Trophy of God's Grace: An interview with a witch doctor who found redemption

August 8, 2023

Inside an Ugandan courtroom stood Jaja Rose, trembling in fear at all she had done wrong. A child of God, deceived by the devil and promised the world. Darkness was once her temporary master, and now his betrayal left her alone, standing in front of the Judge, awaiting her life sentence or death.

Anticipating the thud of the gavel to seal her fate, the words were spoken, "You have been pardoned!" She had spent one year in prison, and now the ex-witch doctor was free to go! The woman who sacrificed children in return for wealth, the woman who felt she was the god of the earth … that same woman had been set free from conviction and marked as a trophy of God's grace for all to see.

For over 20 years, Jaja Nangobe Rose was well-known for engaging in child sacrifices and devil worship in the interior of Uganda. Pastor Craig Walker takes us through the depths of her deception from 2018 in his book Born for the Extraordinary,

"Jaja took one of the pastors working with us to the bloodied pit where she had taken part in sacrificing children. The pastor sent me photos of the pit and all the strange items used in this demonic worship, such as squirrel heads and human body parts. Jaja confessed that her family members would come at night, after the parents had left, to take the little bodies and bury them in the bush. The next morning, they would take the parents to the site and tell them, 'See, the gods have accepted your sacrifice and taken your children. You have found their favor.'"  

So how does someone involved in such abominable sin and darkness walk out of prison as a free woman?

In 2018 Upward Church– Kampala was taking the gospel village to village and found themselves spreading the testimony to those Jaja Rose had influenced with her deception. In a 2023 interview, Jaja would tell us, "When Pastor Noah [Kamanzi] came to my village, I tried so much to fight him because I wanted to be the queen of the village I was serving. When people would get saved, I would feel pain in my heart, and I never wanted anyone to become born-again because I was losing my kingdom." She had them convinced that she was the god on earth, and because of her fortune-telling powers, she was the only one in the village who knew where the world was going.

Jaja testified that Jesus came into her hut, pointed to her, and said, "This is your last chance." Her family insisted on taking her to the hospital when they came home and found her shaking on the floor, but she said, "No, take me to that Jesus meeting." There she found Jesus Christ, and this is where the story of her repentance and redemption begins.

In June of 2023, Pastor Craig and the Wifi Jesus team from Upward Church had the opportunity to travel to Uganda and meet with Jaja Rose. She shared some chilling details on what had occurred before Jesus had entered her hut on that life-changing night in 2018. She explains that as other villagers were experiencing life-changing salvation in Christ, she was revealed to be a liar. The truth of Jesus had exposed her wickedness, and even her servants and children began rejecting her. She knew she must leave and had plans to escape with the children being held captive in a boarded shed behind her hut, but this was the moment Jesus showed up. He gave her the final warning, and she obeyed. As a part of her repentance, she disclosed the location of the imprisoned children to our team, and the government officials were promptly informed. Upon her arrest, she revealed the depths of her influence and how she penetrated her village. Documented in Born for the Extraordinary, the story is recorded as such,

"The team discovered through their follow up with Jaja Rose that the witch doctors in that community had convinced thirty-three families to each offer up one of their children as human sacrifice so they would receive peace, prosperity, good marriage, protection, good luck, and fertility. She reported that eight witch doctors were still practicing child sacrifices in that community. Through Sister Jaja, we received news that at least thirty children were being held in isolation and would be sacrificed by the witch doctors in ritual worship in an upcoming demonic festival. […] The pastors made an appointment with the police and arrangements were made to rescue the children."

That fateful night, thirty-five children were rescued before being sold in Kampala, Uganda, for sacrifice.

This prompts the question, "Why would anyone in Kampala purchase children for sacrifice?" Jaja spoke to this in her 2023 interview. She explains that for a business to succeed, it is believed that the sacrificial blood of a child must be poured into the foundation of the building, and only then would these men see a profit. She had a reputation for knowing the future as the god of the earth and easily misled these men. It is also believed that in addition to coveting the blood of these children, their organs were then sold by these same corrupt businessmen.

