Chart of the week #12: Belief in witchcraft in Tanzania

How does belief in witchcraft in Tanzania compare with other countries?

Source: Pew Research Centre, data from 2010

Source: Pew Research Centre, data from 2010

Belief in all these things – witchcraft, curses, evil spirits, etc. – is not just stronger in Tanzania than in any of these other countries – it is much stronger in Tanzania:

Almost all Tanzanians (93%) believe in witchcraft, while less than half the population of Rwanda, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia share that belief. Even in Nigeria, belief is much lower than in Tanzania.

Some questions, to which I don’t have the answer:

First, why is this the case? Why are Tanzanians apparently much more likely to believe in the supernatural than their neighbours in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia?

Second, what are the implications? What effects does this near-universal belief in witchcraft have on life in Tanzania – on politics, on business, on health, on education, etc? I posted a chart on witchcraft-related killings in Tanzania last month, but that’s only part of the story.

Third, what can be done about it?

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The charts are produced using data from 2010 (pdf – see pages 178-182), collected by the US-based Pew Research Centre, as part of their Religion and Public Life Project.

Long-term readers may note that I’ve published this chart before, when the Pew survey originally came out. But it’s such a startling conclusion that I felt it justifies being repeated.

2 thoughts on “Chart of the week #12: Belief in witchcraft in Tanzania

  1. Pingback: Chart #37: Spiritual beliefs in sub-Saharan Africa – religion, superstition and attacks on people with albinism | mtega

  2. Sentient

    It’s a shame that people allow fear to rule them. I don’t know how they define “witchcraft” but it’s not all malicious.

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