Documentary on Child Witchcraft Confessions in South Africa

The Sowetan reports on a television documentary airing in South Africa about witchcraft accusations, entitled Troubled Souls and part of a strand called Special Assignment. According to the programme’s website:

Witchcraft accusations are still rife in South Africa, but something must be quite worrying when these are increasingly driven by the church.

A further blurb adds:

This week’s Special Assignment investigates two churches in Limpopo, which proudly claim that children can also be demon possessed and be used in witchcraft activities. In some instances, teenagers themselves do say that they used to fly on planes and go through windows as part of their witchcraft activities. How damaging can this be to children and are these churches a law unto themselves?

According to the Sowetan, the programme claims that certain churches are “widely distributing recorded confessions on witchcraft made by children.” In particular, the report mentions “the New Generation Church in Lenting village”, which

…provides shelter to adults and children, many of whom are ill.

The founder and leader of the church, Pastor Bertha Mphahlele, says she wants to deliver people, including children, who are bound by evil spirits.

The church has a basic website here; although it mentions “evil spirits” and “deliverance”, the emphasis appears to be on practical assistance, and there is no mention of witches. The pastor – also known as “Pastor M.B. Mphahlele” – does not appear to have links with any other church.

Confessions of witchcraft by children are considered in the recent UNICEF report which I blogged on yesterday; in 2008 I blogged on a Presbyterian pastor in Cameroon who gets teenage girls to confess to causing disasters through witchcraft, and I noted a case from Nigeria last year.

(Hat tip: Bulldada Newsblog)