Horror during witch-hunting ritual

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    Ms Margaret Dlamini (69) who is a kraal head at Number One Village’s B Section near Nyamandlovu growth point suffered severe burns after a bottle of a concoction mixed with an acidic liquid burst and spilled its contents on her during a ritual ceremony carried out to exorcise and identify witches in the area by tsikamutandas.

    When the Sunday News crew arrived at Ms Dlamini’s homestead yesterday evening, her family and neighbours were still in a state of shock while she experienced difficulties in talking and moving as a result of the wounds she suffered during the ordeal.

    The tsikamutandas have been camping at a house belonging to a civil servant (name supplied) in Nyamandlovu for over two months and carrying out witchcraft exorcising ritual routines at surrounding villages on a daily basis.

    “Though I am in severe pain my child I am prepared to tell you what transpired. It all started on Tuesday when the leader of the tsikamutanda asked to exorcised the village of witchcrafts. He insisted that as one of the elders the exercise was going to beginning with me.

    “I was asked to produce all ritual ornaments and traditional elements I possessed in front of villagers that were gathered at the homestead were the tsikamutandas operate from. After conducting some rituals the tsikamutandas’ leader said I wasn’t a witch but there were some people that were bewitching me and my mentally retarded son with the hope of taking over my reigns,’’ Ms Dlamini said.

    After two days (Thursday), the kraal head was asked to attend another ritual as it was said, "some villagers were not convinced that her witchcraft was not exposed".

    “I was made to return to the tsikamutandas again after it was alleged that some villagers were not satisfied about the first exorcising exercise. This time I was asked to shake a bottle filled with some concoction and everyone was told that if it burst it meant that I was a witch.

    “I shook the bottle for sometime but it did not burst then one of the tsikamutandas grabbed it from me and shook it and then placed it on my womb and it burst burning me all over the body including the face,’’ Ms Dlamini said.

    After suffering severe burns Ms Dlamini reported the case to the police and later went to the clinic for treatment where she was transferred to a hospital for medical attention.

    “I only received a bit of treatment from the clinic but they wrote a transfer for me since they said my condition needed a doctor.

    “Since I don’t have enough money to pay for medication at hospitals in Bulawayo I will be going to Victoria Falls tomorrow (today) where my bills will be paid by one of my children who is based there,’’ she said.

    The Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Obert Mpofu who is also the Member of Parliament for Umguza constituency of which Nyamandlovu falls under, has been on record discouraging people from seeking the services of tsikamundas whom he said were only out to swindle them of their worth.

    “We don’t know what to do with these people they are causing despondency and disharmony in our area through their witch hunting expeditions and I think its high time authorities come to our rescue and chase them away before the situation really gets out of hand,’’ one of the villagers, Mr Cyprian Mpofu.

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