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Zimbabweans enslaved by superstition

THE mysterious blast in Chitungwiza last week once again raised the question whether Zimbabweans are enslaved by superstition and witchcraft.


Five people, including a traditional healer and a businessman, died in the blast.

Before the police had made any headway in their investigations, several theories were already gaining traction.

The most popular being that the blast was caused by “lightning” created by the traditional healer.

The other theory was that the slain businessman was trying to get rid of a goblin, while another said he wanted a potion to make him more successful.

But while the full story is still to be told, the way Zimbabweans were quick to blame the blast on a supernatural act is cause for concern.

There are indications that the blast could have been caused by an anti-tank mine.

Catholic priest Oskar Wermter argues that superstitions and witchcraft are a form of “escapism” for people who cannot explain their circumstances.

“It is a matter of looking for a scapegoat and blaming other people for one’s failures,” the clergyman said.
There are several such cases where people fall back on superstition.

Another story that caught the imagination of many was the underwear-raiding goblin of Gokwe. The goblin was reported to have been stealing women’s underwear while they slept and dumped the garments at a secluded area near the village.

But the most popular superstition should be “ngozi” known as avenging spirits, particularly for a person who dies in unclear circumstances.

Traditionalists believe that to appease the avenging spirits one should pay restitution or sacrifice a beast otherwise they will never know peace.

The most high-profile case was probably that of Midlands Governor Jason Machaya, where he had to pay a hefty penalty to appease a man whose son had been beaten to death by the governor’s son and three others.

Tavenga Chokuda, the father of the dead man demanded a young woman, US$15 000 in cash and 70 head of cattle before he could bury his son.

The son’s remains spent two years in the mortuary.

Chokuda warned that if his demands were not met, his son’s vengeful spirit would haunt his killers and their families.
Fearing the supernatural ve-ngeance, Machaya coughed-up.

Strangely, most of those convicted for the murder died in prison in bizarre circumstances.

But opinion is divided among ordinary Zimbabweans on superstition and witchcraft.

A number said their Christian beliefs meant that the only supernatural things they believed were miracles from God.

“There is nothing like witchcraft,” said Memory Shumba, who described herself as a devout Pentecostal. “People just make up stories and only God can have such powers.”

Zibusiso Moyo, a student at the National University of Science and Technology said witchcraft could not be explained scientifically, making it hardly plausible.

Cultural activists back spiritual beliefs

Another high-profile case of superstition was that of mermaids that were said to be “blocking” the pumping of water at a dam in Gokwe and Mutare last year.

Water Resources Development and Management minister, Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo later told a parliamentary committee that workers had abandoned their stations vowing not to return unless the mermaids were appeased.

Sipepa-Nkomo suggested that a troupe of traditional healers and leaders should be dispatched to the dam to perform rituals to appease the edgy mermaids.

The minister’s theory seemed to have the backing of several cultural activists including Peter Zwide Khumalo, a descendant of King Lobengula, who said mermaids played a central role in spiritual beliefs.

“As a custodian of the tradition I have no doubt,” traditional leader chief Edison Chihota said of mermaids. “For anyone to dispute this is also disputing him or herself.”

But were the engineers not just blaming it on mermaids after having failed to do a job they were trained to do?

‘Witchcraft real cannot be wished away’

Tinotenda Shumba said witchcraft was real and could not be wished away.

“Even those who believe in God cannot explain miracles, in the same way that witchcraft is inexplicable,” she said. “But witchcraft and superstition are part of us and we cannot wish them away.”

People from all walks of life are trooping to Emmanuel Makandiwa’s United Family International and Uebert Angel’s Spirit Embassy where the two claim to have supernatural powers to heal the seek and create instant wealth for the poor.

Surprisingly, they still ask the poor to contribute tithes to their churches.

Wermter said witchcraft and superstition were an easy refrain, once one has a problem he or she blames it on the most unpopular person in the community.


