‘Snakeman’ recounts tale of torment

FROM a distance, Grey Mpinganjira (32) is an unobtrusive man — seemingly intoxicated with the highly potent illicit traditional brew known as kachasu and with no extra-terrestrial powers whatsoever that can cause harm to anyone.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

He looks at ease and somewhat a man at peace with his soul, but not until he lifts the lid on his troubled life that has witnessed and participated in the death of three family members — thanks to the “kingdom of darkness” of which he is a self-proclaimed partaker.

His life is like a chilling script that can rival one from an old horror movie.

For his entire life, Mpinganjira has lived with a black mamba, even sharing his bed with it.

He claims that it is a divination tool inherited from his late mother, Dorothy Bintu.

According to him, he is a Malawian traditional healer endowed with spiritual powers to solve a raft of calamities from ailments to bad omens cast upon other people.

Mpinganjira says he uses his 1,5-metre-long snake to solve a wide range of problems afflicting those who come to him seeking help at his Chihota shrine in Seke, Chitungwiza.

His is a story of bloodshed, authority and family dejection that has seen him losing two marriages and cutting off ties with his father.

As he opens up on his chilling experiences of living and dining with the slimy reptile for the past 32 years, a slight frown on his face speaks of a deeply troubled man.

“I no longer need the snake. It is troubling me. This is not to say I no longer want to be a traditional healer, no! But I just can’t continue spilling human blood so that I fulfil its demands,” Mpinganjira tells NewsDay, stroking his beard.

“Initially, we had four snakes, which my mother used during her healing sessions, but I have since returned the other three to Malawi, our home of origin. I am planning to take this one back again,” he says while seated inside his shrine “decorated” by bones, hides and muti (traditional medicines and concoctions).

“These snakes were kept by our mother and since I was helping her in healing sessions, our uncles gave them to me when my mother died.”

Although the snake was not around when the news crew visited his shrine recently, Mpinganjira says it is now giving him a torrid time as it now wants human blood for its survival.

So far, under his care, it has killed three family members whose graves are just a stone’s throw away from his small unguarded, yet “highly-prized” shrine.

The killings have, however, not made Mpinganjira repent as he argues it is part of the price to pay.

To him, it is collateral damage, but he just wants “a divorce” from the snake so that he can continue with his normal life as a traditional healer.

“It feeds on other snakes, but every year, we have to look for blood to nourish it. We sacrifice a relative annually, yet now I have no one to offer. My relatives are up in arms with me and I can’t continue with this,” he says.

He adds that in September last year, he tried to abandon the serpent in Epworth, but his journey was interrupted by alert police officers manning a roadblock along Chiremba Road, who conducted a search and found the reptile stashed in a laptop bag.

Mpinganjira recalls how he was arrested and his snake “partner” handed over to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

He describes the episode as “nothing other than a little inconvenience”, as he was convinced that he would be re-united with his mate.

He says something had gone wrong for the police officers to see the snake, as on most occasions, it was elusive to everybody else.

Snakeman Grey Mpinganjira

“It is because I did not involve it (the snake) in the decision to dump it somewhere, hence the mishap. Since then, it has been difficult to live with it,” he claims.

Using a rod, he points at a small clay pot covered with a black garment and on top, there are darts. This is where the snake sleeps, he says.

In his shrine, it is an abomination to engage in sexual intercourse or any romantic acts and for this reason, not even his sexual partners are allowed inside the round hut.

As he performs his rituals, he faces a cross placed on a white garment and says it represents the death of Jesus Christ.

“We believe in God. And in whatever we do, we are guided by the spirits that come from God,” he asserts.

In front of the cross are two small clay pots with photographs of clients he has helped in the past with an assortment of muti.
Besides the public embarrassment and shame of being exposed that he lives with a snake, Mpinganjira says he feels isolated as he has lost two marriages due to his “horror life”.

He no longer sleeps at his house. Instead, he co-habits with a woman from the nearby village as he fears for the worst — in case the serpent runs amok.

As if that is not enough, he does not see eye-to-eye with his father due to their clashing belief systems.

“I can’t visit my father back home in Malawi because he is a Christian and I am not. I don’t know why he and my mother separated, but I think it’s because of this (occult) life. I just want to ditch this snake and continue helping people as a traditional healer,” he insists.

