Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Swaziland Regulates Flying Witches

The regulation of magical practices is not uncommon in parts of Africa and Asia. Recently a Civil Aviation Authority official in Swaziland confirmed that witches riding broomsticks are prohibited by law from flying any higher than 150 meters. The law was put into place to protect the country's airspace and is not unlike laws in the United States that limit ultralight flights to 500 feet, only slightly higher than the Swaziland law specifies.

Witches’ broomsticks are considered similar to any heavier-than-air transportation device that is airborne, reports The Star. “A witch on a broomstick should not fly above the [150-metre] limit,” Civil Aviation Authority marketing and corporate affairs director Sabelo Dlamini told the newspaper. No penalties exist for witches flying below 150 metres.

The report said it was hard to say how serious he was, but witchcraft isn’t a joking matter in Swaziland, where the people believe in it. The statute also forbids toy helicopters and children’s kites from ascending too high into the country’s airspace.

Like all witches that are currently believed to exist in the real world (as opposed to those found in Hollywood movies and Halloween-based tourist attractions), Swaziland's witches are not reputed to fly through the air on broomsticks. So it may be that Dlamini was kidding around or using an outrageous example to illustrate the law. However, this strikes me as a rather dangerous statement to make in country where people are still killed by angry mobs for allegedly practicing witchcraft.

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