Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One does not often come across spirits in the bush in Zimbabwe. I have often wondered why.

We were fortunate enough to stay at - a now closed - safari lodge and conservancy in the Bulawayo area recently as guests of the owners.

We were given two rooms one above the other each with balconies and a large bed sitting area and bathroom.

We closed the doors - no locks needed and went for dinner with our friends- on returning our son found his room door open despite him having closed it firmly!

My husband retired after a bath and our son and i stayed siting on the balcony watching the stars and listening to the night noises. At midnight he left to go to his room. We brought in the chairs we had been sitting on and carefully closed the balcony door - i saw him to the staircase between our rooms and closed the door firmly.

On rising the following morning both the balcony door and the door to the staircase were wide open!

There were no other people around and the noise of someone on the stairs and of someone opening the doors would have been more than enough to wake us - especially as we are light sleepers!

What opened the doors? It will remain a mystery!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sounds unexplained

I wrote some time ago about my father's studio and the sound of television coming from it after he had died and all the furniture and connections had been removed. We took on a firends furniture - deposited in the studio and the sounds stopped!

Our younger son has returned to stay here for a while and has removed most of the furniture we placed in the studio so that he has more room to work on a project he is engaged in finishing.

Yesterday about 2 in the morning I awoke to once again here the sound of old movies - I got up and wandered round the house thinking that someone had left a TV or a Radio on by mistake. Nothing!

I returned to our bedroom - which overlooks the Studio - and sure enough the faint sounds were coming from the studio! What will happen next!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ghosts turning off taps?

The ghost is at it again - twice in the last month we have had a very strange occurance.

We have geasers in our roof - one for the kitchen and one for the bathrooms.

Twice we have found the tap for the kitchen geyser to be turned off - very tightly. No one goes into the roof and we have had no reason to turn off the flow of water. The first we know about it is that there is no water coming out of the hot tap in the kitchen!

Very strange!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Zimbabwe Virgins Forced into Marriage to 'Appease' Evil Spirits

Is this civilized?
By Nyarai Kachere
MUTARE, Zimbabwe, Sep 29 (IPS) - Three years after being seized from their families and forced to marry and have sex with adult men in a Shona ritual to appease an avenging spirit, five teenagers are facing a dismal reality.
The girls from Honde Valley in Manicaland had to drop out of school, become under-age wives and mothers and live an impoverished life as vegetable vendors to contribute to their new families' household income.
In 1999, Felicitas Nyakama, Nesta Maromo, Juliet Muranganwa, Precious Maboreke and Perseverance Ndarangwa, who were then between the ages of seven and 15, were handed over by their parents to the family of Gibson Kupemba as payment for the man's murder. The girls' relatives killed Kupemba to prepare muti, traditional medicine, which is sometimes made from body parts.
According to traditional belief, a murderer's relatives need to appease a dead person's spirit with virgin girls, sometimes as young as six years old. The virgin has to live with the murdered person's family, no matter her age. When she reaches puberty, she is made the wife of one of the male members of her new family.
Kupemba's grandson Gibson (junior) said his father appeared to him in his sleep, demanding a virgin girl as compensation from each family involved in his murder. He insists the girls were not forced to offer themselves, but it was their personal choice to rescue their families from an evil spirit.
"They came here to confess on their own volition. Each girl must be accompanied by 22 heads of cattle," said 28-year-old Kupemba junior, who married Precious Maboreke in 1999, when she was 15 years old.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sveto Discards Witchcraft for Christianity

This is a follow up the the 'flight on a willowing basket story':

Sveto Discards Witchcraft for Christianity
Tendai Hildegarde Manzvanzvike
29 September 2009

Harare — The statement that life is full of arrivals and departures best describes Regina Sveto's saga.
Hers has been a life of embarrassment, pain, fear and defeat. On very few occasions probably has she experienced laughter, joy and triumph. However, the doom and gloom could be a thing of the past.
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Dear reader, this writer proclaims celebratory news of a transformed life. Regina converted to Christianity on July 10. Her husband Collen Zemba and mother-in-law Mrs Rosa Zemba were also born-again at the same time.
On May 23, the 21-year-old mother of two made stunning revelations that she and her father-in-law, Elias Zemba, and aunt, Philda Zemba, had "flown from Murehwa in a winnowing basket" with the intention of killing her brother-in-law Tobias Zemba through witchcraft.
The evil act was aborted when Regina refused to perform the ritual, and she was dumped by her in-law, resulting in her being caught.
This writer has followed developments since learning about the conversion on July 12. However, the weekend of September 19 saw the culmination of her conversion when a Harare Pentecostal church that led them to Christ launched a local assembly in the village where Regina resides.
More than 100 men, women and children from Zihute Village in Murehwa and worshippers from the Glad Tidings Fellowship Church (Harare) gathered at the Nyamanjiva homestead for the launch.
The worshippers travelled to Murehwa in a hired bus and several private vehicles and they included the church choir led by Elder Maziva Nyagura who leads the Tehila choir.
Elder Nyagura was among the church members who remained behind to lead the Sunday service, and set up the new church's administrative structures. A powerful public address system and musical instruments were part of the ensemble.
The place was a hive of activity with lots of praise and worship, dance, testimonies, preaching and good food. Several believers gave dynamic testimonies, including a former freedom fighter who is now a church elder.
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Another woman also testified that she had been miraculously cured of HIV and Aids. Those who testified made it clear that they had not been living rosy lives before they became Christians.
They gave testimonies and told the new converts that the Christian walk needed devotion and total commitment. They also encouraged them and said that it was the best choice they ever made. However, the person of the moment was Regina.
On both days, she gave powerful testimonies that captivated the congregation. When Regina, who was sitting between her mother-in-law and neighbour Francisca Chidawaya stood up, most people seemed to realise that she was the one.
For, she was smartly dressed, in a green two-piece suit, a brand new pair of tennis shoes and matching headgear. Regina narrated the May 23 events in Highfield and other acts of witchcraft they engaged in.
"Ndini amai vamakanzwa vekuenda kuHarare nechisero kundoroya. Anondiona, ndiani angandifungidzira? Asi zvakaitika. Ndinotenda Jesu vakandirangirira. Ndiri kufara," she said. (I'm the woman you have heard about who 'flew to Harare in a winnowing basket' to perform acts of witchcraft. If you look at me, would you believe that I would be capable of doing that? But it happened. However I want to acknowledge the Lord's favour upon me. He remembered me. I am now a Christian and I am happy.)
She said she was pleased that the Lord had shown her that he loved her notwithstanding what she had done, and that He had always loved her, and would always do.
"Jesus is in me and there is no turning back. I am praying for the family in Pfungwe to get converted."
Just before sunset on Saturday, two of her brothers-in-law, Simba and Clever, went forward and accepted the Lord Jesus, together with more than 40 other people.
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In a separate interview at the Zemba homestead, Regina told The Herald: "I am now at peace. When the men of God came and preached the word, we accepted it. They prayed for us and have been encouraging us.
"I haven't had those visions I used to have, where I would end up at the cemetery. We're sleeping peacefully. We used to fight a lot with my husband, but not anymore.
"Sometimes I ask myself where the Lord was when I had to go through all this. I regret the time I wasted doing this. But I thank the Lord. It's quite evident that we are not the people you saw the last time you were here", said the soft-spoken Regina.
Collen is also a living testimony of a transformed life.
Clad in a cream executive suit, Bible in hand, he exuded confidence as he gave his testimony -- 2 Corinthians 5: 17 was his password: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come."
The laughter and smiles showed that Collen was now a happy man.
He said: "This marks the beginning of permanent change in my family's life. I have faith in the Lord."
Mrs Rosa Zemba also confirmed that since members of the church held a crusade at her homestead, they had not experienced the problems that had been affecting Regina.
"I thank the church for responding to our plea. I am also grateful for the donation of clothes to my daughter-in-law since she lost all clothes at the cemetery", said Mrs Zemba.
Regina confirmed that she had so far received two suits, six skirts and blouses, a pair of shoes head scarves and a pair of shoes for their son from the church.
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"When I first received the skirts and blouses, we decided to burn the few old clothes I had. We know that the pastor had said that they wanted them destroyed, but we felt that having them in the house might lure the spirit.
"I also feel encouraged by my husband and mother-in-law's support.
"However, today was more special because many people (more than 80) received the Lord, and a church has been started here. Among the converts were my brothers-in-law Simba, who witnessed the events in Harare; and Clever."
Even Clever and Simba seemed amazed at the positive changes in their family.
They also said that since the evangelists started coming to their home, the weird things that used to take place at their homes (in Murehwa and Harare) had stopped.
Simba said: "The problem was that people who claimed to be assisting us were just 'faith healers' (taingoshandirwa). We could not pray on our own . . . One of the first things I'll do to celebrate this is to have my marriage solemnised in church. My wife has already agreed to change her denomination."
Had the church reached out to Mr Elias Zemba?
Collen, who was part of the organising team said: "I told him, but unfortunately he did not come."
But, how did this happen? The Herald spoke to the GTF leadership and this is what Pastor Wonder Matawu had to say: "We had had plans to plant a church in that part of Murehwa since one of their elder is from there. However, the witchcraft incident fast-tracked our plans.
"After media reports, we saw the need to preach the Word to the family. We first went there on July 10, spoke to the family, and preached the Lord Jesus Christ. We also prayed with them regarding the demonic spirits that were tormenting their family.

