, M.Afr, FENZA Publication, Faith and Encounter Centre Zambia, Lusaka, 2015.

Click on the following picture to order the book on Internet. Then, simply click on “Add to Cart” and follow the normal procedure. Enjoy the reading.

Unseen Worlds pageSee also the following link:

Witchcraft or sorcery in the traditional African society – Malawi and Zambia

Serge-St-Arneault-2014By Serge St-Arneault, M.Afr

Witchcraft and sorcery are words impossible to define satisfactorily. Hundreds of books, thousands of articles, endless reports in newspapers make it challenging to streamline the topic.

In the traditional African perspective, the question of whether or not witchcraft exists is irrelevant. It is a ‘reality’ as much as the earth is moving around the sun. There is no need to believe in it. It is ‘there’ as an intrinsic part of a global worldview whereby a common vision is shared. In this vision, an ancestral spirit can reside in the body of a descendent and through the descendent perform powerful deeds.

Moreover, anything distracting from the bitterness and to the boring burden of daily life, from the anxiety of the unknown to uncontrolled changes, from deprivation to sickness or accident, from unfulfilled dreams to anger or resentment towards a neighbour or a family member, anything which is unusual, uncommon or simply inexplicable, all this is associated to witchcraft. The rationale is to know WHO among the living and the dead, meaning the ancestors, is responsible for the disorder or the pain inflicted. For instance, if a tyre bursts in a curve leading to a bridge provoking the accident of a mini-bus plummeting into the river and leading to the death of 20 people, the question remains; WHO sent a curse? Rationally, one can guess that the tyre was run out. Still, WHO made it burst at that specific place and time? Why not before or after the bridge? Therefore, someone is responsible for the accident to occur right ‘there’.

Anything related to witchcraft is primarily emotional. Witchcraft dies out like a plant without water if ignored. On the contrary, like an addiction, witchcraft rises or increases by itself when it starts nourishing lives through endless stories of flying planes baskets and flesh eaters. Actually, there is an appetite for witchcraft stories as much as of real food. There is an overall search, a social desire, a common will to eat endlessly in order to ease physical and emotional hungers.

In Malawi, food means ‘nsima’, which is the staple food made out of maize. Even though people are eating rice, sweet potatoes or beans, they will complain of hunger is there is no ‘nsima’ on the table. Similarly, desires are concomitant to witchcraft. Strange enough, it brings some kind of safety and safeguards. This is why children are being taught about witchcraft as a way to maintain a grip on the evolution of the society at a time of rapid changes imposed by modernity. Witchcraft is a way to regain or remain in control by using fear as a tool.

A lady who had a pretty nice house was accused of being a witch by her mother-in-law. She was also successful in business. Her children were doing well at school. As for the mother-in-law, she was living in a dilapidated house due to lack of maintenance. She was not able to move around easily, feeling neglected. Suddenly, the accusation brought some kind of life in this dull surrounding. Everyone was commenting with some laughter about this event. Then, the local chief intervened and asked the lady:

  • Witchcraft Carvings 00Do you agree to be a witch?
  • Of course, I do!

In the mind-set of the witnesses, this lady cannot deny to be a witch. She is so by simply being accused of being one. To deny it is a waste of time. How to prove the contrary anyway? Then, she took advantage of this accusation to overrun this critical moment for her benefit. 

  • I have learned to be a witch from a much stronger witch than me.
  • What! You mean that there is another witch in our village, said the chief.
  • Yes!
  • Where is the witch?
  • Right here among us.
  • How come? Who?
  • She is beside you; my mother-in-law!

Ironically, the accuser became herself a witch, something she could not deny either. This true story brought some entertainment for a little while. It gave also to the mother-in-law a chance to be remembered as being part of the community. Sociologically speaking, this event shows that those mutual accusations were a sign of a rupture or a blocking of personal relationship.

Nowadays, witchcraft has also become a way to take advantage of confusing reports and rumours. For instance, on July 02, 2014, in Zambia, Ndola residents rioted over ‘missing pupils’. Hundreds of citizens fought running battles with the police after word went round that 14 students from different schools were abducted by unknown people to be used in rituals (witchcraft). They burnt to aches four vehicles, set on fire the police posts and blocked the roads. Tear gas was dispersed but the residents were unruly and stoned the police. Then shops belonging to those suspected to be behind the ritual killings were damaged. “We have decided to take the law into our own hands, said a women, because the police have not done anything since we reported them about the killing of our children.”

Ritual murder rumours is enough to make people mad. It turns out to be an opportunity to revenge, to let the steam of anger out of the chess. Desperate people, having it hard to survive or move out from abject poverty, take advantage of this confusion to steal. At this level, witchcraft is being used to push down the personal responsibility of wrong doing by making the guilt collective.

