Lesson 6) Africa –The Here and Now

It’s good to see you aren’t straggling in here after midterms. What have you all thought so far? If you thought they were difficult, keep in mind that O.W.L.s are scheduled for the end of the year and will be much more time intensive than the midterm you have just taken. However, I am very pleased to say that I was impressed with the work you put forward on your midterms. The information will continue piling up as we continue through this year, leading me to today’s topic: Modern Africa! We’ll be looking into the city of Ouagadougou in more detail, focusing specifically on Yalgado Ouedraogo, the hospital housed within the city limits, the culture of the city, and their art.

Yalgado Ouedraogo

Looking back on what we have learned so far, you should remember that Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso and the oldest wizarding community in Africa, made up of 15 different wizarding villages both inside and outside the city.  One wizarding village, in particular, is Mbikola, a wizarding village found within the city limits that was also placed very near to one specific hospital, Yalgado Ouedraogo. This may seem of no consequence to you if the hospital is purely for the Muggles living in the city, but it is not! Yalgado Ouedraogo is a hospital that provides services to both magical persons and Muggles, though it did not begin this way. 

Before the beginning of the slave trade, the people of Ouagadougou would go to the healers of the city, often those from the Mbikola tribes who excelled in herbology, potions, and charms.  However, come 1647, the year in which Fikka was attacked, magical people began to hide their abilities, providing services to those they knew they could trust. This change signaled the beginning of the separation between the magical and Muggle world of medicine, which grew even larger when the International Statute of Secrecy was put into effect.  In 1983, the Nkirika family, an upstanding medical family in both the magical and Muggle worlds, decided to create the first hospital in Ouagadougou, having completed their degrees earlier at the International School of Ouagadougou.  At first, the hospital was extremely small, consisting of only one level, offering the most basic services to the people of this city. However, as the population began to grow, the Mbikolans felt it was their duty to provide assistance to those in need of help.  In an attempt to rejoin the Muggle world, many went on to study at Muggle universities within Ouagadougou, and others throughout the country, to earn their degrees in medicine and work at Yalgado Ouedraogo.  By 1989, just six years later, Yalgado Ouedraogo became one of the most successful hospitals in West Africa, treating approximately 1.35 million Muggle patients per year.

It wasn’t until after a series of Muggle deaths that the Burkinabe Ministry of Magic began to lash back at the Mbikolans for putting wizarding society in danger.  Now, you may be wondering why dying Muggles leads the Ministry to be worried about protecting the wizarding world.  In most cases, there would be no consequences, however, the Muggle examiners who wrote reports on the patient's deaths came across unusually high records of blood cells within the bodies, which caused an abnormal increase in artery sizes, eventually causing the patient's blood vessels to burst. At first, the Muggle doctors believed it to be abnormal, but when the same diagnosis was made for 20 victims, the Burkinabe Ministry became suspicious and involved themselves. It was later discovered that a magical nurse was mixing Blood-Replenishing Potions with the painkillers they were giving the patients in an effort to speed up the process of healing. She was swiftly removed from her post, but not before the damage was done. After this unfortunate incident, the Yalgado Ouedraogo Magical Ward was created, where magical medical practitioners would be able to assist their fellow witches and wizards without placing their Muggle counterparts at risk.How are we able to have both a magical and Muggle hospital in such close proximity to one another? I have asked Armina Brigham, former Charms professor and assistant to Mr. Ollivander himself, to join us in our class today to explain to you how this is possible. Please, give her your full attention!

Hello students! I am so thrilled to be here today! My name is Armina Brigham and I am currently working alongside the one and only Ollivander. Prior to that, however, I worked here with students at Hogwarts. Suffice it to say, I have a bit of background knowledge to share with you. Your professor has kindly asked me to let you all in on some of the charming secrets of the wondrous Yalgado Ouedraogo. As your professor has stated, Yalgado Ouedraogo is a hospital that serves not only Muggles but also the magical community in the area. This duality presented quite the challenge for the magical creators of Yalgado Ouedraogo! I’m sure you discussed that Britain’s own St. Mungo’s is hidden from Muggles in Charms this year, but Yalgado Ouedraogo presented a more unique challenge - hiding a wing of a building, but not the entire building.

The magical wing of Yalgado Ouedraogo can be accessed easily enough by those with magic, by walking down a hallway and entering a doorway! However, if a Muggle tries to walk towards this door, they will become confused and forget what they were doing. Sound familiar? This is a textbook example of the Muggle-Repelling Charm! This charm is utilized in order to keep Muggles from wandering down this corridor in the first place. However, the Hidden Homes Charm is also used to make this hallway appear as any other. Anyone looking down this hallway will see just another nondescript hospital hallway with a door at the end. Only witches and wizards can see the wand, mortar, and pestle that make up Yalgado Ouedraogo’s Magical Ward’s insignia. For those Muggles that may not be fooled by the Muggle-Repelling Charm, the door is, of course, locked! This will keep out all but the most determined Muggle. A magical guard always stands post as well in order to send these determined Muggles another direction with a Confundus Charm.

Naturally, those who work and live in this wing of the hospital do make noise. A complex variation of Muffliato is used in order to ensure that any sounds created in this wing are not heard by those not in it. This charm ensures that shouts and other noises do not travel along air ducts or through walls and alarm the Muggles that work in Yalgado Ouedraogo. A few witches and wizards on the Muggle staff at Yalgado Ouedraogo are quick to dispel any stray noises as ravings from the psychiatric ward of course, but prevention is always the best policy

Of course suspicions do arise amongst the Muggles on the Board of Directors of Yalgado Ouedraogo as to why an entire wing of the hospital remains unused. In order to keep their secret, at least one member of the Board of Directors is a witch or a wizard tasked with keeping the magical wing of Yalgado Ouedraogo undiscovered. A team of well trained charm’s experts are also kept on staff in order to maintain the charms used to keep this wing hidden. They walk the perimeter of the magical wing daily in order to patch any holes in the charms as well as beef them up when they are wearing thin. 

