MYSTERY surrounding the disappearance of a Zimbabwean tourist, Zayd Dada who went missing in the Inyangani Mountains eight days ago, has deepened, with no clue yet as to what could have transpired.
BY OUR STAFF
The search party comprising up to 80 people is facing difficult weather conditions and the complexity of the terrain has hampered rescue efforts. Zayd’s family is now pleading for local and international professional trackers, mountain climbers and hikers to come forward and assist.
“We are appealing for anyone who can help us to come forward. Time is of the essence and we are getting desperate. We need to find Zayd,” said Zayd’s elder brother Rayaaz.
“We know Zayd is somewhere out there. He is lost and probably exhausted and injured. We need to find and bring him home soon. We are begging for anyone who can help us to please come forward.”
Thirty-one-year-old Zayd mysteriously disappeared in Mt Nyangani (formerly Inyangani), sparking off renewed public debate on myths surrounding the revered mountain range.
The mountain is the highest range in Zimbabwe and standing at a majestic 2,592 metres (8,504 ft), is surrounded by lush green forest. However the deceptive beauty masks dangerous steep edges of the plateau, fast weather changes from clear blue skies to thick fogs and a whole lot of mysterious events that allegedly take place deep in the bowels of the mountain.
For over a century, the mountain has been said to be sacred. Following the disappearance of more than five people including two children of former minister of finance Tichaendepi Masaya in the 1980s, the mountain has remained one of the conundrums of all times.
Zayd becomes the latest victim to be swallowed up in the enigmatic mountain which has once again become the centre of attraction in the otherwise quiet and serene area of Nyanga.
Police and Wildlife Management Authority officials said on Saturday January 4, Zayd who was in the company of his wife Neelam and another couple attempted to climb the mountain in the morning.
However half way up, the team got tired and decided to take a break but Zayd proceeded on his own. That was the last time he was to be seen as he failed to pitch up for hours.
According to the Zimparks spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo, it takes about two hours to get to the top of the mountain and another hour to climb down but by 4pm Zayd had not returned prompting a rescue team to be dispatched into the mountain.
A reaction team painstakingly combed the commonly used path to the peak of the mountain. The following day it searched the mountain top and back down again the same path but did not find Zayd.
Since the fateful day, efforts to locate Zayd have proved fruitless and even a search by an Airforce of Zimbabwe helicopter has yielded nothing.
Some traditional healers converged at the mountain and carried out rituals, hoping to appease the spirits of the revered mountains.
It is commonly believed that if a place is sacred there are certain rules that are supposed to be followed and if these are broken, serious consequences are expected. According to folk stories, if one strayed into a scared place they would lose their sense of direction and wander aimlessly for days until some form of appeasement is conducted on their behalf by their family.
The story which has generated much interest has seen many people responding on various social media platforms.
One comment reads: “I know some people think that the issue of “nzvimbo inoyera” (sacred place) is nothing but superstitious nonsense but I think this is what is at play here.”
Others are sending prayer messages and wishing a safe return for Zayd.
In a bid to drum up more support for the missing tourist, his family and friends have started a Facebook page titled, Let’s Find Zayd providing updates and details of the search.