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Advocate Miriam Tose Majome: noch etwas, noch etwas!!

16 Mar 2020 at 07:20hrs | Views
I read your articles with great interest because I know there is a message always for me to take home with. Your last two articles; "Public Drinking and Educated Fools" and "Black Business and Superstition" stand out, having read them to death I thought "Black Business and Superstition" need a response or I just wish to complement what you have already highlighted. I am not critiquing both articles at all, in retrospect I took great interest in the messages of both, telling what I already know about my dear country: Zimbabwe.

Having read your article: Black Business and Superstition, my feedback was to respond to it by taking it on as the flip side of the coin: lamenting the culture of Christian Faith in our communities. We know it all that Christianity came to Africa packaged with colonialism. But all countries in Africa have been liberated, but what remained intact is the worshipping of the foreign God: Christianity. There is nothing that has destroyed the African race as the culture of Christianity in our societies. To form a church in Zimbabwe is business itself, there is a lot of money made in churches. Be it Magaya in Zimbabwe or Bushiri from Malawi and many more: Prophet Makandiwa; the style of swindling gullible citizens of their last dollar remains unchallenged by the governments of either Zimbabwe, or South Africa and elsewhere.

I will not elaborate this argument about Christianity in Africa further because it will need more research to write about it effectively and eloquently: never scatter shots such a hot topic. Instead I will complement Black Business and Superstition. As you put is quite rightly, even our educated elite in the country believe in magic. We sincerely think that we Africans have hidden science that can make western science almost impossible to comprehend how everything happens. But we are so stuck in this belief that magic is there, casting evil spirits to somebody far away is possible. Casting an evil spell in the evening or in the ungodly hours of the night is possible to kill the targeted persons or the whole family if it was the target for witchcraft.

Growing up, we heard stories of African businesspeople who are successful in their businesses as people who possessed "tikoloshes" that boost the business to make it a success. Curiously too, it happens in the real sense that the African businesspeople; yesterday and today, seek such higher powers from the ngangas/inyanga for such medicine or charms to boost the businesses. There are real stories of businesspeople who have killed siblings or relatives or even strangers: removed body parts recommended by the Ngangas to bring with to make charms. Grocery stores and Bus businesses were the most common African businesses they could engage on back then and these were businesses perceived to successfully operate using body parts or body fluids of victims aptly used as charms to boost the businesses.

When a child goes missing in our communities today, already it rings in almost everybody's mind that that child will not be found alive but dead with missing body parts. In most cases they are found dead with missing parts. When dead bodies are found with missing parts, it feeds into our suspicion and beliefs that indeed witchcraft is real. And again, it has become business itself to get human body parts for businesspeople who will need them to get a "living charms" or goblins manufactured by the ngangas/inyanga for the purpose of success in businesses. These charms will be ritually put by the ngangas in the business centre to boost production or sales or whatever the business is about.

There are numerous recent stories on Bulawayo24 about child abuse from fathers and uncles or relatives even strangers who have been told to go and have sex with their daughters to boost production in their businesses. Stupidly enough, they will steep that low to get rich. If the successful business crumbled for several reasons, people would whisper and say: aha the charm has expired, or the medicine has passed its sale-by-date and it needs renewals. The ngangas will tell their clients too that after such a time they must come back to renew the contract: renew the charms that feeds on human parts. This will mean killing yet another human being to get those body parts needed by the ngangas: business per se. While the ngangas are in business, the businesspersons are also in business. Their relationship is symbiotic: they depend on one another as such.

Who does not know stories of crying-like-sounds coming from a bus or from the stores of businesspersons? "Never go near those stores or buses at night because the goblins tend to wonder outside the shop premises looking for whatever." Who does not know the stories of businesspeople who became so broke and the "tokoloshes" will need their share of those human body parts it nurtures with ever to function its duties of making businessman rich?

Curiously we believe these stories. We grew up hearing these narratives day by day. According to African beliefs, there is no successful businessman without charms and "live tokoloshes" that will assist in the success of the business. It is for this reason that successful businesspersons are not considered normal people because of the magic they use to get successful and rich. We even believe that any African business will go broke at some stage they use charms and live goblins to boost their trading. The goblin demand for human body parts may not be sustainable. When the goblin revenges its death to the family. We all believe this back of beyond nonsense.

Miri, please allow me to touch yet another aspect of our malpractices evident in our societies before I can pen off. The newspapers are replete with cases of our old people hacked to death because they were "proven" to be witches by the headman or chief in the area. People who wonder at night are witches bewitching innocent villagers. There is a growing number of old people suffering from dementia, Alzheimer or Parkinson diseases. These diseases do not exist in our cultures and societies, they say but they do, we do not know. Our aged citizens do suffer from such diseases but unbeknown to their immediate relatives. At night they go outside for a pee, after that they will find it challenging to locate where the sleeping hut is. They will wonder around looking for the hut in most cases naked. Whoever sees them wondering around will automatically say with "evidence" that the elderly woman or man was found naked wondering around at the wee hours of the night. A kangaroo court will be assembled, and the older person will be unanimously found guilty of witchcraft. She or he will not be able to speak due to advanced illness. He or she may mumble words without meaning, and that too is evidence of witchcraft.

Because of severely declined cognitive ability to comprehend immediate situations like time and space, their state of minds will dwell on what may have happened not so long ago: they will think of most vivid incidences such as going to the family cemetery to bury a relative, so she/he will then make his way to the cemetery in the middle of the night. Again, if she/he is found wondering in a place like a family cemetery dead at night: that too is evidence of witchcraft no less. A cemetery is not a place to be visited at the wee hours of the night. Such citizens are hacked to death. It is death sentence for them that will be done in the glare of all the villagers to see as warning of the consequences of engaging in witchcraft. Dear Miriam Majome, this still happens today in the second Millennium and in our country, Zimbabwe.

Who ever said Zimbabwean are the most educated people in Africa is not true by all account? Our thinking is as medieval as it was back then despite the science enlightenment all in abundance inside the country itself. How many Zimbabwean scientists do we have in respected global institutions? Why is witchcraft so entrenched, running deep in our psyche, capturing us spectacularly to be mere simpletons in our judgements without scientific evidence. In your article you also mentioned that witchcraft has its articles in our constitution!!! I rest my case.

I was talking to an educated Zimbabwean not so long ago about Cyclone Idai. She said without winking her eyes that Zimbabwean Cyclone Idai is pure magic from Chipinge. It is the work of evil spirits. (To this day most people in Zimbabwe think that Chipinge is where real Juju comes from.) White stones were seen where the root or passage of the Cyclone devastation took place right up to the Indian Ocean. To say or to mention climate change is the result of Cyclone Idai is to invite ridicule, I was found a laughable, gullible case that has lived in Europe for so long and has lost all that makes our societies in Zimbabwe tick.

Miri, I wish I could go on giving you some more examples regarding our beliefs in our societies. If I had time, I would talk about women in Zimbabwe who still believe in "ku tightena ma va*inal canals to this day, a medieval practice. This too is a belief that has serious consequences for the health of the woman. I will leave this topic for another day because it deviates from the original sequence. It shall be an article that needs practice-based evidence ever to write it effectively. 

Please keep on writing dear Sister. Your topics are what Zimbabwe societies need today, thought-provocative and inviting many citizens to think. Let's talk about violence and the root causes in our societies. Something fundamental must be done by you in the legal practice, educationists, psychologists, politicians, human rights activists, historians and many more disciplines: violence has become a culture and if left unaddressed it will have serious repercussions for the coming generations.
Source - Nomazulu Thata
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