"We went and prayed at the cemetery -- the grandfather's grave -- which was allegedly used as the centre of all the evil activities.
"On July 11, the senior pastor sent back a team to Murehwa to pick up the family and they spent the night at his house. On Sunday, they attended church service with us. After that, we had evangelists visiting them every Wednesday and Sunday to teach the Word and pray with them.
"They only came to Harare when we had big Sunday services. The church provided transport. We are happy with where we have gotten so far. They have a positive mind towards God.
"We are being called names at the moment, but the Lord will reveal His power, and more souls will be harvested. We will not put pressure on the father-in-law because we believe the Lord's works should speak for themselves," said Pastor Matawu.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ghosts and fire

I visited our local council offices today to ask if we could find plans of our area before 1920 to find out if the property we live on had once been a grave yard.

Unfortunately the records only go back to the 1950s.

I met with Mike who agreed with me that the only place we might find them was the archives so a visit there will come shortly.

He is interested in ghosts and the supernatural and told me that in his, Shona, culture, ghosts do not like fire - if you light up a cigarette they will go away - wish our ghost was so easy to send away!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Shadow People in Zimbabwe by Ross

I encountered "shadow people" in my younger years, along with some other supernatural experiences, stories for another time. When I was about twelve or thirteen years old at boarding school in Zimbabwe, that would be 1985, I had my first "shadow person" experience. It was a Sunday evening and my parents had just dropped me off at my hostel, at school. All the other boys were at the evening chapel service and I was all alone.

I needed clean socks to wear for school the following morning, so I went to the bathrooms to wash them. I went in and it felt kinda creepy. I walked over to one of the bath cubicles, started running some water and kneeled down to wash my socks. I had started rinsing the pair of socks out, when out of the corner of my right eye I saw this shadow of a hand on the wall beside the door, where all the fingers came to points. The hair on my neck stood up on end, I closed my eyes and thought, 'It's not real, Lord Jesus protect me. It's not real'. I opened my eyes and to my absolute terror, the hand was still there. It now moved around the wall, just a hand and long arm, right across the tub from me! I was quite horrified, but I still looked around for a possible explanation. There wasn't one.
At that, I ran out of there, back to my dormitory, grabbed my Gideon bible and started praying to God. I had many creepy experiences at that school, but never saw another shadow person there again.

Strange Encounters by Patricia

I have had many paranormal experiences of various types throughout my life, with some being quite frightening. However, I wish to relate two incidents of a very different sort.
In 1973 in Zimbabwe, aged 26 years, though not sure of the month when this incident occurred, I was suffering with severe toothache for some time, to such a degree I couldn't concentrate on my work at the office and spent many sleepless nights as no amount of pain killers offered relief. With the shortage of dentists, I was finally able to see one within three days. On this particular night, I was unable to sleep as the toothache was so severe. My ear ached and my head throbbed to a point where I decided I would see the dentist in the morning (two days earlier) as an emergency patient.
As I lay awake in bed in the early hours of the morning awaiting daybreak, I heard footsteps of a passer-by outside the building and wondered why anyone would be walking about at that ungodly hour (probably 2.30 a.m.), and to my utter shock and confusion, the footsteps continued from outside and through the wall and into the bedroom on my right. They were, without doubt, that of a man. He walked around my roommate's bed -- who was fast asleep and stopped by my bedside. I didn't see him. Being afraid, I didn't want to see this person and had shut my eyes so tightly. Within seconds, I felt a strange but comfortable heat concentrated around my head only. I was holding my breath and wondering what he was doing to me.
That was the last I remember until the morning when I was brushing my teeth and realized I didn't have a toothache, and then remembered what had happened hours earlier. For the next three days, unbelievably, until my visit to the dentist I experienced no toothache at all. Once at the dentist, a pus filled pocket along with the affected tooth were extracted and he said, "You must have been in agony with this abscess." I said, "Yes, but not for the last three days." He was visibly taken aback, but I declined to relate my experience lest he thought I was loony.

Toothache cured. coincidence or a ghostly healer?

This article is from 'Patricia':
In 1973 in Zimbabwe, aged 26 years, though not sure of the month when this incident occurred, I was suffering with severe toothache for some time, to such a degree I couldn't concentrate on my work at the office and spent many sleepless nights as no amount of pain killers offered relief. With the shortage of dentists, I was finally able to see one within three days. On this particular night, I was unable to sleep as the toothache was so severe. My ear ached and my head throbbed to a point where I decided I would see the dentist in the morning as an emergency patient.
As I lay awake in bed in the early hours of the morning awaiting daybreak, I heard footsteps of a passer-by outside the building and wondered why anyone would be walking about at that ungodly hour (probably 2.30 a.m.), and to my utter shock and confusion, the footsteps continued from outside and through the wall and into the bedroom on my right. They were, without doubt, that of a man. He walked around my roommate's bed -- who was fast asleep and stopped by my bedside. I didn't see him. Being afraid, I didn't want to see this person and had shut my eyes so tightly. Within seconds, I felt a strange but comfortable heat concentrated around my head only. I was holding my breath and wondering what he was doing to me.
That was the last I remember until the morning when I was brushing my teeth and realized I didn't have a toothache, and then remembered what had happened hours earlier. For the next three days, unbelievably, until my visit to the dentist I experienced no toothache at all. Once at the dentist, a pus filled pocket along with the affected tooth were extracted and he said, "You must have been in agony with this abscess." I said, "Yes, but not for the last three days." He was visibly taken aback, but I declined to relate my experience lest he thought I was loony.

