Lesson 4) Wizarding Communities in Africa
Hello everyone! For those of you who have been counting, halfway through today's lesson marks the halfway point of the year. That’s got to be at least a little exciting! No? Alright, well I suppose I’ll move on. Before we begin to immerse ourselves into some amazing magical cultures, I want to remind you that your midterm is coming up next week! For those of you who believe you don’t need to study, you do. This is not meant to be easy. It will require you to think critically and provide answers based on facts and opinions. I believe I’ve given you enough to stew over, so let’s move on to the material.
Wizarding Villages and Wizarding Communities
Before beginning our discussion on the different communities and magical cities in Africa, I think it is important to establish what exactly the difference is between a wizarding village and a wizarding (or magical) community. If you remember back to Second Year, we discussed quite a few British wizarding villages and how they were created. I’ll leave you to review those details if you don’t remember. However, you should remember because we have already started studying for the O.W.L. exam, yes?
Wizarding villages are places that have allowed witches and wizards to live in secret after the International Statute of Secrecy was put into place in 1689. These villages were intended to be a place where witches and wizards could live in peace and not disturb the non-magical world surrounding them, but this was not always the case. Wizarding communities, on the other hand, are groups of multiple wizarding villages in a general region. There are a couple of ways this can occur. For example, you will have heard me talk about “the magical community" as a whole many times. By this, I mean all magical people around the world, but this can be further broken up into smaller communities that have things in common. Take the British wizarding community (which is made up of any wizarding villages across the British Isles), we share the same school, a similar government, and similar traditions. The same rules can be applied to all sorts of areas around the world. But there’s a more specific example as well. This can also refer to a group of magical people that all live in close proximity to one another. For example, there may be a city that has two wizarding villages, one in the city and one on the outskirts, but they are a part of one wizarding community. It would be like if some of the various cities and areas within London were magical, such as if Greater London (in the center)was an official wizarding village and Havering (a borough on the eastern fringe) was also an official magical village. As they are both part of London as a whole, it would be natural to refer to them together as “the wizarding community of London.” Thus, unlike with wizarding villages, there is no percentage or hard and fast rule as to how many individual wizarding villages must be present in an area for it to be deemed a “wizarding community.” Though, I suppose, logically speaking there must at least be more than one!
Now, this does not mean that these communities are entirely magical! Obviously, neither the whole of London is magical, nor the entire British Isles! The same is true in Africa. Many wizarding communities were actually locations where Muggles and those from the wizarding world lived alongside one another. Keep in mind that I am giving you an overview of just a few wizarding communities in Africa since we do not have time to cover them all.
Bohicon, one of the 77 communes (large districts or areas) of the country Benin, is a wizarding community composed of both the Muggle and wizarding citizens. This particular community houses two wizarding villages, the least of any other community in Africa.
Aboikouma was the first wizarding village founded in Bohicon, Benin. Like many other wizarding villages in this region, Aboikouma came about during the split that occurred between the Muggle and wizarding worlds following the Kingdom of Benin’s civil war. At this time, Benin was still under the rule of a monarch, but the people longed to be free. Despite the wishes of the Muggles, the witches and wizards of this country did not feel the same. They were not being persecuted at the moment and found it significantly easier to blend into a big country ruled by one individual than many provinces. However, their voices were not heard and many Muggles began to turn their backs on our kind, calling them traitors, and challengers to change. This violence took many forms including arson, beatings, and murders. Luckily for many witches and wizards, they had ways to protect themselves such as using the Flame Freezing Charm, which allowed the families to quickly put out flames without fearing harm. Other useful spells included the Knockback Jinx and Leg-Locker Curse, which allowed witches and wizards to remove themselves from situations without terribly injuring the Muggles.
Aboik was a young wizard who was very vocal about his opinions on the matter of the civil war in Benin, calling for peace and collaboration. Despite his pleas, the violence continued and took the life of his youngest son. Aboik began to see a real danger for the wizarding world and gathered many of his friends and family to move to an unpopulated region in Benin, which later became known as Bohicon when the civil war ended.