When she appeared before the courts, Sister Jaja was compelled to expose all these businessmen and, even more, reported all of the branches of witchcraft that she had created throughout her community. The mercies of God, along with her confession to the Judge, resulted in a one-year prison sentence. This minimal sentence was the catalyst for her testimony and is a miracle that no one can fathom. Because this grace was awarded to Sister Jaja, she is now able to impact so many with her testimony.

Had a full pardon not been awarded, her testimony would not have had an impact quite as magnificent. To see a woman who committed crimes against humanity and ruled the community with darkness walk away a free woman from the perilous courts of Uganda is unfathomable. This unconditional mercy is hard for many to understand since, according to her crimes, she should have been condemned to prison for a lifetime. This was the first of many miracles which can only be attributed to the direct forgiveness of a living God!

During our interview, our team could hardly get through one portion of her miraculous redemption without her jumping to her feet and exhaustively shouting, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" – over and over again! The joy of the Lord was so heavy and evident in her life that it is no wonder she is fully devoted to denouncing witchcraft and sharing the gospel of the one true God.

Her experience shows the world just how darkness can invade God's people and cost more than you're willing to pay, keep you longer than you're willing to stay, and take you even deeper than you are willing to go. Out of all these painful memories, Sister Jaja only gushes out JOY and shares Jesus's work in her life. She returned to the witch doctors in her community that were previously under her influence, but this time, with a different message. Even though they remain behind bars to this day, she visits with them every Tuesday to share the gospel. She speaks of Jesus everywhere she goes and to anyone who will listen.

Because of her testimony and God's mercy, hundreds in her village have found Christ. Since her conversion, many witch doctors have denounced witchcraft and burned their tools, books, and idols. News of her rebirth has traveled to many of the surrounding villages and has resulted in the rescue of countless children from sacrifice as the lies of these witch doctors were exposed. Sister Jaja has been saved to wake up a generation.

Much like the rejection shown to Jesus in Nazareth, she also experiences struggles with preaching the gospel in her own home. Much like the statement, "Is this not the carpenter" (Mark 6, ESV), it is also said, "Is this not Jaja Rose, the witch doctor?". Because of this, we pray that we can help her relocate to another village where she has room to fulfill the full potential of God's grace. When we met with her in 2023, Sister Jaja explained to us that many of the children are still afraid of her, and many parents, who surrendered their children to her for a sacrifice, cannot find it in their hearts to forgive her. Those that feel she should have been punished and imprisoned are furious and frequently ransack her home. Most of her unsaved family members still see her as a criminal. They cannot see her without blemish.

But that is not how God sees her. He looks upon her as a trophy of His grace. He sees her as an image bearer of Christ who is called and appointed to share His goodness in a time such as this. Moving forward, Pastor Craig feels led to support Sister Jaja in her journey of full restoration and seeks ways to provide for her relocation. Before leaving Africa, he had already received resources to bless her. Upon his departure, Pastor Craig was gifted two heads of cattle (a high honor) from two of our pastors, and while he was excited to finally be a "cowboy," the Lord put it on his heart to give these cattle to Sister Jaja. Our hope is that she can sell them to purchase chickens that will provide her with eggs and jumpstart her livelihood.

Sister Jaja currently has custody of her two children and the four grandchildren of her two late sons. We plan to move her to a community with a pastor who is aware of her past and willing to shepherd her upon this journey of full transformation. There we have found a plot of land she can cultivate to create a new life free of judgment, rejection, and violence. A place where she can thrive as long as she continues the good works of the Lord. The total cost of the plot and home is $9,243. If you feel led to fuel the mission, please donate to and mark your gift for Africa. 100% of every dollar given goes immediately to its designated cause.

Support the Mission
Make a difference in the 1040 window by helping fund video crusades while providing Bibles and other resources that are needed to provide support for local discipleship in the community.
Give Now
United States
Give Now