Trying to contact us and why this way?

I am a light sleeper and wake at the slightest sound. On the occasion in case I woke for no reason at all and lay wondering what had awoken me.

I suddenly felt a pressure on my chest and a feeling that I was enclosed in darkness.

I could not move and the pressure got more and more and it felt like someone was sitting on me and trying to strangle me - cutting off my breathing. I was unable to push what ever it was off me - finally the pressure was released and the darkness left me.

What was it? Our mysterious visitor who leaves bad smells?

I have experienced the common feeling on waking that I have been paralysed - which is a sleep endused phenomenon and explainable - this was completely different as I was able to move my legs and arms but felt as if the pressure came from a person sitting astride my chest.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ghost next door

I have spoken on a number of occasions about the ghosts we have in our house and once about a phenomenon next door.
Bear in mind that these people are very down to earth, solid British people who are inclinded to dismiss ideas of ghosts.
I have now discovered that our neighbours, who are good friends, had a guest who saw a materialisation that appeared in one room and then disappeared through a brick wall into the dining room area. They investigated and found nothing.

The apparition was a tall man dressed in modern clothing.

The story that our properties are actually built over a grave yard is very possible. This was the first area , in those days, outside what was Salisbury, that was farmed as a market garden. All the figures we have seen seem to stem from this period which was during the 1930s.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lady and her dog

There is a house near the University in Harare which stands out in a road of common place single story ranch type houses. It is painted pink and is double storied with arches over the patio in front.
It was originally built many years ago and then added onto. The double story section is the new part of the house. The older section houses a study, bedroom and bathroom and it is in the section that the Lady and her dog are often seen.
She is dressed in a long white dress - is very attractive and is accompanied by a white poodle on a lead.

It is interesting that in Zimbabwe a number of sightings of ghostly beings are accompanied by their pets who were obviously very dear to them in life and remain so in death.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rock paintings

Not far from the city of Harare there are a group of hilly outcrops that house Cave Paintings.

Chipkupu has a series of three caves with paintings - some having been painted over on a number of occasions and all being ancient in origin.

Our family visited these caves some 25 years ago with a party of tree Society members. With us was our then, three year old son.

We had not been in the caves for very long and were examining an over hang with paintings on it.

our son suddenly pipes up "this wasn't like this last time i saw it'. He pointed to some of the newer paintings and proceeded to tell everyone around that under these paintings were those of other animals.

We made a closer look at the rock face and could see a line of older paintings under the newer ones - but could not distinguish what they were. our son announced that they were impala being chased by men and that one of those men was a relative of his!

A childhood fantasy - or was he recalling something from another life?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Zimbabweans say angry ancestors are behind road accidents

The state of the roads in Zimbabwe are awful - this is an interesting article which shows how superstitious people can be appeared in the Los Angeles Times - belief in the old gods is very open in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans say angry ancestors are behind road accidents

Traditional rituals to appease the dead have not been performed for years. Some believe that's the cause for a recent string of terrible crashes on one highway.
By Robyn Dixon May 23, 2009
Reporting from Chivhu, Zimbabwe — The road is scarred with skid marks, some curved like snakes, others pencil straight. They shriek the fates of unlucky travelers who lost their lives; they mark the near-misses.
It's not just the treacherous potholes, or the edges of the road nibbled away like cookies. It's not the dozing driver behind the glaring truck headlights about to veer onto the wrong side.

People here in central Zimbabwe are afraid of something else.
The pedestrians crossing the road at night, dressed in black, walking so slowly that drivers are forced to swerve -- ghostly figures not made of skin and bone. And the mermaid in the Pimbi River, angry at the blood and gasoline spilled when a bus crashed into the water two years ago.
For a long time, things have not been right anywhere in this beautiful but tortured country. The economy has collapsed; there's been conflict, hatred, repression. But many believe this country's long, grinding crisis is just a symptom of something deeper: The ancestors are angry.
Some people here trace today's road disasters back to the blood spilled in 1890, on the arrival of white colonialist Cecil Rhodes, who founded the diamond company De Beers and settled Zimbabwe. Rhodesia, the colonial name for Zimbabwe and Zambia, was named after him.
Under Rhodes, an invading pioneer column set up camp near what is now the highway, and the colonialists called the place Fort Charter. Local people believe that many blacks were thrown into a burning pit by the foreigners.
When bad things happen in Zimbabwe, an uneasy suspicion arises. In times past, communities religiously attended to rituals, slaughtering cattle to keep the ancestors happy. But in the last 10 or 15 years, many communities have neglected the rituals.
Zimbabwean traditional beliefs are as real for most Christians in rural areas as they are for those cleaving solely to African religions. Many urban dwellers are the same, including top members of President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet.
For some, traditional beliefs permeate every aspect of life: politics, business, family, illness, prosperity and fate. They also bring a measure of daily fear: Demons can sicken or curse you. Enemies with powerful muti, or magic, can strike you with a lightning bolt if challenged. Droughts, famines, locust plagues and wildfires happen when ancestors are upset or God is displeased.

Zimbabwe outllaws witch craft and Witch Flies 75 miles in a winnowing basket

There are two articles here of interest -
Zimbabwe outlaws practise of witchcraft
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 04/14/2009
ZIMBABWE has outlawed the practise of witchcraft following a raft of amendments to legislation drawn up by the former colonial regime.
From July this year, witchcraft will be a criminal offence punishable by a fine or a five-year jail term, the country's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said.
Until President Robert Mugabe assented to the amendments last week, Zimbabwe's Witchcraft Suppression Act, a holdover from the colonial era, made it illegal to call anyone a witch, meaning nearly all cases went unreported.
The police were also powerless to act, and just recently, the country's chief police spokesman said it was next to impossible to prove that one was a witch.
"Witchcraft is not an area that lends itself to police scrutiny," said Wayne Budzijena, the Zimbabwe Republic Police spokesman. "How do you verify an evil spell? This is a matter of spiritual faith, not a matter of empirical evidence."
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told state media at the weekend that Part VI of Chapter V of the Witchcraft Suppression Act had been amended and the amendments would come into effect on July 1, 2006.
He said: "President Mugabe has assented to the amendments and criminals will be charged for breaching certain sections of the Act as from July this year."
The new laws make it a criminal offence to hire a witch or assist in the commission of witchcraft, but also provides protection for people "groundlessly" accused of practising witchcraft.
The 50 000-member Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association has been instrumental in forcing the change in law.
Gordon Chavunduka, chairman of the association said: "Witchcraft and tokoloshis (demons and their gremlin-like henchmen, ankle-high creatures) are making a comeback. It's obvious the cause is economic. The worse the economy gets, the more political tension there is in society, the more frustrated and frightened people get. They turn to witchcraft to gain riches or to hurt their enemies."
In January this year, a top High Coutrt judge urged the Zimbabwe government to ease colonial era restrictions on the practice of witchcraft.
Justice Maphios Cheda, opening the new judicial year, said: "The strongly held conviction of belief in witchcraft and traditional healers ... cannot be wished away.
"We should amend the century-old Witchcraft Suppression Act in keeping with the popular thinking and beliefs of the majority in this country."
Although many highly educated Zimbabweans tend not to believe in such phenomena, they acknowledge the belief is part of their cultural background.
"I've never seen a tokoloshi, I've never had a tokoloshi attack me, but I've heard all the stories like everyone else," said Professor Welshman Ncube, a constitutional law scholar. "I don't believe or disbelieve. It's difficult for outsiders to understand, but African daily life relies heavily on the spirit world, for good or evil."
The amended Part VI of Chapter V of the Witchcraft Suppression Act now reads: "Whoever accuses a person of witchcraft means to indicate that the person (is possessed by a spirit or) used non-natural means (witch-finding) to cause death, injury, disease or inability in any person. This also means that destruction or loss of or damage to property of any description was involved.
"Any person who engages in any practice knowing that it is commonly associated with witchcraft, shall be guilty of engaging in a practice commonly associated with witchcraft if having the intention to cause harm to any person.
"Such practice inspires in the person against whom it was directed, a real fear or belief that harm will occur to that person or any member of his or her family, and be liable to a fine not exceeding level ten or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or both."
"Spoken words shall not in themselves constitute a practice commonly associated with witchcraft for the purpose of this section, unless accompanied by or used in connection with other conduct commonly associated with witchcraft.
"For the avoidance of doubt it is declared that any person who assists another person to commit the crime of engaging in a practice commonly associated with witchcraft, by giving advice or providing any substance or article to enable that person to commit the crime, shall be liable to be charged as an accomplice to the crime.
"A court shall not take judicial notice of any practice that is said to be commonly associated with witchcraft, but any person who, in the opinion of the court, is suitably qualified to do so on account of his/her knowledge, shall be competent to give expert evidence as to whether the practice that forms the subject of a charge under this section is a practice that is commonly associated with witchcraft, whether generally or in the particular area where the practice is alleged to have taken place.
"Any person who groundlessly or by the purported use of non-natural means accuses another person of witchcraft shall be guilty of indicating a witch or wizard and liable.
"It shall not be a defence to a contravention of a subsection involving the purported use of any non-natural means for the person charged to prove that the person he/she accused actually engaged in any practice commonly associated with witchcraft, but the court may suggest such circumstance as mitigatory when assessing the sentence to be imposed."
The amendment disqualifies as defence to murder, assault or any other crime that an accused was influenced by a genuine belief that the victim was a witch or wizard and a court would only use it as mitigation