33 Responses to Zimbabweans enslaved by superstition

  1. Vakeni January 27, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    The prodigal son is back home

  2. Vakeni January 27, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    When Cain murdered his brother Abel,god told him that the latter’s blood was crying to him from the ground like a voice calling for revenge. Genesis 4:10-16 is very clear on the effects of ngozi. The bottom line is thu shall not kill

  3. Tichaenzana January 27, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    This is an explosive. Any bomb disposal team can easily tell you this. Investigate soldiers, am sure thats where this came from. The other question is what they intended to do with the explosive…were they trying to scare the sangoma or they wanted the explosive for something else. The issue of goblins can’t explain this even lightning can not give a good explanation. We can only use the 2 theories of goblin and lightning as a cover story…but this is purely an explosive. Ask the soldiers

  4. Gabarinocheka January 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    Zimbabwe, especially Chitungwiza is full of evil people. They should repent like Charles Charamba sang in the song “Kana vanhu vangu” .2 Chronicles 7:14. If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

  5. The Truth January 27, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    One can only more fully understand things of God and of the dark world if they are spiritually and therefore led by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will reveal deep secrets which people think are hidden. Witchcraft is not an imagined thing as Father Oskar is quoted as saying.
    Therefore, if one does not have the Spirit of God, they will not understand things that happen in the spiritual sphere: “But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

  6. Soneli January 27, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    Zimbabweans are not enslaved by superstition. It is you the press people who were brought up in the rural areas who are busy spreading this primitive garbage about goblins and the lot.

    • musoni January 27, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

      You are right. It is the press which is giving currency to these stories such miracle prophets and so on..

  7. The Truth January 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Earlier post: “spiritually” should read “spiritually mature”

  8. afro TECH January 27, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Some say that the young Zinatha had finished assembling his ”multimedia msg@ i.e. lightning. But instead of pressing ‘ SEND’ he pressed ‘PLAY’ and KABOOM !!!

  9. mtondwe chatumbama January 27, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    Newsday please ask saviour kasukuwere and his family , there can help you. Juju surely works. i live next to his family home in chief matopes areas in mt darwin, what i can tell you he has committed incest, ritual killings, 3 kids have dissapeared in the area. chief matope knows this but is scared to take these thugs on. the juju has helped his family accumulate wealth, power and money. the 3 kids who have disaapeared are known. visit chief matope area and ask, you get this information. i was at matope growth point on friday , and the story doing rounds was of a fire seen at the family home, apparently you see, the kasukuwere homestead is often engulfed in fire in broad daylight from time to time, ask anyone in the area. any investigative jornalists @ newsdayor zim in general should visit this area and investigate the strange happenings pamusha pa kasukuwere. a lion is seen walking on the yard sometimes, fires at night, strange juju really. i say yes juju exists and does help some of these pple to succeed. mishonga iriko varume, huya ku dharuweni kuno muzvioonere moga.

  10. Chaili Ngoma January 28, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    “Surprisingly, they still ask the poor to contribute tithes to their churches.Whats suprising? If the gvt gives you an increment ,they they exempt it from tax?

  11. wordwriter January 28, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    Explosives can be made by getting info from the web. However, many of these sites are run by FBI and they give a little false information through which the bomb maker blows himself up or the bomb fails to detonate. Some explosives like nitro glycerine are highly unstable and can self detonate. The commercial explosive, TNT can decay and self detonate. Therefore if a miner sold some TNT to the Nganga for his own gold claims, and the Nganga failed to use it, the explosive could have self detonated. In my mind this is the most likely explanation.

  12. general January 28, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    whats surprising about paying tithe,even by the poor. Tithes are used for paying for the spread of the LORDS word,help the widows,orphans. We are supposed to pay tithes coz GOD said so. The problem is not the tithes but the con pastors. Churches have to demand accountability of church monies. If a congregation pays tithes it should reflect on the valnerable of that church. We should philosophize whats written down,

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  16. teeONE February 3, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    Its only natural that Zimbabweans and superstition are inseparable. Some senior pastors have been sported attending night vigils at n’angas .tiri vanhu tinoita chivanhu

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