Not everyone followed in Aboik’s footsteps. Some witches and wizards believed they could show the people that they could achieve peace with the ruler of Benin. Led by an older wizard, Kabva Lytich, a group of magical families attempted to live peacefully within the region, but the wars only grew worse and so they settled in Bohicon as well, in a new village named Fikka. If you visit Bohicon now, the two villages interact well with one another. Many historians consider them to be one large wizarding village within Bohicon, but due to the origins of each village, they are kept separate in records. After the instillation of the Statute of Secrecy, witches and wizards put up a number of protection charms around their villages to hide the magical occurrences of their villages, but continued to make their living by participating in the trade that now flows through Bohicon, the trading capital of Benin.
The oldest wizarding community in Africa is also the capital of Burkino Faso, another African country. It was built by Oubri, the son of Wendraogo, and was the capital of the Mossi Kingdoms, which you should already be familiar with. To give you a bit more background about this city’s origin, Ouagadougou was built using magical foundations. How do we know this? If you ever do travel to this spectacular capital, you will find that many of the buildings in the inner city are extremely old, dating back to its founding. Magical historians have analyzed the buildings themselves and found evidence of charms around the base of most inner city structures. From what we know, it seems to be that script-based magic was carved into the stones of the foundations and then made to surround the building. Most of the wards are still intact and can only be broken by damaging the stones. We’ll talk about how this helps hide the Burkinabe Ministry of Magic in a later lesson.
Back to the topic of wizarding villages, Ouagadougou has a total of 15 wizarding villages within the city and in surrounding areas. Only seven are actually located within the city and the other eight are outside of the city limits. I won’t be going into detail for all 15, as that would take ages, but I will take the time to mention two: one inside, and one outside the city. Mbikola, founded in 1346, is found within the city, extremely close to one of the two hospitals in the city: Yalgado Ouedraogo. Why is this important? The people living in the Mbikola villages prefer to study healing, perfecting their skills in potions, herbology, and charms.
The wizarding villages found on the outskirts of the city were not established until 1945 when word of the First Wizarding War reached the ears of the Burkinabe Ministry of Magic. The war seemed to limit itself to the British Ministry of Magic and the corresponding geographical areas, but that did not mean it would not cross international borders. They began preparations, sending 14 aurors and their families to the outskirts of Ouagadougou to raise up barriers that would protect the city from magical attacks. Lydath Dwarthi and her husband, Nenhu, were the leaders of this movement and led the aurors out to secure the city. In order to maintain and repair the wards when necessary, the 14 families split up and each pair of two created a dwelling along the outskirts of the city. Over the years, these have become fully inhabited wizarding villages, full of skilled witches and wizards, many who specialize in charms, defense against the Dark Arts, and transfiguration, among other subjects. The wizarding village of Chindiza was the one founded by Lydath and Nenhu along with the other villages; Beikory, Oudanot, Cangamsongo, Siadu, Dizarne, Tchima, and Katadiza. Chindiza is located a few blocks from the entrance to Ouagadougou and is considered the leading wizarding village in the protection of the city.
Found in western Ethiopia, Gimbi was created only recently and is considered the youngest of all African wizarding communities. Formed in 1895, Gimbi was originally composed of four wizarding villages after the Ethiopian Orthodox Church began spreading its ideals, creating a very dangerous environment for the wizardkind. While the persecutions were not as brutal as those found in Europe, a period in Ethiopian magical history known as the Black Shadow’s Reign began in the region. There is a significant lack of proof in determining exactly who the Black Shadow was, but many witches and wizards died at the hands of this mysterious individual. In Europe, magical folk were able to use a number of spells to keep themselves safe, but the same could not be said for those living in Gimbi. Families of witches and wizards were found slaughtered in their homes with a signature left behind, all of the wands would be pointing upwards out of the hearts of his victims. Based on this evidence, magical historians assume that the Black Shadow may have been a rogue witch or wizard who hid his abilities and went to work for the church.