This story appeared in one of our local papers recently - June 2009:

21 year old woman stunned a court when she claimed she flew 75 miles in a winnowing basket with two witches on a mission to kill her brother-in-law. Her claims where collaborated by a witchcraft expert who told the court that “witches can travel from Zimbabwe to as far as South Africa during the night and fly back as soon as their mission is accomplished”.
In court Regina Sveto, 21 on Friday “hissed like a snake” and “went into a trance” as Sekuru Nelson Jambaya, the vice president of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (ZINATHA) testified leaving a packed court room shocked.
All the drama took place at Court 18 at the Harare Magistrates Court where it was jammed to the rafters as court officials, magistrates and lawyers all raced there to watch proceedings in the rather unusual case.
Sveto has pleaded guilty to a charge of public indecency after she was found naked outside her brother-in-law’s house in Highfield suburb just after 6AM on last Sunday.
Sveto was seen by passers-by outside the house wearing “red headgear” and “some black strings around the waist”. She claimed she had “flown” from there from Murehwa, some 120km east of Harare, with her father-in-law and an aunt.
Their winnowing basket aircraft taxied off from a graveyard in Zihute Village under Chief Mangwende — their mission to kill her brother-in-law. Once at the house in Highfield, she claims she balked when asked to kill her brother-in-law. Her father-in-law, named in court as Elias Zemba, and the aunt, Filda Zemba, then took off and abandoned her.
Just in case she flies back, Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe has asked for expert opinion before passing sentence. After listening to Jambaya’s evidence on Thursday, Guvamombe ordered Chief Mangwende to be summoned to give his opinion on June 4. The magistrate has also ordered that the woman be kept in custody, “just in case she flies back to Murehwa”.
Jambaya said the woman’s account confirmed what traditional healers have always believed about witches and wizards. He told the court: “According to my knowledge, if the woman said she flew from Murehwa in a basket, then she is a witch. Witches do a lot of this and they are known to travel naked at night.
“It is also possible for witches to travel as far as South Africa during the night for the purposes of witchcraft, flying back as soon as their mission is accomplished. Some people use magic to protect their homes and families against witchcraft and in such cases, the witches and wizards become powerless and are subsequently exposed.”
As Jambaya testified, Sveto “hissed like a snake”, triggering some panic at the court room. At one point, she was seen to suddenly become weak, leaning heavily against a prison guard.
Then, in a sudden burst, she shouted in her native Shona: “You are liars! You are only senior in terms of your jobs but you are powerless against me. Why are you leaving criminals to roam free out there and harassing an innocent person like me? I have no case to answer, didn’t my medium brief you?”
Sveto immediately collapsed and lay prostrate on the floor for several minutes before a relative revived her by placing salt into her palms. She regained consciousness some 10 minutes later, by which time the court was overflowing with curious on-lookers.
Prosecutors have asked the magistrate not to impose a custodial sentence on Sveto. Prosecutor Austin Muzivi said the woman was likely to be a state witness should Elias Zemba and Filda Zemba be charged with practising witchcraft, which is a crime in Zimbabwe.
A 2006 law says anyone accusing another individual of witchcraft must show proof of their allegations.
The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act 2004 says court officials can rely on expert evidence “as to whether the practice that forms the subject of a charge… is a practice that is commonly associated with witchcraft.”

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I had a very strange lucid dream last night that took me back many years to Salisbury, now Harare, when the new Meikles Hotel was built. I saw the old hotel being pulled down and it was exactly as it was at the time - the colours were bright and clear and even people
Ii knew then were in the dream.

What is lucid dreaming and why are the images sometimes so clear. I was able to decide which way i walked and looked at other buildings of the time.

Very interesting.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Zimbabwe: Ruwa Murder - Boy Accuses Father of Witchcraft

