Saturday, June 15, 2013

What is Juju?


What is Juju?

Recently I was asked if juju and voodoo were the same thing so I decided to write this article on juju to specify and describe the meaning of juju according to the Africans or the African culture. First of all Juju or ju ju is a west African word that was initially used by Europeans to describe foolish or carless people also known as “Pumba” in Swahili. But today, mostly in West African the word juju also means black magic and witchcraft. Juju is a black magic act performed or prepared by native doctors, witch doctors or herbalists. Juju is popular in places like Nigeria and it is regarded as the power of the African fore fathers and the ancient African gods and goddesses.

Juju can also be describes as spells and charms that are prepared by mostly witch doctors for different purposes or situations. In Nigeria, many people that still believe in the ancient powers always go to some shrines or juju houses where these witch doctors reside to get spells or charms for different purposes like luck charms, love charms, wealth charms and even destructive charms for ones enemies. The practices of juju travelled to America through slavery or the time of slavery. Juju has continuously been proven highly effective in the African culture and traditions. For example whenever there is a type of big event or ceremony in most places in Nigeria in particular, a “rain chaser” is always called and paid to constantly chase or move the rain out of the premises where the ceremony or occasion is being held. These rain makers or rain chasers use juju to perform these tasks. I myself have witnessed this chasing of the rain before in an event in Nigeria.

Mainly during the rainy seasons in Nigeria, these rain chasers make a lot of money by using juju to manipulate the direction of the rain in a particular area. People hire these rain chasers to chase rain so that it won’t disturb or spoil their occasions or ceremonies. They basically set up a small burning fire that they add different types of herbs and concoctions as the passionately chant some power words to the flames. The juju system might seem primitive but highly effective in most cases but not in all cases. Some people bury charms or spell in other people’s farms and compounds in order to influence or control them in a negative or positive way depending on the intentions of the juju carrier or preparer.

Also, like anything else that has a good and bad there is also good juju and bad juju. The true definition of good and bad juju depends on the individual or the community or culture. In some places good juju can mean good luck and bad juju can mean bad luck. In some areas good juju can mean that a juju that is used for good like healing, giving and est. while bad juju is a juju that is used to harm or hurt a person or group of people for any reason whatsoever. Voodoo is more like a traditional ancient African religion or an African cultural belief while juju is mainly spells or witchcraft. In Nigeria, strong potent juju concoctions are mainly found in Benin City, but juju is practiced everywhere in Nigeria especially in villages and local communities.

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