Zimbabwe News

Primary School in Murehwa fails to open for term 2 amid satanism claims

Muchinjike Primary School in Murehwa District did not open for the 2024 second term for more than a week due to disturbances linked to alleged Satanism.

As reported by H-Metro, school authorities hired a Chitungwiza witch doctor to cleanse the school which was expected to finally open for the second term this Thursday, 16 May.

The traditional healer, known as Mbuya Nacholo, has been camped at the school for three days, spending the days in classrooms.

Muchinjike Primary School has an enrolment of 700 pupils.

The move to hire the sangoma reportedly divided the teaching staff, with the deputy head, Florence Gavajena, and her husband, Samuel Ndarera, and an unidentified senior teacher, against the decision.

The local community, through the School Development Committee (SDC), hired Gogo Nacholo, sparking protests from other villagers, who were against the move.

The cost of hiring Gogo Nacholo, whose real name is Rita Ruwa, has been passed on to the parents who were reportedly charged US$40 each.

SDC secretary, Priscilla Marutawana, told H-Metro that several parents, whose children are pupils at the school, pushed the committee to hire the tradional healer. She said:

Reports of a Satanism scare started some time in November last year at this school.

Vana vaingodonha donha, vachirotomoka, vachidoma mazita evamwe vevarairidzi.

We tried to ignore it but we were later convinced following an accident that left some local social soccer players injured.

One of the villagers, believed to have been initiated into satanism, escaped unhurt from the accident and people began to suspect that something was wrong.

We engaged Gogo Nacholo at a fee and one of the teachers fought us through her legal practitioner.

The headmaster was fined three beasts by a traditional leader for accusing the teacher of witchcraft.

That did not stop us from allowing the sangoma to cleanse the school.

She cleansed all the classes and we have communicated with kraal heads, as well as the ward councillor, to inform parents to bring their children for lessons tomorrow (today).

We cannot fold our hands and watch our children being initiated into satanism, no, such teachers have no place here.

Gogo Nacholo confirmed to H-Metro conducting the cleansing ceremony at the school, saying she knew the school headmaster, Daniel Mudzamiri, before this incident. She said:

First to consult me was the school headmaster, who visited my shrine at Stoneridge Park, sometime last year, when his daughter was attacked by satanism.

I helped him and his daughter got well and I want to believe that he is the one who introduced the SDC to me for the cleansing ceremony.

Vakandisumudza ndikaita basa vakazondipa nickname yekuti combine harvester.

I never pinpointed any teacher of practicing witchcraft but some unceremoniously left the school after I started my cleansing.

Witchcraft beliefs in Zimbabwe have deep roots and continue to play a significant role in the cultural and spiritual landscape despite modernisation and religious shifts.

Witchcraft in Zimbabwe is associated with various aspects of life, including power/politics, economic activities (kuromba), agriculture (divisi), and sexuality (runyoka and mubobobo).

The Witchcraft Suppression Act in Zimbabwe, formerly known as Chapter 9:19, aimed to suppress the practice of pretended witchcraft.

According to a report, the Act was repealed in 2006, and its repeal acknowledged the cultural significance of witchcraft beliefs and practices in Zimbabwe, especially in rural areas where such beliefs persist.

The government acknowledges that supernatural powers exist – but prohibits the use of magic to cause someone harm.

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