Among the Oroko ethnic community in Cameroon traditional belief holds that swine mystically inhabit the bodies of some women, who are capable of witchcraft and morph into swine at night. When these women become pregnant, they give birth to baby swine in the bushes and risk losing their lives if they try to deliver their babies in the real world.
Women who die during childbirth are often shunned in Cameroon and not given a proper burial. Oroko community leaders defend their tradition of ascribing witchcraft to women who die in childbirth.
Benjamin Mbando, 65, the chief of the Oroko community in Bai Kuke, said tradition was part and parcel of a people and they must practice it in order to ensure continuity.
“It is very true that most women who die while giving birth have witchcraft. Swine is a common witchcraft practice among the women of Oroko origin.”
Mbando added that while outsiders might not understand the practice, they must respect the community’s traditions.
Health professionals blame poverty not witchcraft for deaths during childbirth.