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Curse of the evil eye: Jealous women ‘impregnate’ innocent babies with deadly diseases

By Dennis Ochieng | November 24th 2021

The evil eye is not a hoax. It is real and capable of causing bad luck, illness and even death. In Garissa, the evil eye also known as dejis have gripped the nomadic community; causing havoc across all age groups and social classes. 

“The evil eye dejis is real, it is the eye contact of the bad-blooded that brings wickedness to the good,’’ said Giro Dagane, a resident of Garissa and a Somali folklorist.

His sentiments are echoed by sociologist Mohamed Ibrahim Sheikh. According to Sheikh, “This malicious glare of evil eye is a non-verbal communication curse inspired by envious hate.’’

He explains: “All these emotions to harm an innocent soul through facial expression remains unexplained but it reveals the evil nature of humanity.’’

“’When the evil-eyed admire what you have,’’ Giro says, “Such a stare is lethal.’’ 

He warns that when someone shows interest in miraa or food you are eating, “Just invite him to have a bite and jokingly say toa macho (remove the eye)."

In case they decline, as they often do, spit on the ground to bind the curse with ancestors. And to avoid encountering dejis, “Don’t chew miraa or eat in the open,’’ Giro advises.

Mahat Gedi who also believes in dejis, claims that the evil eye can cause disgrace, harm, illness, and even death.

“The negative energy  of the evil eye causes stomach upset, inability  to eat,  excessive vomiting, weakness, eye infection, fever and nausea,” he told The Nairobian.

“Hospitalization does not treat effects of the evil eye which can be prolonged if not managed,‘’ Gedi said, adding that unfortunately, dejis also target the innocent.

Why babies are kept hidden

“Babies are kept indoors for 40 days after birth because they are vulnerable,” said Gedi.

He noted while ladies ululate outside welcoming the newborn, indoors a cleric recites (adhaan) prayer next to the child's right ear. This is a blessing and for thanking Allah.

“For protection the cleric recites Iqaina prayer next to the child’s left ear,” said Gedi. 

After 40 days, the child is taken outside by a relative of good character.  And to ward off evil, more special prayers follow.  Some even gift babies with evil eye amulets (hirsi with verses from the Holy Quran) for protection due to high risk of the curse.

Habiba Aden, a resident of Garissa told The Nairobian that  envious evil-eyed ladies can impregnate innocent babies with funny diseases.

“Cover the child’s head and make sure the child is not exposed to many hands. Physical touch too is poisonous,’’ advised Habiba.

“While the child’s mother carries a metallic amulet to ward off evil spirits, men walk with tusba, a rosary like amulet to ward off dejis,’’ she said. “And some people use mirrors in their doorways to ward off bad omen.’’ 

Surprisingly dejis can also affect a selfish rich person who eats in front of the hungry and poor.

Beating the bad eye curse

Where dejis exist, evil eye busters also thrive. The Nairobian met Esir Hussein who advises on how to identify suspects especially after an incident and how to treat evil eye curses. 

“First, you need to mix cooking oil with raw egg.  As it is stirred the traditional healer mentions names of suspects, if he gets it right, eyelike bubbles appear,” he said. 

Adding: “Next, red hot charcoal is dropped into the bubbles to eliminate the evil.’’ 

Special prayers from religious leaders can also cure the evil eye effects, Hussein explains. 

He adds, "Others light red wax in the house but the easiest way is to have the person who caused the evil eye to touch the victim.”

Sociologist Mohamed Ibrahim Sheikh explains that the evil eye amulet casts off the spelled curse while some people wear evil eye jewellery as a fashion statement and a symbol of protection against dejis.

Sheikh noted that despite science evolving the evil eye curse lives with us to date.

“The living institution of the evil eye’s  long history extends  to 3000 BC, it is mentioned in the  Holy Bible and the Holy Quran,’’ said  Sheikh. “Not an outdated superstation, this institution still drives unique behaviour in many cultures the world over.’’ 


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