Walking past a thatched hut with a white tent pitched outside it and surrounded by a group of praying people—near Norton Railway Station–one would take that for a small church gathering. However, inside that small complex, “miracles” are happening. It is at this place that members of the Johane Masowe Wechishanu Apostolic Faith church are allegedly healing people born with mental instability or who have developed mental challenges.
By Michael Kariati
One of the people who were allegedly healed, one Jabu, from Katanga township in Norton, is now responsible for cooking food for those who have not yet fully recovered and are going through the healing process.
“Jabu used to roam the streets scavenging for food from the bins. We are told he has now been healed and is doing something else for the benefit of the community,” said Mathias Mahere, a Norton resident.
What is convincing is the fact that the mentally challenged people are being rounded off from the streets in areas where they are known to have been unwell for some time.
“They came here and forced Zuze into a truck. It is now three months but he has not yet returned,” said Kadoma resident Robson Murota referring to Zuze, one of the most known mentally challenged people who used to roam the streets of Rimuka in the town.
The Standard came across the said Zuze at the healing place in Norton and one of the Apostolic Faith members, who preferred only to be called Madzibaba Sailogu said Zuze was now healed but his relatives had not come to take him home.
“Zuze is 100% fit to go home. But nobody has come up for him. So we cannot send him back to the streets. He will have to stay here until somebody comes up for him,” said Madzibaba Sailogu.
Madzibaba Sailogu said his team was sent by the Holy Spirit to rescue the mentally unstable people including vagrants who live on the streets.
“We were sent by the holy spirit to help people with mental instability, pray for them-and with them-and return them home when they have been healed,” said Madzibaba Sailogu.
At the moment there are 31 mentally challenged people who were picked up from the streets of Chitungwiza, Harare, Kadoma, and Masvingo, who are going through the healing process while others have allegedly been cured and returned to their homes.
One of the patients at the compound who appeared to be on the verge of recovery is Patrick Maphosa who asked visitors to convey greetings to his relatives. “Send my greetings to Jacob Mawere and Mlungisi,” said Maphosa who was picked up from the streets of Harare.
Precious Songo also from Kadoma was picked up from the streets of Rimuka three months ago. He has been returned home and his father, Malvias Songo, is surprised by his son’s recovery.
“My son is back with me. I can see that he now has a better life than what he was before,” said Songo. “He is now very understanding. He can be sent on errands and he carries out the assignments without a scene. I went to Norton and saw the others there and was happy with the way they are being treated.” Malvias Songo has another son, Sitefani, who is also mentally challenged and is still detained at the Norton ‘healing clinic’ going through the healing process.
Madzibaba Sailogu said their healing programme encompassed prayer as well as the use of holy oil and water.
He said the church did not charge or accept monetary reward for services rendered but would take donations that would improve the welfare of the patients. “Our services are for free. We do not accept payment. However, those who want to donate food for our patients are free to do so,” said Madzibaba Sailogu. He said there were some patients who took long — as much as a month – to heal while others were treated and became mentally stable again within even a day. It all depended on the nature and gravity of the illness. This, he said, was because the nature of illnesses differed from one person to another.
Another of the Johanne Masowe Wechishanu members Madzibaba Ephraim said the group’s biggest handicap was transport to pick up the mentally challenged people from the streets as well as to take them back to their homes after they were healed.
“Our major challenge is transport. We need transport to pick them up and then return them to their homes. What we have right now is inadequate,” said Madzibaba Ephraim. According to Madzibaba Sailogu, they registered all the people they rounded up from the streets with the Zimbabwe Republic Police in order to enable their relatives to make a follow up and pick them up when they have been cured. After Chitungwiza, Harare, Kadoma, and Masvingo , Madzibaba Sailogu said they intended to spread their wings to as far as Matabeleland and Manicaland provinces. “What we intend to do is to go to all the four parts of the country and help these people. That is our mission,” Madzibaba Sailogu said.
However, so far, there are no female patients at the Norton Railway Station Johane Masowe Wechishanu healing place.