Digital advertising is one of the things that American marketing whiz and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk is obsessed about.
The first thing that came to mind when I came upon some odd advertising running on Facebook was Gary’s advise.
Posters of witch doctors are frequently seen on walls and electric poles that are rarely manned.
But I doubt any of you have ever realized that one day as you go through your social media timeline, among the users you are conversing with are witch doctors, or waganga as they are known in Kiswahili.
However, let me warn you, Maina, Achieng’, Wafula, or whoever your good name is, that things are escalating rapidly.
Even though witchcraft is frequently connected to conventional beliefs, waganga are adopting technology.
They prowl online using bizarre aliases like Daktari Magere (this is a name concocted by this writer). These folks utilize aliases, which is no secret.
Some have been using images of well-known Kenyans, including politicians and businessmen, to lure unwary and desperate citizens.
To demonstrate the legitimacy of their services, some are even posting videos that have been featured in the news media.
Even digital waganga are promising to solve difficult issues like low libido, finding missing objects, assisting someone in finding employment, and treating mental diseases, just like in the poster we see everywhere.
Some people are willing to spend extra money to run sponsored ads on Facebook or Twitter in order to reach more people.
It’s interesting to note that Kenyans frequently inquire about prices in the comments area.
Kenya has a Witchcraft Act CAP 67 which interdicts witchcraft.
The Act marks out a witch doctor as someone who sparks fear, injury to another in mind, person, or property, or who pretends to exercise any kind of supernatural power.
If one is found guilty of witchcraft, he or she is liable to a fine or a short imprisonment. Members of the public are not allowed to take the law into their own hands when they suspect someone is using sorcery. Kisii has been notorious for the lynching of people thought to be engaging in witchcraft.
However, witchcraft in Kenya is often tolerated due to its convoluted nature which makes it difficult for authorities to apprehend the suspects.