Yet another story of witchcraft still alive in Zimbabwe
8 July 2009

Harare — The 17-year-old Ruwa boy charged with killing his parents in cold blood last year has, in turn, accused his father of using him as a "goblin" to sustain his "mysterious" business empire.
The teenager made the startling claims when his trial opened before High Court judge Justice Tendayi Uchena on Monday. The boy allegedly gunned down his father and mother at their Ruwa home in April last year.
It is alleged that he shot his father in the head before heading to the bedroom where he opened fire on his mother who had been awakened by the gunshots.
According to reports, the father had, on the fateful day, woken up the boy at around 3am so that he could study. The teenager pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.
In his defence outline, the boy's lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, claimed that during the study sessions, which were closed to other family members, his father would burn some roots and unspecified substances. The burning would invariably lead to some "body malaise and dizziness", reads the defence outline.
Adv Mpofu further submitted that over the weekends preceding the fateful day, the boy would spend around 19 hours in an unconscious state that only his father could break.
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"Such was the accused's strange routine. The accused is now positively aware that he was being used as a goblin by his father in order to sustain and support his mysterious and vast business interests," Adv Mpofu said.
The boy's father ran a security company, among other businesses. However, the psychiatric report that forms part of the defence established that the boy suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy, fits affecting half of the brain.
"His conduct that morning was not voluntary and he committed the acts he is charged with without conscious knowledge. His actions were brought about by either the temporal lobe epilepsy or (the) spiritual world to which he had descended into," Adv Mpofu said.
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Key State witness Mr Admire Musasa (24), who is related to the boy, yesterday gave his account of the events he witnessed early in the morning after the shooting. He said at around 5am a maid came to his bedroom and woke him up.
"She was looking worried and asked me to come with her. I got dressed and followed her to the dining room. I saw my uncle (the boy's father) seated on his chair with his head facing down on the table with his books," he said.
"I observed a white substance coming out from the back of his head. I shook him, but he did not respond," he testified. Mr Musasa said he then went up stairs with the intention of informing his aunt about "the horrible scene".
When he got to his aunt's bedroom, Mr Musasa said he found the door wide open and observed that there was disorder in the room.
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He then went to his other aunt's bedroom and informed her before going to the teenager's bedroom to report the matter. Mr Musasa said after Ms Spiwe Chakuvinga, the younger sister to the boy's mother, entered the bedroom, she came out looking very worried.
"Her face had completely changed. Together we went downstairs. She also shook her brother-in-law in the same way I had done," he said.
While in the dining room, Mr Musasa said they heard the maid identified only as Precious shouting at the top of her voice: "Amai vapfurwawo futi (Mother has also been shot dead)."
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The trial is now being held in open court following a successful application by the defence. Last month the court barred the Press from covering the proceedings, saying only close relatives were allowed into the courtroom because the suspect was a minor.
In terms of the law, court proceedings involving minor children ought to be conducted in camera.
However, Adv Mpofu argued there was no law that automatically obliged such proceedings to be held in camera.
He cited several case laws to support his contention, which was opposed by the State.
After considering arguments presented by both the defence and State counsels, the court ruled in favour of the defence.
However, in terms of the law it is the defence that can apply to have proceedings in such cases held in camera and not the State.
Adv Mpofu is being instructed by Ms Sharon Maphosa of Mawere and Sibanda law firm.

From Cabinet of Wonders

These stories are getting more and more common. people think that Africa is now a modern society - in still has its roots in its ancient traditions and beliefs including wirchcraft.

Glendale is north of Harare and was a flourishing farming community.

Magical shenanigans in Zimbabwe just keep getting weirder:
Two self-styled prophets stunned Glendale villagers when they mysteriously retrieved a baby's leg still dripping blood from a woman's hut and accused her of practising witchcraft and causing the death of the minor. However, the duo ran out of luck when they ordered the villagers to illegally exhume the body of the child, who had died a few days back, only to find the decomposing body intact.The two escaped from the scene, but were later arrested and have since appeared in court charged with employing "non-natural" means to resolve crimes.
I have to wonder where the leg actually came from, the details (while even stranger) don't really help solve that one:
The State, represented by prosecutor Mr Guni Guni, told the court the incident occurred at a farm in Glendale on June 24 this year when the duo went to Ms Everess Chazika's home. Ms Chazika had sought the duo's services after her husband continued to suffer from hallucinations.The prophets allegedly summoned villagers and the head at the farm to witness them cleansing the home of evil spirits. During the session, the self-styled prophets entered the woman's bedroom and emerged with a baby's leg dripping with blood. Munjodzi and Nsiku then pointed a finger at Ms Chazika, accusing her of using the baby's leg during her witchcraft errands. The mother of the baby that had died three weeks earlier was among the villagers who witnessed the exorcism and allegedly identified the leg as belonging to her late baby. Ms Chazika denied any knowledge of the leg and the prophet asked her to hold a hen claiming if she denied the truth the chicken would die. The villagers allegedly quickly brought the chicken, which was handed over to Ms Chazika.The prophet then asked her if she used the human leg in witchcraft, which she denied.The chicken reportedly nodded three times and died instantly.Munjodzi and Nsiku then challenged the villagers to dig up the baby's grave claiming it was empty while Ms Chazika insisted she never used witchcraft.The prophets claimed that Ms Chazika and other witches had feasted on the baby's body. The villagers, with the blessing of the headmen, dug up the grave only to discover the baby's body still intact despite being in an advanced state of decomposition. Munjodzi and Nsiku disappeared from the scene only to be arrested early this month. Police are still keen to find out how Munjodzi and Nsiku came to possess the baby's leg. It was also not clear how the leg was disposed of.
If I had to guess, I'd suggest it isn't a real baby's leg (well I hope not anyway), you could get a similar effect by hiding a doll's leg and a bag of blood up your sleeve for easy retrieval, then you wave it around a bit so no one gets a proper look at it.
This involvement of "prophets" seems to be a recent and growing problem across West Africa. "Prophets" in Zimbabwe seem to be involved with an earlier story and they are the main problem in the whole Nigerian Witch Children business (that spread to the Congo). There appear to be groups of people making-up problems for which they are the solution, no matter what the cost for other people.

While I'd be quite happy to see these mystical meddlers locked up, my gut tells me this is more a symptom of a wider problem. You are going to have to address issues of stability, justice and inequality: get rid of Mugabe and make sure the Nigerian oil money gets spread around to all the people in the country. That it obviously a bigger deal and may take a little longer.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Zimbabwe Sathya Sai Baba Experiemce

Sathyanarayana Raju was born to Peddavenkama Raju and Eswaramma in an agrarian family in the remote village of Puttaparthi, located in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh, India.[9] Professor Narayana Kasturi's biography stated that when the child was born, musical instruments in the household started creating music on their own. He also claimed that Sai Baba was born 'of immaculate conception. Sai Baba's mother, Easwaramma, was walking towards a well one day when a huge sphere of blue light rolled towards her, merged into her and made her faint. She soon found out that she was pregnant after dreaming of the Hindu God, Sathyanarayana. Sathya in Sanskrit means truth, and Narayana in Sanskrit means God in human form. The young Sathyanarayana, Kasturi's biography states, was a vegetarian and was "known" for his aversion to animal cruelty.[10] The child was very lively and the pet of the village. [11]From early childhood he was called "Guru" by his playmates leading them in devotional song and fascinating and amusing them by taking candy and playthings from an apparently empty bag.
Daily, he is observed to allegedly manifest vibuthi (holy ash), and sometimes food and small objects such as rings, necklaces and watches.
My family attended meetings on a regular basis in Harare and it was at one of these meetings that we experienced the manifestation of vibuthi.
After the meeting we were handing out the offerings of food - i was handing out plastic bags for everyone to use to place there food into. As I was handing one bag to a visitor from Zambia i noticed what i thought was dirt in the bottom of the bag - I told the man concerned that i would get another bag - then we saw what was not dirt but vibuthi growing in the bag until it was half full with the ash.
There was enough for everyone to take some home - I still have a small amount left after some years - but it never seems to disappear entirely!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chirorodziva: Forgotten sleeping giant

This article appeared in the herald newspaper this morning:

