"Some sorcerer, some witch-man, no doubt: it looked fiend-like enough"
West African fetish magician (c. 1904)
Public DomainWest African fetish magician (c. 1904) - Credit: Robert Hamill Nassau

If there was ambiguity in Marlow's previous reference to 'witch-men', his description here clearly suggests the demonic.

In more recent times, witchcraft has become an increasingly problematic feature of sub-Saharan African society, with widespread witch-hunts throughout the continent often targeting vulnerable members of society such as children, the elderly and albinos. Ironically, much of this can be traced back to early Christian missionaries whose preaching intensified belief in a tangible spirit world while simultaneously demonising native belief systems that had previously been morally unbiased in character and generally free of the negative connotations of European witchcraft.




Further reading:

Rune Blix Hagen, The Witch-hunts on African Sorcerers