Mpinganjira probably sees those who do not understand his occultic realm as “a little misinformed”.

He certainly does not lose sleep about it at all.

“I have no ambitions of joining any Christian church, not at all,” he says with emphasis.

16 Responses to ‘Snakeman’ recounts tale of torment

  1. mazino akaora January 9, 2016 at 7:03 am #

    Kkkkk. M laughing at u Mr journo. U been taken for a ride. Grey is a common crook and nuisance based at Landos, Chihota or Mahusekwa.
    He is into everything. Tdikamutanda, hoisebreaker, pimp and more. Remember the fake witches caught in Glen view? He supplied the owl which he caught at the council bar.
    Snake partner? Kkkkk. He’s just a snake catcher or charmer. Go to Mahusekwa police for his long long list of crossing the law.
    U simply should have gone to the Parks n wildlife and get an official position of what became of the snake.
    That’s poor journalism. Trying to sensationalize unworthy news by ignoring crucial and essential facts. Revisit your story.

  2. sharp January 9, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    It’s a good thing for journalists to pursue some of these African traditions and perhaps document them for the next generation. African history and heritage has been lost because Africans think learning means abandoning your own tradition. I feel our traditions should not be put in the bin completely but, should be dynamic, we should take that which help society, improve some aspects,document, and of course put the destructive ones in the bin. Even some diseases that could be managed with traditional medicines are killing people today because we misunderstand learning. We think learning means moving away from tradition but do it secretly when everyone is asleep like the politicians do. We should tap into this talent, whats wrong with riding on a broom if it makes you reach your destination in record time? Whats wrong with eating a lizards tail if it cures cancer or aids? We need to investigate, prove and document, why not?

  3. Dhonza Musoro January 9, 2016 at 11:38 am #

    The snake was shot dead. Spiritual snake cant be seen by everybody. He is a troubled man just seekin cheap publicity.
    Xolisani is a very poor “religion journalsit” who if not doing PR for Magaya tries sensationalising stories like the one above .
    He went quiet on Chipo Chakanyuka for reasons not to do with professionalism and lost all credibility.

  4. Ensign January 9, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    How is this even news worthy?

  5. joe January 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    The story does not make much sense. at one time he says he fopllows Jesus Christ and at the end he says he is not a Christian. Its not clear where the other snakes were taken to in Malawi if he says his father is a Christian and the mother died. This guy just want attention that is all.

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  7. Shura January 9, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

    Clueless, uneducated, superstitious, ignorant, pathetic, poverty stricken journalist ready to peddle anything and nothing to fill your unworthy sack. I’ll never buy this stupid tabloid edging towards X-Metro

  8. Peter January 9, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

    Whats is the journalist`s fault here. This Grey guy was apparently also on ZTV with this snake story, didn`t watch the prog but someone recorded. This is pure witchcraft. This guy is not a christian as he says and that cloth does not represent the death of Christ. This is voodoo. The snake is an animal that was cursed by God and hence is used in all sorts of evil. Why attack the journalist? On TV this guy named the sisters killed. This is witchcraft guys this is Africa. Vodoo, just another element of satanism. Funny deaths in black families are as a result of these things. There are many stories like this all over, there`s no attention seeking from the people. Just stupid Africans spending time on black magic instead of zvinhu zvine musoro.

  9. Ahhh Mashura January 9, 2016 at 7:35 pm #

    Pakaipa, munyika mune zvinhu ndatenda hangu. Nhubu iyoyi sei ichiriko.

    Ndiko kunonzi ku reporter kauku.

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  11. Dude in the West January 9, 2016 at 10:44 pm #

    You will never be able to ditch that snake and be free from it until you give your life to Jesus Christ. When you do that you will have to stop being a traditional healer also.That is the work of the Kingdom of Darkness. You are one misguided fellow.

  12. Lovennah January 10, 2016 at 12:37 am #

    Nyaya dzinotaurwa kana vanhu vadhakwa havo ne Kachasu mungadzipedza. Umwe anoti kuudza kuti ndiye akapedza mvura mu Kariba hake.

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    Pane angaitawo charger yekatsono here

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