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English B HL Min Joo KANG <The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind> Identify a specific issue of relevance to the Option topic: Customs and traditions. Why do you think this issue is relevant to this topic? What does it imply about William's experiences? What do we learn about life in Malawi/Africa from this issue? What implications does this issue have on the way we view cultures other than our own?

Issue: Belief in witchcraft I think the issue 'belief in witchcraft' is relevant to the topic of customs and traditions as it is frequently mentioned in the story. The belief is deeply rooted in Malawi people passed down from generation to generation, and it prominently affects the culture. Such fear of curses and superstitions so-called 'magic' prevails the technological progress. Sing'anga, the witch doctor, possess prodigious power and authority that sways the belief of Malawians. For example, when the trader found out that his bagful of bubble gums went missing, he spreads a chilling threat â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 'I've gone to see the Sing'anga, and whoever ate that gum will soon be sorry'. William is horrified about the curse and despairingly admits to his dad about eating the stolen gum and the upcoming punishment by Sing'anga. Such belief in 'magic' has led Malawians to address all mysteries as magic that cannot be explained, hindering the technological approach. It is also evident in one of the folktales about Chief Mwase, which explains him as a magic hunter, who defeats the frightening black rhino and the Ngoni people. Furthermore, in pg9-10, William's grandpa alerts the witch doctor first about the man bitten by a cobra. William is told and believes that the wizard drinks a magic porridge and revive the life of the death body. Moreover, the leader of hunters was not allowed to sleep with his wife on the night before the hunt, to prevent 'bewitching' due to loss of focus. They also drank a pot of red maize with roots and medicines on the day of hunting, to protect them from danger. The wives of the hunters were to stay indoors until the hunt was over, to make the animals sleep well. Gule Wamkulu, a secret gang of dancers, were said to be the spirits of dead ancestors, who were no longer human. They did their performance at the funerals and initiation ceremonies. Like this, the fear about the witchcraft and such belief are prevalent in Malawi culture, and many things about life in Malawi can be learnt in this context. The belief in witchcraft is also known to be pervasive in other African countries, especially now in Nigeria, where many young children are accused to the act of witchcraft and are executed. The culture greatly differs from the modern Western/Asian culture. However, such belief in 'witchcraft' was controversial during the 1800's in the US, as clearly portrayed in the other novel, <The Crucible>. The belief was no longer pervasive as the innovative technology was introduced. In this context, it is understandable that the prior reason to the persisting fear of witchcraft and strong superstitions is the underdevelopment of modern technologies. As a person who is engaged in many science activities and thoughts, the text came to me quite bizarre and unfathomable. We are strongly affected by our own cultural backgrounds, and it strongly relates to how we view cultures other than our own. We subconsciously place biased thoughts based on traditions and beliefs as we view through the different cultures.


The boy who harnessed the wind