The Herald (Harare)

27 July 2012

Zimbabwe: Panties Mystery Solved

Photo: Marieke Cambeen/RNW
Laundry on washing lines.

Bulawayo — A 62-YEAR-OLD Gokwe man has come out in the open and claimed ownership of a goblin which has been terrorising women in his village by taking off their panties at night while they were asleep.

The man, Mr Lameck Ncube of Village Charisekera, under Chief Njelele, made the startling revelations at a cleansing ceremony in the village on Wednesday.

The cleansing ceremony, conducted by a n'anga from Hwange District in Matabeleland North and a prophet from an apostolic sect, was attended by Chief Njelele, hundreds of villagers and journalists from different media organisations.

Chief Njelele had invited the traditional healer commonly known as a tsikamutanda from Hwange District and the prophet in a bid to bring "peace" to his area after 26 women woke up recently and found themselves without panties. Chief Njelele had sought clearance from the police to have his area "cleansed" following the bizarre incident.

It also emerged during the cleansing ceremony that the mysterious goblin had been tormenting women in the villages since 2004. The ceremony was characterised by drama and chilly witchcraft stories as villagers took turns to stand before the n'anga and the prophet.

Mr Ncube, who became the 25th villager to appear before the tsikamutanda and the prophet, then confessed that he owned the "menacing" goblin, which he claimed to have acquired long ago to enhance his luck.

Mr Ncube told the puzzled crowd that the goblin had, however, turned "hostile and weird" to a point of going around sleeping with women. A police officer who had been invited to the occasion to maintain order at one time moved in to restore order after some villagers whose wives fell victim to the goblin's "sex" escapades threatened to beat up Mr Ncube.

The n'anga, who was accompanied by six aides, was forced with his team to temporarily stop the witch hunting ceremony as they accompanied Mr Ncube to his homestead to "capture" the goblin which shared a bedroom with one of Mr Ncube's sons.

There was more drama as the villagers jostled to have a glimpse of the decorated goblin after the tsikamutanda brought it before the crowd. The goblin, which looked like a living creature, was wearing a pair of blue female panties, which village head Charisekera's wife, Ms Silvia Marumbe, claimed to be hers.

Ms Marume claimed during the event that she lost her panties in mysterious circumstances in 2004.

The goblin was later burnt before the crowd.

In an interview after the burning of the goblin, Mr Ncube said he was happy that he was now a free man, saying the creature had been giving him sleepless nights for a long time.

Mr Ncube said he bought the goblin in Chakari near Kadoma in 1983 when he was still working in Kwekwe.

"When I bought this goblin, my purpose was to try and have luck in my life. I also wanted to get promoted at my work as well as acquiring wealth but when I later retired, I then learnt that the goblin had not performed to my expectations," he said.

Mr Ncube said he started having problems with the goblin after he tried to get rid of it through n'angas.

He said different n'angas he consulted told him that the goblin was now "weird" as it was going around homesteads looking for women to "make love" to.

"As it is I did not know that this goblin has been taking away the villagers' panties until today. What I only knew was that the goblin was at my home, but we were no longer on good terms," said Mr Ncube who at that point looked down in shame.

Chief Njelele said he decided to invite the tsikamutandas following an outcry from his subjects who were mysteriously losing their panties.

"Following the mysterious incident that saw 26 females missing their panties, I then consulted the police who then advised me to take the necessary measures. With the outcry from the affected females, I then quickly moved in and said the only way was to invite these tsikamutandas. I know Government does not recommend using these n'angas but there was nothing I could do when faced with such a dilemma. I also invited an apostolic church prophet to assist in the cleansing, which we witnessed today. No one was charged for being found in possession of these things like the accused," said Chief Njelele.

"This is what we expect not a situation where these n'angas would charge villagers a lot of money."

Chief Njelele said he was happy that the culprit who had been wreaking havoc in the area had been identified. He warned villagers against engaging in witchcraft. "People in my area need to behave and desist from engaging in witchcraft. Because of this strange missing panties saga, my area is now known the world over for the wrong reasons, which is a shame. I therefore want to warn my subjects that we will deal with the culprits decisively at our traditional courts," he said.

During the ceremony, eight women from Charisekera and Matanganyika villages positively identified their panties, which mysteriously went missing and were now in the custody of Chief Njelele.The panties were found dumped in a bushy area under village head Pauro about two weeks ago.

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