Churches attack sangomas
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Church leaders described traditional healers, popularly known as n'angas or sangomas, as agents of the devil.
One of the dead was a traditional healer who was in the midst of working on a client when the blast went off.
The once peaceful Ndororo Street in Chitungwiza's Zengeza 2 suburb is now a hub of activity as curious Zimbabweans take turns to visit the scene of the blast.
As first reported by the Daily News, a bomb is the most likely cause of the explosion which killed traditional healer Speakmore Mandere, an infant and three others who included a soldier and an ex-policeman.
The blast left close to 20 families homeless.
Touched by the plight of the families now living in tents donated by Red Cross International, churches drawn from the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) yesterday donated food, which is the immediate need for the now homeless families.
The case has deepened the rift between the church and traditional healers with churches yesterday saying n'angas were behind much of the evil in the country.
Many Zimbabweans patronise both churches and traditional healers resulting in a tussle for loyalty.
Anglicans, Methodists and Salvation Army "soldiers" danced to "songs of hope" which were played with finesse by a percussion band.
A short prayer and then a sermon by Godfrey Gaga, the head of ZCC, targeted traditional healers for criticism.
"What happened here is a reminder to all of us that we should not trust in traditional healers. The Bible says the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.
"What happened here is an example of what happens when people associate themselves with the devil.
Whatever it is, this is the work of the devil. Ndozvinoitika kana vanhu vakaisa pfungwa ne tariro yavo pavanhu (This is what happens if people put their trust in other people)," said Gaga.
Located 30 km southeast of Harare, Chitungwiza is a bustling town infamous for disease outbreaks and vice but the blast has put it on the international map.
"We must go back to God, Chitungwiza go back to God. I know that this area is known for believing in traditional healers. Some people move from one house to another, one n'anga to another, from Zengeza 2 to Zengeza 4, up and down St Mary's," thundered Gaga.
A petrified neighbourhood and traumatised victims were assured that the "spirits of darkness" that were haunting them since the explosion on Monday last week had been eliminated.
"We are going to mobilise resources from the private sector to assist these families rebuild their houses, it is written that faith without works is dead. We must show our faith by doing something for these families.
"Ndororo Street from now on is a saint street because it is now a redeemed street. No more fear because the spirits of darkness have been removed," said Gaga.
With traditional healers conspicuously absent, Gaga urged Zimbabweans to shy away from old "pagan" practices.
Residents of Ndororo Street say they are now inundated by inquisitive people daily.
"I think we should put a toll gate and collect the proceeds from people who are coming here now and again. Some of the people who come here drive top of the range vehicles but don't leave us anything," said a local, Dumi Kapfeni.
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