ON the outskirts of the City of Chinhoyi lies a huge sacred pool, whose silence is like that of the innards of a grave.The silence as one descends into the intricate network of caves is both eerie and profound, yet the grottos and the huge sleeping pool form a spectacular combination in which reality defies existing tourism hyperbole diction.It is a geomorphological spectre whose grandeur Zimbabwe has failed to market for international tourism recognition. The caves are grossly under marketed that they have largely remained an untapped tourist attraction.When climbing down the steep granite steps it is easy for tourists to imagine approaching an abyss of darkness as light suddenly varnishes. The experience is hair-raising.The caves are a limestone shaft linked by a maze of passages and caves, at the foot of which lies a huge pool whose limpid and translucent gothic water maintains the same level 24/7.Inexplicably, the water defies common meteorological logic by remaining at the same temperature of 22 degrees Celsius 24/7 — every second, every minute, every hour and indeed every day.It is this deep blue pool beneath the sparkling cobalt stone that is known as the "Sleeping Pool.’’Myth and mystery has it that one cannot successfully throw a stone across the seemingly small pool as the sacred spirits that watch over the pool will catch the stone and bestow a curse upon the stone thrower.Oral tradition has it that at the bottom of Sleeping Pool lies immured, the bones of fallen Shona tribe heroes who died after being flung in by Nguni tribe raiders in pre-colonial Zimbabwe.The story is that it was in this pool that Nguni raiders flung their victims of battle to "sleep to eternity" when they fought notorious Shona outlaw Nyamakwere, in pre-colonial Zimbabwe.Prior to the incident Nyamakwere is said to have used the caves as his stronghold from which he killed his victims and threw them in.Nyamkwere was eventually overthrown by Chief Chinhoyi of the NeMakonde dynasty, hence the name of the city Chinhoyi.The Nemakonde (bastardised to Lomagundi by white colonial settlers), who resided in the area and often fell victim to Nguni raiders know the pool less euphemistically as Chirorodziva, the pool of the fallen heroes.Ironically, it is a spitting distance from the caves that the Battle of Chinhoyi- the fierce maiden gun battle between the black nationalists and white Rhodesian settlers marked the beginning of Zimbabwe’s protracted liberation struggle.The caves situated 8 kilometres from the city along the Highway to Kariba and Chirundu are a fascinating geological splendour.The main feature is the limestone cavern formed thousands of years back when the ground collapsed into a sinkhole.The Sleeping Pool is believed to be 172 metres deep with the drivers who have explored deepest, the United States Navy divers have only managed to go as far as 135 metre down.About 58 metres down the pool, there is another tunnel and a third tunnel lower, is yet to be explored.Several underwater passages lead from the Sleeping Pool and explorers have always found their way back to the pool.Its deep clear blue colour makes the poor almost impossible to the photograph successfully. The colour is not a reflection of the sky because it is the same deep blue colour on a cloudy day and at night. Another reason is that the portion of the pool visible from the Dark Cave is situated far from the sinkholes, yet it exhibits the same colour.The pool is blue for the same reason the sky is blue-scattering of light — and this is why it is blue throughout, whether is shade, sun or deep underground.Scientifically, this effect can only be achieved if the water is clear and this can be proved by visitors when they want to find the real surface.The rocks seen under the water are not reflection, as the eye might be fooled to see, but are real rocks underwater. The other fascination is the Dark Cave, which is artificially lit.Climbing in and out of the Dark cave is energy demanding. It is not for the week-kneed.More often that not many people come out of the cave panting, like fish put of the water.A good one-hour is enough for to explore Chinhoyi Caves, with one’s friends or family.Outside the caves is dense vegetation whose lasting beauty is spiced with melodious songs from an assortment of birds.The National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has a picnic ground and camping site next to the caves, where you can enjoy a meal or braai for a modest charge oat Chinhoyi Caves Motel.Today, as tourists visit, the caves are still revered by the local people for being he custodians of their ancestral spirits.With proper marketing, combined national effort and international exposure Zimbabwe could realise serious tourism benefits from the sleeping giant. This is nothing nearer to his in Zimbabwe so the outstanding geological feature is what the Gods have bestowed upon Zimbabwe.lFeedback: isadore.guvamombe@zimpapers.co.zw

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Encounter With ‘Tokoloshes’

This article appeared in today's Standard Newspaper

Saturday, 20 June 2009 21:21
I have heard about “tokoloshes” as creatures that bring fortunes or misfortunes to families. In all those discussions I have ended up even more sceptical. That is why most people crave for an encounter with the malevolent mythical human-like creatures.
Last weekend I went to my village in Mazvihwa in Zvishavane district in the Midlands. I wanted to reconnect with my roots.
On arrival on Friday evening I was greeted with news of the arrival of a “prophet” in the village who had come to conduct a cleansing ceremony. They said it was an awesome spectacle. I was not sure that I was prepared for this sort of thing.
I decided to walk the 5km journey to a mountainous range on Saturday morning where “Prophet” Jeremiah was conducting the cleansing ceremony.
My cousin Peter helped me negotiate the maze of footpaths to the rendezvous.
We met scores of other people on the way — from youths walking energetically to those whose pace was usurped by age.
“I am going to get my problem solved, my son,” a frail old man told me expectantly. I walked past many people who carried their food and water. This was obviously going to be a lengthy process.
We arrived just in time. Peter is a very resourceful young man. He negotiated so I could capture the cleansing ceremony on my digital camera.
A short stout youth in a white bib with stars came back to announce: “You are most welcome to get into the ring and do your business.”
About a thousand people formed a crescent. In the middle were five people who had brought their “bags”. They were lining up to be cleansed of their calamities.
The “prophet” poured some white powder into water that was in a bucket and then conducted a prayer.
Jeremiah then asked the individuals to stand by their bags. We waited with bated breath for Jeremiah was asking the owners to own up to having ‘tokoloshes’ in front of a whole community.
Jeremiah then took his wooden staff and pointed at the bags. He sprinkled “holy water” on the bags.
On approaching the first bag Jeremiah appeared to go into a trance. His assistant, opened the next bag , but it appeared the process went awry. He collapsed, as if struck by something invisible to those of us watching this drama. The others rushed to his rescue. He was able to dip the “tokoloshe” in the “holy water”, rendering it “powerless”.
The remaining bags were checked but nothing was found. It was suggested they had failed to trap the “tokoloshes”.
Fooled or was this real?
We were invited to draw closer to see the “creatures”. The first was a snake — a dead snake, grey in colour and metre-long but curiously wrapped with condoms.
“This snake has just engaged in a sexually activity with a human being,” Jeremiah claimed. “Hmmm,” I wondered.
The next “tokoloshe” was rather bizarre: beaded black stockings in half and garishly decorating a calabash with a carved head of a person.
This was the work of beautiful art turned gory, I muttered to myself. My thoughts were interrupted by an announcement from Jeremiah: “This has blood in it and it survives on human blood.” The cleansing process was repeated several times with spectacular “findings”. The “tokoloshes” were then taken away to be burnt. I followed at a distance, emotions of fear and dismay competing.
One of the men accompanied by his octogenarian mother, his wife and three female members of his family said they had undergone a transformation. There was a sudden change on their faces. They were fresh smiling. It was as if a heavy burden had been lifted off their shoulders.
Peter told me about his experience too. But he could not find a ready explanation.
Jeremiah said he was born Meryward Marara 30 years ago in Mount Darwin, Mashonaland Central. He is married and has two children who live in Gweru.
I left with more questions than answers. I need another take.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Doors opening and closing

We have a serious security problem in Zimbabwe and our house is surrounded inside and out by alarm sensors.
In the early hours of this morning I was awake when I distinctly heard the sound of a wooden door closing. We close all doors before retiring to bed so I became a little fearful that our security system had broken down and someone was in the house.

We went down the hallway and looked in every door - nothing - all was peaceful or was it?

This morning I found two statues that sit on top of a speaker moved and yet the alarms had not gone off in this room!

Is our ghost on the rampage again? Who knows.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tongogara's ghost

Tongogara was killed in a 'car accident' and was reburied in Heroes Acre - on the outskirts of Harare in 1980.

