Against the Norm: Religion, Witchcraft, and the Re-Integration of Elderly and “Socially Dissident” Returnees

This report explores lived reintegration experiences of Malawian returnees from Johannesburg, living in Mzuzu, Malawi. In this study, Mwaona Nyirongo explores the challenges and opportunities that the returnees face reintegrating to Mzuzu, focusing particularly on the experiences of elderly returnees and those who break with traditional, often religiously and socially conservative norms in Malawian society. Their specific challenges include witchcraft accusations, changes in the business terrain, broken families, challenges with freedom of thought, hunger, extended families which strain them, loss of resources, and lack of social security. The report points out that there are initiatives aimed at helping elderly returnees, but these are not adequate to help them reintegrate smoothly.