Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
ONE of the most talked about mysteries in Gwanda Town is of a mysterious creature which reportedly lies hidden in Mtshabezi River near Mtshabezi Bridge that is said to have claimed the lives of a number of men.
This mysterious being is blamed for a number of drowning accidents. According to residents from Gwanda Town the target of this creature has of late become men that go to the river to bath.
Some think that the creature could be a mermaid while others think otherwise saying its mannerisms do not fit those of a mermaid. Some residents from the town working with some churches have decided to engage the services of a prophet to unravel the mystery.
Efforts are underway to engage a Gwanda based prophet from the Zion Apostolic Church in Central Africa, Prophet Mehluli Moyo who is known for solving a number of mysteries in Matabeleland South Province, mostly in Gwanda District.
Gogo Meltah Banda who is the Gwanda Zinatha treasurer said the problem which was being experienced at Mtshabezi River started in the 1970s with school pupils that were mysteriously drowning in the river.
“This problem has been ongoing for a long time now but it has never been investigated. It started in the 1970s with male learners that were mysteriously drowning in the river.
At that time pupils from Mount Cazalet Primary School which is close to Mtshabezi River used to go there to collect water as the school didn’t have water. While there, learners would claim to have seen a fish in the water and then they will drown. We used to get these reports from other learners who would survive the ordeal and then go back to school to inform their teachers,” she said.
“Now it’s suspected that this creature is now targeting men that will be bathing at the river. Each time someone drowns in the river there are usually a series of funerals which follow which are recorded in the town. It’s like that drowning incident would have sparked or ignited some evil spirit which hovers around the town.”
Gogo Banda said what made the drowning cases suspicious was that all victims were men. She said the river was not too deep which made it difficult to understand how a grown-up man could drown while bathing close to the edge of the river.
She said bodies of all the victims were later retrieved which ruled out chances that the creature was a mermaid. She said there was need to investigate the matter so that it could be resolved once and for all as it was bothering residents.
“The way this creature operates is beyond my knowledge. What we are used to are incidents where a person disappears in a river because of an ancestral calling but a person doesn’t die. A ritual is conducted by the family of the missing person and the person comes back to them alive.
In this particular case where people die mysteriously, I also don’t know what kind of ancestral spirit operates in this way,” she said.
A Gwanda pastor from the Zion Apostolic Church in Central Africa Michael Ndlovu said when he arrived in Gwanda in the 1980s, he found residents complaining about mysterious deaths along the river. He said this year about three people had mysteriously drowned in the river.
Pastor Ndlovu said they had resolved to invite a renowned prophet from his church to look into the matter.
“There are men who are mostly gold panners from nearby mines who go to take a bath along Mtshabezi River just close to Mtshabezi Bridge. Other people go to the river to collect water or to wash their vehicles. A number of them have fallen victim to this creature.
“We have therefore seen it best to engage someone to look into the matter and see how best it can be resolved. We are working on modalities to invite a prophet from my church who has helped a number of communities to deal with their spiritual problems.
We have to go through the correct procedures and inform the relevant authorities,” he said.
Prophet Moyo said he would visit the area and pray so that the Holy Spirit would reveal whether it was an ancestral matter or an act of witchcraft. He said from there he would be informed on how to proceed with the matter.
Prophet Moyo said if it was an act of witchcraft then he could remove the creature and if it was an ancestral issue then appropriate people will be engaged to conduct a ritual to appease the ancestors. He said from there a ritual will be expected to be conducted once a year with the knowledge of the town’s leadership.
“What is puzzling is that even though people are aware that place is dangerous and has claimed a number of lives they still go back knowing the danger which may befall them.
Whatever is in the water could be luring people there in order to take lives. If it’s an act of witchcraft it could be the doing of an evil person who planted something in the water in order to gain wealth in exchange for human lives,” he said.
“This mystery has never been investigated thoroughly. Every time someone drowns people call for the matter to be investigated but after a short time they relax. If given an opportunity I can get to the bottom of this matter.”
Prophet Moyo said he once intervened in Halale Primary School in Nathisa area in Kezi where goblins were terrorising teachers and since he removed them, he had not received any complaints from the school.
He said he also assisted the community of Garanyemba where he removed a big snake from a dam where people were mysteriously drowning. Prophet Moyo said he recently assisted at Mtandawenema Primary School in Gwanda where a baboon was terrorising teachers and learners. He said he had also cleansed several homesteads in [email protected]