Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
A 99-year-old granny from Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North left villagers shocked after she moved her body just as she was about to be buried.
Mrs Nkazanyana Ncube from Kwine village under Chief Gampu who was buried yesterday, ‘resurrected’ twice as villagers attemped to bury her.
She died at her homestead and was not certified dead by a doctor.
Mrs Ncube is said to have died on Saturday at about 3AM and resurrected as fellow villagers were about to bury her the same day forcing them to take her back into the house.
Villagers who had taken her ‘body’ which was wrapped in a blanket to the grave, noticed movements as they prepared to lower the body into the grave and immediately suspended the burial.
At about 1AM yesterday, they discovered her body was ‘cold again’ and when they resumed burial preparations, she started moving her body again.
She finally passed on at around 6AM yesterday leading to her burial at around 11AM.
Relatives said they did not panic as they believed that as a traditionalist her ‘resurrection’ was being triggered by ancestors.
A Chronicle news crew visited Kwine village yesterday and villagers spoke of their shock saying nothing like that had been experienced before.
Family spokesperson Mr Thabson Ndlovu said his aunt died and ‘resurrected’ twice.
“She has been unwell for quite a long time. Besides old age, she suffered a stroke that affected her right side. The situation deteriorated a few days ago as she could no longer speak. On Saturday at about 3AM she died. We started burial arrangements, we informed the village head and burial preparations started as villagers gathered and started digging her grave. As we were about to bury her, we noticed movements of the blanket she was wrapped in. The ‘body’ had been removed from the house and placed just near the grave. That is when one of the villagers said there was movement in the blanket. She seemed breathing,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He said the body was taken into the house where she died again at about 1AM and when they resumed burial preparations, they again noticed movements of the blanket confirming she was alive.
Mr Ndlovu said at 6am they were planning to take her to the local clinic.
“We were very worried as we didn’t know what was happening. We were planning to take her to the clinic and we had even hired a car to take her to hospital from the clinic. Normally, it’s elderly women who assess and make pronouncements on deaths but following those two episodes even us men entered the house to check for ourselves. When she was pronounced dead, her body was really cold, but later you would feel that it was warm, confirming that she was alive. So, we really got puzzled,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He however said villagers did not panic when Mrs Ncube rose from the dead.
“We did not panic partly because we believe her resurrection was triggered by amadlozi as it happened when we were conducting rituals. She was a traditionalist possessed by ancestral spirits,” he said.
A villager Mrs Tede Moyo said it was her first time to hear of someone dying before rising again.
“This is really worrying. I can imagine if she was in a coffin, she could have been buried alive. This left most us shocked that someone can be confirmed dead when he or she is alive. We’ve never heard of such a miracle before. If it wasn’t for some minor works that had to be carried out at the grave before burial, she could have been buried alive,” said Mrs Ncube.
Kwine village head Mr Elijah Vundla said he was convinced that Mrs Ncube died and rose from the dead.
“We were even planning to consult sangomas because this is not something that we are accustomed to. We thought that since she was traditionalist, there were things that needed to be done. But she then died peacefully this morning but we had to delay burial just to be sure,” said Mr Vundla.
Acting Mpilo Central Hospital clinical director Dr Xolani Ndlovu, said it was difficult to express a medical opinion on such a matter because the body was not taken to a health facility.
He said medically, the person was not dead but added that in old age there may be fluctuations that may result in one not being conscious.
“So, in medical terms, we can’t say the person was dead. There is no proof. Clinically if someone is dead, there is no brain activity. Unlike the heart, if the brain stops working, it can’t be restarted,” said Dr Ndlovu.
It’s quite normal in old people and those people who suffer from liver failure or liver cirrhosis. Even people who are diabetic can suffer from the same problem due to the fluctuating sugar levels which may leave one unconscious. So, when sugar levels fluctuate, a person can easily drift into unconsciousness and consciousness. In this case probably she lost consciousness and had a very low heart beat which made her relatives and villagers believe that she was dead and then bury her. This is why we encourage that qualified doctors should be the only ones to certify deaths.”