Six days after the Lancaster House Agreement was signed Robert Mugabe, on the Voice of Zimbabwe radio station, conveyed "an extremely sad message" to "all the fighting people of Zimbabwe": the forty one year old Tongogara was dead, killed in a car accident in Mozambique on December 26 1979. Josiah Tungamirai, the ZANLA High Command's political commissar relates that on the night of the fatality, he and Tongogara had been travelling with others in two vehicles from Maputo to Chimoio. Tungamirai said he was in the front vehicle. It was dark and the roads were bad. Tungamirai's car passed a military vehicle that had been carelessly abandoned, with no warning signs at the side of the road. After that, he could no longer see the headlights of the following car in his rear view mirror. Eventually he turned back, and, as he had feared, they found Tongogara's car had struck the abandoned vehicle. Tongogara was sitting in the front passenger seat. Tungamirai told me that he had struggled to lift Tongogara out of the wrecked car. He said that as he was doing so, Tongogara heaved a huge sigh and died in his
Margaret Dongo was one of the last people to see him alive. "We were eighteen girls who were having a function and he came to say a few words to bless the occasion."

ZANU released an undertaker's statement saying his injuries were consistent with a road accident, but no autopsy results or pictures have been released(the undertaker who gave the report was indeed Mr K.J Stokesand not Mr R Silke).

His ghost has been reportedly seen by a number of people in and around the burial place.

It is also said that he haunts the State House in Harare and that this has driven a certain person to antidepressents!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Reps Theatre

No self respecting theatre is without it's resident ghost. Reps in Harare is no exception - I outline below a history of the theatre written by Gillian West who was chairman of the committee for some years.

The Repertory Players have been in existence for over 70 years - proudly flying the theatrical flag. Initially, four people formed a play reading group but in February 1931 performances began at Duthie Hall. Over the next five years, sixteen plays were produced under difficult conditions, with minimal stage facilities, inadequate lighting, uncomfortable seating and no money for improvements!
In 1936 Reps was given the use of the Prince Edward School Beit Hall. The stage was larger and better equipped and patrons were able to hire cushions at 3d each. During their 11 year occupancy, some 38 plays were presented but in 1947 their tenancy was terminated as the Hall was needed for school purposes.

Eventually, accommodation was found in the show grounds, in a ramshackle hall built as a cinema for the RAF in the second world war. There was a small stage, two small dressing rooms, a concrete auditorium with no ceiling and two bucket toilets! Volunteer members worked unceasingly painting, cleaning, decorating and laying more than 2000 concrete blocks to provide a raked auditorium. And then carpeting them. The buckets were replaced by chemical closets. The new home was named the Belvedere Theatre. It seated 240 people and opened in September 1947. The little theatre became immensely popular, mainly because of the improved standard of play presentation. During the Society's 12 year occupancy, 74 plays were produced, mainly to packed houses.

Two men had a profound effect on the fortunes of Reps. The one was George Barnes and the other was Adrian Stanley. (Adrian passed away on 10th August 2006 - read an obituary). In 1952, Reps celebrated its 21st birthday - a time of growth and excitement. Plans to build a new theatre were taking shape. Barney came up with the suggestion that a theatre foundation membership scheme be launched. The idea was to ask 500 people to contribute 50 pounds each. By 1957, the bank showed a healthy balance of 25000 pounds.

The new Reps Theatre on Sam Nujoma Street extension opened to the public in January 1960 with a gala production of Romanov and Juliet. This included a fanfare of trumpets from the BSAP band, incidental music from a section of the municipal orchestra, corsages for every lady in the audience, a formal opening ceremony by the Governor General of the Federation, Lord Dalhousie, and after the show a champagne party in the foyer for the entire audience - a glittering occasion.

Since 1960, Reps has produced over 400 of its own shows, the great majority of them under the directorship of Adrian Stanley. Adrian was appointed as the Society's first paid director and he took up his post in 1964, wasting no time in bringing Reps out of the financial doldrums. Records were broken and the future looked optimistic.

The Repertory Players is a unique amateur society operating with paid staff - a theatre manager, secretary, book-keeper, wardrobe mistress, workshop, security, bar and cleaning staff. But all actors, actresses and technical personnel are unpaid volunteers. Many valuable members have left for pastures new, but this is not a new situation. Reps will survive though new acting and backstage members would be warmly welcomed to help us through the next 70 years.
Acknowledgement: Gillian West, Chairman, 2003.

The resident ghost is George - and I am trying to find out more about him. I did have one encounter some years ago - my father was directing the National Ballet and produced a production of La Sylphide with my mother playing the Sylph. She had to go off stage on one side and appear on the other - on several occations - it was quite a run without any hindrances but on one particular occasion she found the door between the back of the stage and the wings not only shut but mysteriously locked!!!!!!! No one had been in the area and the only person with the keys was in another part of the building! Was it George?

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Ghost smell

Well, the ghost smell has hit our house again! Last evening - before it was dark - I came into the drawing room and was met by a stench that smelt like someone had vomited in the room - there had been no one in the house except my husband and I.

I searched all over the room - the dining room - the hall - the smell was everywhere - and no sign of where it came from.

Suddenly it disappeared - the air was fresh again.

Recently we have smelt burning toast - I hope the ghost smells are not getting worse!

Ghosts or just nature?

The farm we liven on outside Marendellas had a number of burials in the hills. These were mainly dated to 1914 and the flu epidemic.

On of particular interest was situated in a cleft in a rock formation.

The cleft had been filled in by rocks and the burials were in the centre of the rock fill.

being members of the Prehistory Society this interested us and we obtained permission to excavate the site.

My husband entered at the top and began removing rocks until he came to a large piece of beautifully woven blue cloth (blue is used in burials by the Shona people). Then he came across a lovely carved wooden bowl lying on top of two skeletons.

The skeletons were buried in the fetal position. We carefully removed a couple of the bones to see size and possible cause of death. The skeletons were in good condition and the bones were well formed and appeared to be above the size of a normal Shona - in fact they must have belonged to individuals over the height of 6 feet!

We re interred the bones and placed all the items we had discovered back in the grave and having sealed it carefully we climbed down from the rock face.

We suddenly noticed that everything had gone completely quiet - no wind, no birds singing, no insect noises. The atmosphere was electric - it was as if someone was showing their displeasure at us invading the grave. I wonder who they were?

We did not go back to the spot for some weeks and when we did - all was normal again until we reached close to the rock face - when again all when quiet.

We made a hasty retreat not wanting to offend the spirits any further!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lake Kariba was built in the 1950's to provide a source of power to Zambia and what was then Rhodesia.

The lake is now 140 miles long and up to 20 miles in width; it covers an area of 2,150 square miles and has a maximum depth of 320 feet, with an average depth of 95 feet.

The name “Kariba” is derived for the Tonga word karive, meaning “trap”. It is well named as the river has been trapped by the dam across the gorge.
It is here that the legendary serpent creature Nyaminyami is said to live.

The BaTonga, who have lived in the region for centuries, say he is the god of the river.

When the Tonga people were forced to relocate to higher ground by the Kariba Dam Project in 1950, they summoned the help of Nyaminyami. They believed their river god would never allow the dam to be built and they would be able to return to their age old villages.

The designer of the dam committed suicide after one of his dams broke killing hundreds of people.

