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Traditionalists cleanse Victoria Falls

by Staff reporter
10 Oct 2020 at 07:22hrs | Views
All is set for the traditional cleansing of Victoria Falls and its environs at a shrine in Phakama Village, Mvuthu today.

Traditionalists from Chief Mvuthu's area led by descendants of the Tokaleya clan, the Mugomba and Muzamba families who are original inhabitants of the area, have been preparing for the ceremony for the past few weeks.

The Tokaleya are a group of Tonga people also found across the Zambezi River in Zambia under Chief Mukuni. They have claimed that some of the calamities like people drowning in the Zambezi River and attacks by wildlife are a result of defilement of sacred places.

The traditionalists have said some gorges along the Zambezi River and some places in the community were sacred and were therefore not supposed to be visited by strangers. Swimming in the Zambezi River was also taboo, they said, adding that a cleansing of the area was needed.

Mr Joshua Magomba Chuma who chairs a committee formed to prepare for the cleansing, said a drum full of traditional "seven-days" beer which usually characterises such events was ready. He said organisers were still hunting for a white goat whose blood should have been used for the ritual which was carried out at dawn today at a once sacred baobab tree in Phakama Village. Other items needed were already in place yesterday.

Only a few selected elders were supposed to perform the ritual. Some churches are said to have occupied some of the shrines while others were fenced off by tourism companies. Traditionalists want all sacred places revived.

"The ritual will be done early in the morning before sunrise. After that people will spend the day merry making as we expect that the ancestors will have heard our prayer. The spirit medium Mrs Margaret Muzamba who will lead everything is already here and she is getting ready," said Mr Chuma.

Mrs Muzamba said their forefathers used to perform rituals at the baobab tree.

"We want to ask for forgiveness from our ancestors to stop all these strange things. I'm confident that once we do the rituals everything will go back to normal. We used to take seeds to the baobab tree before planting and also take the first fruits there to thank the spirits. To show that the gods had been appeased, a snake would come out of the tree but would not attack anyone," she said.

The baobab tree reportedly fell down about two decades ago but is still bearing fruits, something which the traditionalists have said signifies the anger of the gods. Some villagers have also been accused of disrespecting the local cultural practices like respecting Thursday as a sacred day of rest.

Acting Chief Mvuthu Mr Bishop Matata Sibanda, whose area covers Mvuthu, Ndlovu, Chikandakubi, Kachechete, Jabula, Chisuma, Sizinda, Monde, Woodlands and Victoria Falls town, said he was in support of the initiative to end calamities.

Source - chronicle