Broomstick-flying witches to be brought down in Swaziland


Witches flying broomsticks in Swaziland above 150 metres will be subject to arrest and a hefty fine of R500 000, civil aviation authorities said, according to a report.

Witches’ broomsticks are considered similar to any heavier-than-air transportation device that is airborne, says 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 said to the newspaper yesterday.

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.

Written By: Times Live
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  1. A Google search suggests that these comments were said tongue-in-cheek. Still, humor often conceals a kernel of truth and the truth inside this one is that the idea of witches is taken very seriously by many in Swaziland. It remains to be seen how many arrests are made or how much money the Civil Aviation Authority raise from fines of witches flying anywhere — let alone over 150m.

    Separately, as a director of marketing, Dlamini seems to have done a good job of creating a storm in a witch’s brew about a country many people wouldn’t identify on a map.

  2. In reply to #3 by IDLERACER:

    So I guess it’s safe to assume that quidditch tournaments are out of the question.

    I think indoor tournaments are okay, as long as the building isn’t taller than 150 metres… 😉

    I wonder how popular the Harry Potter books are in Swaziland… Are they sold in the ‘Paranormal & Witchcraft’ section of Waterstones?

  3. I am reminded of the series of UFO “sightings” (ahem…) in the 1950s. The growers of Chateauneuf du Pape, which has one of the oldest Appellation Controlee laws in France, promptly amended their laws to ban UFOs from landing on or flying over their vines.

    And in fairness, who is to say the law (still in force) has not worked as intended?

    California wine growers Bonny Doon have made a Chateauneuf-inspired red wine named Cigare Volant (flying cigar) as an homage to this little saga…

    More here:

  4. Of course all the bad witches flying over 150 feet are now going to boost the invisibility cloak business and then of course the government will make everyone register their invisibility cloaks and unregistered poorer quality cloaks that flaunt health and safety regulations will cause accidents and blah blah blah,,,damn bureaucracy.

  5. I think this is brilliant. It will encourage all the idiots who believe in witchcraft to come out of the closet. Imagine a year from now, a politician asking why there have not been any arrests so far. And hopefully people will start sniggering. (next UFO-oligists!)

    In reply to #6 by thebaldgit:

    … a surface to air missile …

    Don’t be silly, such a missile is classed as muggle powered broomstick.

  6. Does this include deities being elevated to heaven and indeed those affected by the rapture? Are they planning ways to avoid interception by the Swaziland airforce, given that they won’t be expecting to have any worldly possessions to sell to pay the fine with at that point? Has anyone thought to warn them? What an unfair world it is with so much discrimination against the religious.

  7. Swazi witches are known to use [brooms] to fling potions about homesteads – but not for transport.

    For a minute there I really thought they believed witches use brooms for transportation.

    The sad fact is that Swaziland has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world.

  8. 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.

    Surely because people believe in it, it becomes a laughing matter, like talking snakes, massed virgins for the dead, DoG choosing a non-oil rich area of the middle east, Jedi knights, Spaghetti Monsters (ohm no , that one is true) etc ….

  9. Not so funny if you’re an albino

    Witches may not have magical powers, but like priests they still inflict very real and serious harm.

  10. I’d have thought they’d be more of a nuisance flying BELOW 150m, especially if they break the sound barrier.

    Do broomsticks count as powered or unpowered aircraft?

  11. Well, I guess that eliminates backyard rocket-building and launching. Damn it, superstition sucks the fun out of everything.

  12. Mere fines for flying your broomstick above 150 m ? Don’t they know the Bible instruction over there?

    Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
    Exodus 22 18

  13. OK, I’m rapidly loosing patience with this thread. In other parts of Africa the “child witches” crap is inspired by Christianity, yes, and there is genuine persecution of children. However, in Swaziland witch doctors (mostly men) are revered and feared. They exercise enormous secular powers which they abuse to a far greater extent than even Catholic priests do. This is in no way equivalent Harry Potter or harmless Wiccans, this is about torture and murder and oppression.

  14. Those who enacted this ridiculous law illustrate nicely that there isn’t much evidence of intelligent life on earth.

  15. This law is pointless. Even the highest spec, super-broom, fuelled with faeries’ tears and 100-octane goblin dreams, cannot achieve an altitude greater than 82m, as this is the maximum height at which pixie dust will support a solid object. This is day one, week one metaphysics. What is the world coming to?!?

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