I’m sure you can imagine the panic that set in among the people living in Gimbi at the time. The remaining wizarding families split up, believing it may keep them safer and formed four wizarding communities on opposite ends of the town. The first, Nazwari was settled in southern Gimbi, Sitotaw was found in eastern Gimbi, Iskinder in northern Gimbi, and finally Gizaw in western Gimbi. The wizarding villages endured peace for seven years, but unfortunately, not all of the wizarding villages survived the second Black Shadow Reign. In 1904, the killing began again, but they were focused in Sitotaw. The village was not able to survive and was completely wiped out. Oddly enough, the other villages were left alone. Magical historians are unsure why this occurred. Some claim that the second Black Shadow was merely a Muggle who interacted with a traitor in the village, but others claim that perhaps the Black Shadow believed that there was only one wizarding village. We still do not know, but historians have been watching carefully for journals or any type of written documentation that may support or disprove their theories.
Located in Tanzania with a name that translates literally to “throw away your witchcraft”, Sumbawanga is a primarily Muggle community with three wizarding villages found surrounding the back end of the village, considered by the Muggles in the community to be the slums. The villages of Kitwana, Busar, and Kereenyaga are all considered to be the poorest of all African wizarding villages. Having picked a small town, known for its abhorrence toward magic, these wizarding villages have not encountered many trials over their existence.
Despite the slum-like look of the wizarding villages, a hoax played upon the Muggles thanks to a number of protective enchantments, the wizarding villages of Sumbawanga actually contain a number of unofficial magical schools for children. Kitwana contains the Elea School of Scholars, a place for older witches and wizards to attend and focus on research for the magical community. It also houses one of the largest magical libraries in Ethiopia and 24 laboratories, each focusing on a specific practical application of magic. Busar is known for their magical school for the impaired, Rashid. For witches and wizards with disabilities, it is to this small school that parents may send their children to receive an adapted education in the art of magic. Finally, there is Farijika in Kereenyaga, which is a school that focuses upon the divinatory practices of magic. We will talk more about these specific schools in a later lesson.
Found in the central African country of Togo, Tchamba was originally inhabited by the Dagomba and Kokomba tribes. In 1634, a tribal war broke out among the two because the Dagomba believed they ought to be the rulers of Tchamba since they were closely related with the Mossi Empire who had taken over much of northern Ghana at the time, but the Kokomba tribes disagreed, claiming that they had just as much right to the land. This led to a war between the two tribes and between witches and wizards from each particular village. However, after the slaughter of over 20 magical persons on both sides, a peacemaker was chosen from each of the wizarding villages founded within each tribe. Edem Bargotash was the peacemaker chosen by the Dagomba tribe and Elias Kikoth was chosen from the Kokomba tribe. These two men met at a secret time and allegedly a secret and sacred place -- one that we do not have any proof of -- and came to an agreement that each group of wizards would form wizarding villages outside of the city and hide themselves from the Muggles to avoid the continuous warfare.
It was from this agreement that four wizarding villages were formed, however, as the population has grown there are now ten official wizarding villages, five of whom agree with the Dagomba way of life, and the other five who prefer Kokomba’s traditions. Imamwa, Samgbe, Atarrawei, and Ninche have continued the ritualistic and magical lifestyle of the Dagomba while Congoro, Lari, Dopo, Nantoh, and Kumateh have remained closely aligned with the Kokomba’s lifestyle.
That should be enough information for one lesson! As you can see, some of these wizarding communities formed from the ancient African kingdoms, and others rose about due to conflicts within their specific countries and even towns. If nothing else, this lesson should give you a short look into some of the violence that wizardkind has had to endure throughout African history. It did not end, however, with the creation of wizarding villages. Next lesson, we will be discussing the African slave trade, and more specifically, how witches and wizards were affected.
As for this week, you have a short quiz since I would like to give you adequate time to study for the midterm. Again, study well, it won’t be easy. Until then!
Continent: The entirety of Africa
Country: An area of land controlled by it’s own government.
- Examples: The country of Uganda, or the country of Benin
Commune: A group of people who live together in the smallest division of a country’s government, divided for administrative purposes.
- The country of Benin is was split into 77 sections after being conquered by the French. Each division is known as a commune.
Wizarding Village: A group of magical folk who live together in the same, village, town, or district
Wizarding Community: An area consisting of multiple wizarding villages within close proximity to one another, or those of a who all share many similarities.