Read the harrowing account of three young men who chose this bitter path of making instant wealth and the repercussions on their lives.
for the love of money is the root of all evil. Some have followed this path and pierced themselves with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6 : 10
I became interested in sakawa two years ago when I had nothing. No roof on my head, no food to eat and no pesewa in my account. But now I boast of $ 2 million in my account and a six-bedroom house at Kasoa in the Central Region. I’m pretty sure this is the kind of life every young man wants, but I will gladly give them up if there is a way out for me to be free again.
Sakawa is a Ghanaian term for illegal practices which combine modern Internet-based fraud with African traditionalist rituals. The rituals, which are mostly in the form of sacrifices, are intended to spiritually manipulate victims so that the scammer's fraud is successful. Wikipedia
“Sometimes you get lucky to be instructed to just sleep with about 70 dark-skinned ladies in a month and collect their vagina fluid. But in worse scenarios, the task is inconceivable,” reveals a 34-year-old sakawa man.
While they drive in flashy vehicles and appear to enjoy life, the life of a sakawa boy, the Daily Graphic gathered, is one characterised by sorrow, pain and regrets.
For Abuda (not his real name), the pain and frustration of the sacrifice he had to perform once in five weeks had become “a permanent pain on his heart every day” because they were unimaginable.
He recalled that while eating at the Magbees Restaurant in Kasoa, two months ago, he was instructed by his spiritualist to sleep with his sister, but he refused and the consequence was that he had skin rashes all over his body for over two months.
With pain written all over his face, he took off his jacket, in which was hidden a foam soaked with fluids which came out from the sores on his back. His back was sored with multi-rashes dripping a whitish fluid -- a penalty for disobeying the spiritualist.
To keep a normal body scent, he uses a strong-scented designer perfume --Juicy Couture.
Abuda’s odyssey in the world of sakawa and the demands on him that flowed effortlessly from his shaky lips were so horrifying that I declined the food and water he bought for me with the excuse that I was fasting.
Abuda is just one of the many young men who have expressed a strong desire to quit sakawa but are unable to do so because it will result in the loss of their lives.
As classic music played and the quiet restaurant began to get full with an accompanying chatter of cutlery, three of Abuda’s friends joined us. Firm handshakes were exchanged but the smiles were few around the table.
Samson and George (not their real names) shared harrowing tales, including initiation rites, that involved sacrificing two babies that were a day old.
“I want to stop. I want to give all I have away and just have my peace of mind. It is tough,” George said while sipping a chilled Smirnoff ice drink.
Among the three men, the desire to quit is high but unfortunately for them, they are in the same soup as Abuda; the exit appears shut.
Even scarier is the fact that many are losing their lives for failing in their obligations towards whichever deity they have sworn allegiance to.
So far, Abuda said, three of his friends had died for failing to perform the mandatory sacrifices.
Narrating how he joined sakawa, Abuda said he was introduced to it by a friend five years ago.
“He was my childhood friend at Swedru in the Central Region. Kudu, as I call him, has been into sakawa for more than eight years,” he said.
According to him, his friend was “wickedly rich” with more than $ 5 million in his account.
Abuda said Kudu had three houses located at Swedru, Takoradi and Tema in the Central, Western and Greater Accra regions respectively.
Apart from poverty that pushes many people into the occult realm, Abuda was charmed by his friend’s luxurious lifestyle.
According to him, at a time that most young people struggled to rent a single room, his friend’s four-bedroom house at Swedru had a swimming pool, a gym and a wine bar that most hotels in town would envy.
Abuda said he was initially introduced to that aspect of sakawa where the Internet was used to defraud people.
“After months of series of conversation with one of my Internet clients, I managed to defraud a Ukrainian woman of $ 2,000. I realised it was not enough to live the kind of life I wanted,” he said.
Abuda said he was officially introduced to the “real sakawa where voodooism is applied”.
“What I didn’t know was the sacrifices one had to perform every five weeks,” he said.
For him to be fully initiated, Abuda said he was made to sleep in a coffin at midnight for three weeks.
Aside that, he said he was also instructed to apply a liquid potion on his body every day for three months.
“Finally, I was instructed to sleep with four girls in a day and deliver their underwear to the spiritualist,” he said.
Asked what happened to those girls, Abuda said he wasn’t aware because “I was told not to ask questions”.
“I was also made to perform the ultimate sacrifice which I will not talk about,” he added.
Abuda said exactly four months after being initiated, he began making money.
Asked how he made $2 million, Abuda said after a sacrifice was performed, he received messages from his bankers of a substantial amount deposited into his account by unknown foreigners.
Hell on earth
Abuda said after performing the sacrifices for almost two years, he was tired because the “task keeps getting scary”.
“Today you will be instructed to do this and tomorrow you will be asked to do something unimaginable. It’s a hell on earth for me.”
Abuda said his friend who introduced him to sakawa fell ill after he failed to perform his January 2015 sacrifices.
“He has sores all over his body and a big boil in his anus. He is really suffering,” he said.
Asked what he intended to do to free himself, Abuda, who looked so confused and disturbed, said, “I do not know”.