Accusations of sorcery based on dreams are also an important channel to reveal the unconscious as a sort of safety device or as protection against some weakness of character in oneself. Like riots, dreams are being used to bring hostility between people to cover up feelings of helplessness. 

In this particular world view, everyone is a witch by using the ability to make others frightened. As everyone fells physically and emotionally hungry, witchcraft can easily be instrumental in fulfilling this hunger at the expense of others.

Nonetheless, despite the burden of cultural mind set whereby witchcraft is a profound ‘reality’, it is still possible to make it obsolete, or at least inoffensive, through the conviction that progress in life can be done without fearing anyone or anything, through honesty, hard work and faith in God. Witchcraft being a ‘reality’, the true question is rather more to choose the type of life people want to share; with or without anxiety. In this regard, the words of Jesus are quite relevant: “Do not be afraid!”… to ease broken relationship and to make dialogue part of reconciliation to counteract witchcraft. “All power has been given to me in heaven and on earth”, said again the Lord Jesus. The Christian who believes in that will never fall a prey to human forces, including sorcery or occult powers, for Christ has conquered them.

Witchcraft in GermanB

See the translation of this article in German on this PDF file.


Abigail Chaponda, Ndola residents riot over ‘missing pupils’, The Post, Zambia, Thursday July 3, 2014, page 4.

Mubanga Nondo, Ndola residents riot, Zambia Daily Mail, Zambia, Vol. 18, No 132, Thursday, July 3, 2014, front page.

Joseph Chakanza, Sorcery: Pastor Unresolved Issue, The Lamp Magazine, Malawi, No. 71, May-June 2008, pages 20-21.

Catholic Information Service for Africa (CISA), Ancestor Religion and the Christian Faith, Pastoral Statement of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Issue No. 742, Monday, August 14, 2006.

Input given by Bishop Patrick Kalilombe at the General meeting of the Missionaries of Africa. Theme: Pastoral care and witchcraft, Bethany House, Lilongwe, Malawi, 17th October 2006

DREAMS. Where do Biblical, Zambian, and Western Approaches Meet? First book published by FENZA (Faith and Encounter Centre Zambia), Lusaka. January 2013. With contributions from Gotthard Rosner, Bernard Udelhoven and Patrick Mumbi.

Lire la traduction de cet article en français sur fichier PDF.

The Fingers of Thomas in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia

Fingers of Thomas for Blog Oct 2014 22The Fingers of Thomas, a group linked to FENZA under the leadership of Fr. Bernhard Udelhoven are continuing their good work of enlightening Christian communities on the issue of witchcraft. Four of them – Philip Lupiah, Michael Chanda, Evarist Manya and Fr. Bernhard Udelhoven – accompanied by Fr. Romaric Bationo of FENZA, stepped away from their personal jobs and busy schedules, to facilitate two seminars in Chikowa and Lumimba parishes, Chipata diocese,  from the 1st to 11th October 2014. These seminars were the initiative of Fr. Bwezani Phiri, the Episcopal Vicar for the Luangwa Valley.
The first three-day seminar took place at Chikowa Parish from the 1st to the 4th of October. It attracted 51 church leaders from various outstations, the priests of the parish and 2 Comboni novices. In Lumimba Parish, it is 32 lay leaders with their 3 priests and the M.Afr Stagiaire who attended the workshop from 6th – 10th October.
The Fingers of Thomas: Fr. Bernhard Udelhoven, Evarist Manya, Michael Chanda, Philip Lupiah and John Zulu from Caritas Chipata were the featured presenters. The Fingers of Thomas expounded on the fundamental issues of witchcraft which are beliefs in evil spirits, magic, the reality of fear, the recourse to traditional medicine. Their presentations struck a chord with the participants, when the Fingers elucidated the realms of witchcraft; explained clearly that fear is at the core of black magic; unravelled some of the manipulatory tricks of witch-finders. John Zulu talked about the Witchcraft Act. Each day was well winded-up with a prayerful liturgy at night around the theme of the day.
Ultimately, the seminars stressed clearly that no matter the causes and forms of witchcraft, and amid its mysteries and disorders the power of God through Jesus Christ overcomes witchcraft. Christ is victorious and true faith in Him and being at the service of His Kingdom brings freedom, healing, justice, peace and reconciliation.
The issues tackled, the well-articulated presentations, the joy, the approbation and the gratefulness of the participants at the end of every seminar are a clear indication that the Fingers of Thomas are doing a remarkable and well appreciated work of JPIC-ED. Their next outreach will be in Mansa Diocese!
Reportage from Romaric Bationo, M.Afr

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