In 1957 Nyaminyami struck, causing the worst floods ever known to Zambezi, the flood washed away most of the partly build dam and killed several of the white workers. Their bodies disappeared mysteriously. The foreman of the construction crew was told by the village elders that Nyaminyami had caused the disaster and in order to appease his wrath a sacrifice would need to be made. The foremen agreed to the sacrifice. A white calf was slaughtered and floated onto the river. The next morning, according to this Tonga legend, the calf was gone and the workers’ bodies were in its place.

The next rainy season brought further floods nearly as bad as the previous year, however the project survived and the river was eventually dammed. In the 1960’s the generators were switched on and the supply of electricity flowed into the region. It is believed that Nyaminyami and his mate where separated by the dam and the frequent earthquakes and tremors felt in the area since the construction of the dam are caused by Nyaminyami in an attempt to crumble the wall and be reunited with his partner. Earthquakes of up to 5 on the Richter scale have been felt as far away as Harare - and they continue to be experienced today.
Is Nyaminyumi -real or a legend and what about the stories that have been told about him and his mate? Have the local people invented him to explain strange occurrences on and around the lake?

To be on the lake at dusk is both a wonderful but strange experience with the skeletons of trees long dead from exposure to the water sticking up from the depths below.

Every September the town of Kariba holds a festival in honour of Nyaminyami. He is very noticeable in Kariba, and a statue of him overlooks the wall that caused so much heartache for not only him and his wife, but for the people and the animals of the Zambezi Valley.

With the possibility of a massive flood in 2009 - will Nyaminumi surface to cause destruction in Zimbabwe? I never fail to wonder how the dam still stands today - with the crumbling structure having to have concrete poured into it on a regular basis and the control room so unstable that visits for maintenance are limited to a short period only.

The spirit of the Lake lives on - each year taking lives by boating and plane accidents which seem to have no explanation.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Did I really see them?

Two of my very best friends passed away some time ago - they were best friends as well and I miss them dreadfully.

K and L - the sort of friends you could laugh and cry with and share your innermost thoughts.

I was thinking of K - died so young and suddenly - as I sat on the bench she gave me for the garden before she left Zimbabwe.

The bench is at the side of the swimming pool and I often go there to think and meditate - looking into the pool almost using it as a crystal ball.

I saw a mist rise from the pool and before I knew it I was talking to L - she appeared as a head and shoulders figure and he head movements and laughter were just as they had been when she was alive. we talked on may subjects including her Husband's remarriage - which she was pleased about - and a dear friend of our who was ill. She told me this friend would not live for 18 months.

Suddenly L - our dear friend who had been stung to death by bees - appeared - she was laughing and joking as she had done in life.

The whole instance must have lasted for about 15 minutes - until they faded away back into the depths of the pool.

An interested and enlightening experience - I hope it happens again

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The ghost moves on - but stays put!

So our friendly ghost who continuously amuses us with its pranks........Is amuse the word - frustrate might be better..........has now started its tricks at our next door house as well!

The wife was a hairdresser and wig maker and does her own hair - as would be logical she has a hair drier and has been using the same one for a few years with no problems.

This last week it would not work - her husband looked at it and discovered that the live and earth wires had been swapped!!!!!

No one had been in the house except the family and the hair drier appeared not to have been opened??? Very strange - perhaps our ghost is getting bored as there are only my husband and myself to spook at the moment!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Marendellas Ghost

We lived in a farm cottage just outside Marondellas (now Marondera) in the early 1970s.

It was a one story house which had been built onto on a number of occasions and it had a lovely beamed ceiling in the living room.

We had a Labrador dog - which sat with us every evening.

We had not been in the house very long when we noted that the dog's hair would stand up on end and she would growl while looking at the door to the guest wing of the house.

We could see nothing but she was obviously very agitated by what she saw or heard.

On enquiring of our landlord we discovered that the house had been built for her parents and her father had passed away in the house.

Once we knew who was visiting us we would invite him in when the dog growled and soon even the dog got used to our ghostly visitor

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A recent visit by a witch doctor

This recent encounter with a witch doctor came a year or so back. My father's house had been robbed and we came to the conclusion this has something to do with our ex gardener who was a Maroi - or bad witch doctor.

We called in the relation of a friend's domestic worker who was a powerful nyanga.

He arrived in the evening - I had no idea how memorable an evening it would be.

He changed into his 'working clothes' - skins and feathers and we all sat down on the drawing room floor while he threw the bones.

After deliberation he asked us to light a fire in the fireplace and to bring a heat proof dish. We provided an earthenware baking dish.

He proceeded to place an assortment of herbs and other material in the dish and then took a stick and lighted it from the fire in the fireplace. With the flame he lit the herbs which began to smolder and let off a sweet fragrant smell. We the accompanied him as he carried this through the house entering each room in turn - including the bathrooms! he was chanting and almost in a trance.

We then went outside the house and walked around it completely and then entered the cottage which had been robbed - again we entered the rooms and the chanting continued.

He now knelt down on the lawn outside the front of the cottage and buried the remaining 'herb' mixture in the earth.

I must say we did not have any trouble for some time after this.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Nyanga meetings

We awoke one morning to find a baby dove with its feet tied with string made from bark.

We immediately knew it was witchcraft and after freeing the dove and placing it in a cage called Sunday to get rid of the spell.

He came with his normal 'equipment', threw the bones and announced that our ex - gardener wanted our domestic worker's job and was trying to kill him.

An appropriate mixture of herbs and liquid was made, his fly whisk put into action and the mixture offered to our domestic who had to had to eat some of this. The remainder of the mixture was scattered around the garden.

We were told not to let the ex - gardener onto the premises.

Our Nyanga told us that all would be alright as he had broken the spell. we never saw the gardener again and our domestic worker is still alive after many years.
What has to be remembered is that these are day to day occurrences in Zimbabwe - sometimes the witchcraft comes from living beings, sometimes from the spirit world.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Getting the house protected

We have on several occasions employed the skills of a Nyanga or witch doctor to protect our house.

Each time it has been a new and interesting experience.

The first time we were having a spate of strange occurrences - stones falling on the roof, strange noises at night and objects disappearing - our friendly, local witch doctor came to the house and spread out a cloth on our lawn. He proceeded to cast the 'bones' to find out what was causing our problem. According to him it was a powerful Nyanga living down the road from us.

The witch doctor made small packets from cloth with a filling of herbs and small stones. These he buried in holes at all four corners of our plot. We seemed to have a more peaceful few months but this was not to be the end...........

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What do we have in the house?

Another strange occurrence.

Our kitchen hot tap would not work - it looked like the geyser was blocked - or the pipes.

The only way to access the geyser is to go up into the roof - an operation that requires us to bring in a long ladder - get out torches and climb around inside the roof.

My husband went up in the roof dreading what he might find.

When he investigated he found that the tap feeding water to the geyser had been firmly turned off!

No one had been in the roof and it would be impossible to turn off the tap without accessing it this way.

So who was responsible?

The poltergeist?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is Great Zimbabwe haunted?

I have visited the Ruins of great Zimbabwe on many occassions. One in particular is of interest.

My husband, parents and I travelled down to Masvingo with the intention of visiting the Conical Tower - pictured here - at midnight and discover if we could feel any presence at all.

We had a light supper but nothing to drink and proceeded to the Conical Tower (in those days one had no fences or gates on the site). We took up positions around the tower and waited.

It was a lovely moonlit night and we would have been able to see anything that appeared.

There was nothing - we waited longer - but nothing - not even a bat!!! Certainly no ghosts. We left the site at about 2:30 am - rather disappointed!

Perhaps we should go back when the moon is hidden? Who knows.