Thank you, Ms. Brigham, for taking time out of your day to join us! It was certainly enlightening, wasn’t it class? If you wish to learn more about protective enchantments, I highly suggest you study Charms, if you aren’t doing so already.  Now, Ms. Brigham mentioned the Board of Directors who take care of the specifics of running the hospital.  There is not a separate board for the magical ward in Yalgado Ouedraogo. Rather, they are regulated by the Tibu Division in the Burkinabe Ministry of Magic, which also regulates other smaller magical healing practices.  I won’t go too far into detail regarding this department as we will cover the Burkinabe Ministry of Magic in much greater detail next lesson.

Culture of Ouagadougou

 We are going to move on and cover some of the rich culture surrounding our beloved magical city. Ouagadougou has a rich history in music, the arts, literature, but more so than anything else, the cinema! Having heavily promoted theatrical performances before such technology was created, Ouagadougou was one of the few cities within West Africa that took this idea and ran with it. Now, it is supported by a number of organizations and festivals are held annually to show continued love for this particular art.  One such festival is the Pan African Film Festival, which began in 1965.  On average, this festival attracts 5,000 participants and over 200,000 viewers each year.  While people may be under the impression that the competition is fair, this isn’t entirely true. Near the beginning of the Pan African Film Festival, witches and wizards entered in their own creations, using a number of powerful spells off-camera to create special effects that Muggles could hardly begin to fathom how to accomplish.  This practice continued to occur until 1970, when the different wizarding communities agreed to let the Muggles have their fun and began a competition between each wizarding village.  This magical competition, known as the Magical Cinematic Wars, is still going on today and is quite exciting to be a part of! Although smaller and only advertised to the wizarding world, the MCW attracts nearly 20,000 viewers each year, as the effects are astounding.  Should you ever have the opportunity to go, I would highly recommend it!

I mentioned earlier that the beginnings of cinematic history came from the Burkinabe people’s fascination with all things theater. There are a number of theatrical performances held all throughout Burkina Faso, though perhaps the most important is the Atypical Nights of Koudougou, a theater festival held in Ouagadougou. While perhaps not as well attended as the film festival, well over 130,000 individuals both partake and attend this three-day event, which includes a number of performances surrounding African lore, religious mythology, and the history of the city itself.  As expected, wizarding folks were difficult to keep from these celebrations and often participated in the performances themselves.  A select group of individuals from the Goyi, Selogo, and Dorou villages (all found on the outskirts of Ouagadougou) would disguise themselves and join the massive number of entertainers entering the city.  Their most famous play, Doctors of Wood, is performed every year, usually with minor changes, for audiences of thousands. It features a story similar to that of our modern day Pinocchio, except the doctor himself, is a wooden man, who has disguised himself using magic to help the city in need. Including humor, a few medical emergencies, often caused by a misuse of magical ingredients (not that the Muggles would know), and a very sad ending in which the doctor is accused of witchcraft and executed, this play is known in the wizarding world for its excellent use of magic. One of the prime examples is when witches and wizards alter the wooden man so that he feels and looks as though he is a normal human being.  It is not until the end that the audience comes to realize he was wooden all along. Muggles have questioned the actors of this play in regards to how they made it seem so realistic, but we always keep quiet, claiming that a magician should never reveal his secrets.

Acting, in its various forms, may be a favorite amongst the Burkinabe people, but yet another craft has found its way into their hearts over thousands of years.  Focusing primarily in handcrafting, the people of Ouagadougou are known for their wood sculptures, basketworks, hand-dyed fabrics, lost wax casting, and pottery. Any of these sound unfamiliar? You may not have heard about lost wax casting, so I will take a moment to explain it. This is a process in which you shape a particular object you wish to create out of wax and cast it in metal, which melts away the wax. Hence the idea of “losing” the wax because it is melted away by the hot metal and leaves you with your desired shape. Now, you’ll find that many of the masks worn during theatrical performances are hand-made as are many of the sets and other props required. Known as being a city of many religions, it should not come as a surprise that many religious figurines of gods and goddesses are also crafted by those living within the city.  You may be wondering whether such a large population of art smith's creates a large and chaotic marketplace during the year. You would not be wrong, as Ouagadougou has one of the largest and most vibrant marketplaces today. However, every two years a showroom for the production of all hand-made goods is created, known as the International Arts and Crafts Fair, hosted by Ouagadougou. A two-week-long project, artists from all over the world attend and a school of art is even set up by the city to introduce aspiring artists to the finest craftsmen who attend. 

I can tell that I have run out of time by your continual glances at the clock on the wall, so I will wrap things up for today. Keep in mind that I have only covered one city in Africa, there are thousands of others for you to explore in your free time! You will only have a quiz about the lesson presented, but remember to continue studying for your OWL exams. They are sneaking up on us faster than you may expect!

Original lesson written by Professor Samuel Becker
Guest lecture by Professor Armina Brigham
Image credits here, here, and here


Join us as we continue our journey, exploring the various magical histories and cultures across the world! In Year Five of History of Magic, we will dive into the rich magical culture of Africa, most of which has been kept secret for many years. We will be exploring the Ancient Kingdoms, Wizarding Communities, learn about the horrors of the African slave trade in addition to the schools and government of Africa. I look forward to traveling alongside you this term!
Course Prerequisites:
  • HOM-401

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