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Africa By Doug Claypool São Tomé & Principe, Central Africa One of the fundamental areas where culture and religion combine on the island of São Tomé is the practice of the curandeiro (koo-rahn-DAY-roo) or what we know as the witchdoctor. Terms have changed with the advancement of the modern era, but the basic practice has not. It has simply been made to appear more acceptable. At its roots, this practice can be divided into two parts: natural medicine and religious philosophy. The first incorporates the use of herbs, roots, etc., for the purpose of curing and healing that in and of itself is not bad. Unfortunately, as is his custom, the devil has taken this legitimate and very practical knowledge and used it to validate and advance the second half, that 20 BIMI WORLD Number 3, 2014 of his demonic religious philosophy, intricately weaving the two together to the point that most people see the two as one and the same. On the religious side, the basic belief is that there are two types of spirits in the world, good and evil, and these spirits can be manipulated to control what happens in a person's life. The belief is the evil spirits bring sickness and misfortune while the good spirits bring health, wealth, and good fortune. On São Tomé, the practitioners of this religion are either known as Curers or Cursers depending on which spirits they are believed to control. While both can