Despite heavy criticism from Christian religious groups, there are signs that Satanism is making inroads into Zimbabwe.
Opinion by Ropafadzo Mapimhidze
The confession by the foreign prisoners who sought land to build a church in Zimbabwe is clear evidence that Satanism has crept into Zimbabwean society.
Prison authorities at Harare Central Remand Prison, according to our sister paper The Standard, are in a quandary on what to do with three foreigners with refugee status, who claimed to practice Satanism.
Initially, Zimbabwe thought of deporting the trio, who were arrested last September at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge, but it has since been realised that they were granted refugee status and cannot be taken to their respective countries.
Numerous people in Harare reported horrendous encounters that many concluded are linked to Satanism.
Yesterday, a young neighbour who works for a clothing shop in the city centre said she had an encounter with a weird customer recently.
The customer wanted to buy a mobile phone.
He carried a huge purse that had brand new crisp hundred US dollar notes. The strange thing however, is that a colleague who was standing next to her could not see the invisible person she was talking to.
As the man walked out, he met yet another customer walking in, who quickly skipped into the shop. He had a frightened look in his eyes and asked the shop attendants what they thought about the man that had left their shop.
“His teeth were like those we watch in scary movies. They were white and the gold chains he wore had crucifixion crosses that faced downwards.
This reminds me of an incident I personally experienced just before 2000. I was at a leading retail outlet along First Street in Harare where I stood in a queue with my younger sister who was purchasing some goods.
Three young men walked in and stood right in front of my sister. When she protested, one of them told her that: “We are greater than any deity in the world so just shut up.”
They wore deep black T-shirts and black trousers, a lot of expensive gold chains around their necks, had gold bracelets and were clad in designer takkies that squeaked as they walked.
Someone in the queue said he had observed that their gold chains had crucifixion crosses that faced downwards.
Satanism is a kind of religion, though Christians abhor it, it has been allowed to be practiced, for example in the Royal Navy of the British Armed Forces, according to information from Wikipedia.
In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States debated over protecting the religious rights of prison inmates after a lawsuit challenging the issue was filed against them.
Satanism is a broad term referring to a group of Western religions comprising diverse ideological and philosophical beliefs. Their shared features include symbolic association with, or admiration of the devil.
Satanism is openly practiced in Burkina Faso where its African headquarters are located. In Zimbabwe, Satanist sects operate in disguised syndicates that snoop on unsuspecting individuals and incorporate them into devil worship.
As I was searching on the Internet, I discovered a Satanism waiting list called Meet Up. It is a frightening development considering the fact that Satanism uses human blood as a covenant to the devil.
A posting on Meet Up from a Romeo Gumbo goes like this: “Dedicated Satanist wishing to meet up with others for spiritual advancement. I am fed up of being a lone Satanist. I work in Harare and stay in Chitungwiza. Let’s meet up guys . . .”
According to Three Men on a Boat, a local website newspaper, an 18-year-old man allegedly admitted to killing his employer’s daughter by slitting her throat and then sucking her blood to quench his thirst. He was later arrested.
Thomas Zvapanganwa, a self-confessed Satanist, would be charged with murder. The suspect is said to have killed Taremedza Mareere, a young person.
One of the hottest stories last year was that of alleged Satanism at Harare’s Yamuranayi Primary School, reports Three Men On A Boat. Essentially, some dodgy things had been happening at the school.
There was talk of one child turning into a snake and sometimes a bird. Nearly 30 children at the school “exhibited extraordinary strength while speaking in unusual voices and tongues”.
Although I do not have statistics, Zimbabwe has lost many children who disappear and never to be seen again. A visit to Masvingo recently revealed that the many street kids who milled around Mucheke Bus Terminus have mysteriously disappeared.
Residents suspect they could have been taken for Satanism rituals that require human blood.
Satanism is a subject that raises a lot of debate and yet those who practice it rarely come out in the open.
But it has of late become apparent that the practice is alive and is establishing itself in Zimbabwe.