The Chewa People — originally from Malawi — are one of many ethnic groups that constitute Zimbabwe’s population.In the 20th century, they began trekking to the then Southern Rhodesia to work on white-run farms and mines.They brought along a cultural package rich in tradition and practices that have made Zimbabwe a truly colourful and wondrous place to live.
And a few of them brought a brand of juju that locals had never encountered.Strange tales involving the use of juju are common in mining areas such as Hwange, Mashava and Zvishavane where many migrant workers reside.At one major gold mine, locals say an elderly machine operator of Chewa origin “personalised” the equipment, meaning no one else could operate it.
This machine, according to those who grew up at the mine, would develop inexplicable faults each time someone else tried to use it.It is said a driver once suffered temporary insanity when he tried to use the “fenced” machine, and even mechanics could not make the engine roar.
Equally mysterious was how the machine would function properly once the senior citizen took over.Tractor and long-distance haulage truck drivers are also said to possess the magical ability to “secure” their vehicles.
In 2014, it was reported that a police officer manning a roadblock on the Harare-Masvingo Highway lost consciousness after encountering a “baboon” on the driver’s seat of a haulage truck.
In the meantime, a man — presumably the truck driver — was fast asleep in the cabin.Sekuru Friday Chisanyu, president of the Zimbabwe National Practitioners’ Association, says: “I interact with traditional healers from all over Africa. It is known that some people are capable of using such animals as baboons to magically work for them.”
Sekuru Chisanyu relates the story of a mine collapse in Zvishavane.
Though a number of people were inside when the mine caved in, some of them were found sitting at a safe distance away from the site!How they teleported from the shaft remains a mystery.Sekuru Chisanyu says it is possible that “baboons” and not the workers had been in the shaft.
Mr Beaven Murapa, a retired long-distance haulage truck driver, believes he came face to face with a juju-related occurrence during his working days.
“A long-distance truck plunged into a gorge at Makuti, along the Harare-Kariba Highway and I was among the first people to arrive at the scene.
“We went down the gorge to investigate, though we had already concluded that the driver must have died given the seriousness of the crash.
“However, to our astonishment, the driver of the truck was nowhere near the wreckage. We searched and searched, but couldn’t find him. The ‘missing’ driver only arrived later.”Someone – or rather something – else had been driving the truck.