News / Africa

    Tales of Witchcraft Abound in Zimbabwe

    Many blame their personal troubles on supernatural influences

    Related Articles

    In Zimbabwe, witchcraft is still common in rural areas.  Hardly a week passes without a local report or newspaper story on the practice.  For example, police recently cornered a man at the Mbare Mbare bus terminal, after they discovered a live cobra snake in his luggage.  He told officers the reptile was one of his witching tools.

    About two weeks later, some women were discovered wandering naked in the early hours of the morning near Highfield. After being confronted by locals, they claimed they’d “flown” from a rural location during one of several night time escapades. But they said something went wrong and the spell wore off, before they could return to their original location.

    Four years ago, the government proclaimed that supernatural powers do exist. But it says it still prohibits the use of magic if it harms someone.

    Many Zimbabweans, especially those who grow up in rural areas, find it difficult to dismiss the existence of witchcraft.  Tendai Manyimo,30,  lives in Chitandara. He explained that his wife is a vendor and that her face became contorted after she was bewitched by rival vendors. He claims she’d been running a successful sugar sale venture:

    “When she came to barter with rural folk the trouble started. One of our neighbors requested [sugar] on credit and she refused.  Before the end of the day she was bleeding from the nose, mouth and ears,”  he says.
    Manyimo said a faith healer cured her.

    David Nyemba, 77, from Mazhambe village believes he was bewitched by his aunt while he was employed as a driver in the city three years ago. He says a turning point came in his life when he quit his job in order to return to village life:

     “I was the darling of the company management ,” he says,  “and I did not realize I could have some hidden enemies.”

    “My aunt pretended to like me and gave me money to spend. My instinct told me to refuse, but I went against my better judgment and spent it. I was demoted and harassed constantly by my superiors [which] never used to happen.  I got the answers after visiting a traditional healer.”

    Margaret Mashayamombe,83, is a traditional healer in Mutenda village, Chihota.  She says witchcraft is used in families for revenge and spite.

    Mashayamombe also says the frequency of recent reports on witchcraft indicates forces of good are triumphing over evil.  She says Zimbabweans should respect traditions by performing rituals favored by their forefathers.

    “Life was okay,” she asserts, “until some over-ambitious individuals went outside the country to get advice from traditional healers there on how to get rich quickly. That is where the problem began, because they came back with remedies that are harmful [to] others. All this is now being exposed due to the powers of the spirits of our forefathers.”

    Sarudzai Nyota, 33,  a member of the apostolic faith sect, says she believes the country would be better off without elevating the supernatural.  Sarudzai says people should turn to God and seek salvation through Jesus Christ, as a way of overcoming being susceptible to witchcraft.

    [Nyota says] The Christian church believes there’s only a “good” spirit, meaning what is called the Holy Spirit, whereas witchcraft has origins in Satanism.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells California Republican Convention delegates the campaign will be 'a battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of the June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora