BY NKOSENTSHA KHUMALO
A TRADITIONAL leader in Kezi, Chief Nyangazonke has summoned a tsikamutanda (witch hunter) operating in the area to explain his activities.
Tsikamutandas are reportedly wreaking havoc in Matabeleland South province, especially in Filabusi, where they are paid with goats and other property after “cleansing” villagers of evil spirits. In Maqhina village, Kezi, a couple allegedly summoned a witch hunter to perform a ceremony at their homestead after it was told that the husband, Ustance Bajila (70), also known as Seka Marsh was sleeping with a python disguised as his wife. Bajila then summoned a witch hunter from Gwanda known as Booster to cast the evil spirits at their homestead.
Witnesses told Southern Eye that Booster then went on to “cleanse” over five families in the village, accusing them of witchcraft and demanding livestock as payment for his services.
“This is happening in villages under village head Khiwa Ngwenya and Chief Nyangazonke. Booster first dug at the cattle kraal and took out a red hairy blooded horn alleging that it was a tokoloshe (goblin). He claimed that Bajila was being haunted by his mother’s evil spells, and that there was a huge snake in his mother’s family that needed to be cast because it was the reason behind his sickness, said one witness.
“A hidden trunk was unearthed and burnt together with a mattress. Booster then captured a huge snake which appeared like a black mamba. He gripped it on the mouth before incinerating it. He went to another homestead where he unearthed from the graveyard a calabash with hair. He charged the villagers goats and cattle after removing the ‘spells’.”
At another homestead, Booster alleged that an evil spell had been tormenting the family for years.
Bajila confirmed to Southern Eye that the tsikamutanda had performed some rituals at his homestead saying: “The only thing I can tell you is that Booster really helped me a lot. I was not feeling well and was sleeping with animals. My body was very weak.
“What Booster did for me is very unbelievable because he managed to reveal a huge python which had been sharing the bed with me and I was assuming it to be my wife. I am now feeling far much better.”
Mkuwa area villager, Artwell Sibanda, said the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority should investigate the ill-treatment of snakes by the tsikamutandas who are breaching the Wildlife Act.
“The cleansing rituals are questionable. The python is a highly protected snake and National Parks should investigate where the man got the snake from.
“It is frightening that some people are taking snakes from the bush and using them to cheat unsuspecting villagers,” Sibanda said.
Chief Nyangazonke said a group of tsikamutandas, which had been apprehended by the villagers, ran away leaving its tools of trade which it claimed to be goblins. He said they also left a Honda Fit vehicle behind.
“These witchcraft activities are the root cause of conflicts among villagers. These witch hunters must be registered and villagers must understand their characters. I have summoned this tsikamutanda (Booster) to explain to the chief’s court who gave him permission to perform the rituals,” Chief Nyangazonke said.