In the Rhodesian town of Gwelo, witchdoctors from several African Countries have been holding a convention to demonstrate their powers.
GV Witchdoctor and others dancing
SV Woman goes into trance
CU Sign Mozambique delegation
SV Sign Zambia delegation with witchdoctor in background
SV &CU Witchdoctors from Central Africa (2 shots)
SV Witchdoctors with tools of their trade (2 shots)
SV Lady witchdoctor goes into trance and crawls along ground (2 shots)
CU Founder/president and lady witchdoctor treating European woman for kidney disease, putting her into trance (2 shots)
CU Baby on mother's back
SV European woman saying she's been cured and overcome with emotion
SMITH: "The wizard of the football pitch soon took on a new meaning as the convention got under way. Those present were first-division witch-doctors, sent on to represent their tribes, so old that even the artificial barriers of contemporary politics like war and natural boundaries ??? keep them out. There were withchdoctors from Mozambique, they sent a very strong team, and from Zambia, both of them frontline states sending guerrillas over the frontier into Rhodesia all the time. So how did these witchdoctors get in? No one knows and they wouldn't say. The chief lady witchdoctor -- she was the convention's chairperson -- started things off with a very strong virtuoso performance. And then in what can only be described as an inspired move she took off on a diagonal run towards the left wing. At this stage the whole team, forwards, backs and press set off in pursuit. Hardly a ladylike way for the chief lady witchdoctor to be halted. It was rather outside the original rules but maybe Eddie Waring at any rate would have approved. The whole point of the convention, though, was utterly serious. Witchdoctors believe that they're really entitled to much more attention than they get. They want the World Health Organisation, for example, to recognise their art and take some of them to Geneva to study their methods. What they say is that people aren't really ill; just possessed by spirits. With the right herbs, particularly by using a potion based on the herb wintergreen, evil spirits can be exorcised. There was one white European woman who obviously sympathised with that. She said that she'd got an incurable kidney disease and was in considerable pain. She wouldn't have an operations because she didn't believe in operations. So she'd come to see what the chief lady witchdoctor could do. Well, she felt around for a bit, and then called in the president and founder of the Central African branch, and he checked her out as well. Then the process began. It might seem mumbo jumbo to anyone else, but to the witch
doctors it's certainly serious. Then to everyone's amazement as the clouds parted, and the sun shone through, up she got, cured. Next week's football match will have to be very good indeed to beat that. Ian Smith, BBC, Gwelo."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In the Rhodesian town of Gwelo, witchdoctors from several African Countries have been holding a convention to demonstrate their powers. They're demanding more recognition from the world's health authorities -- and on Saturday (24 September) they backed their argument with a dramatic display when a European woman who said she had an incurable kidney disease appeared to be healed. The BBC's Ian smith reports from Gwelo.