Once upon a time I had a friend who was very focused. She used to spend most of her time thinking of how to improve her life because hers was not an easy upbringing. Her desire was to get herself out of the misery that poverty seemed to unleash upon her and the family she was born into.
True to her hardwork, good fortune and the powers that be, she did become successful and made it! In every family, there is always that one person who seems to get a thrill from accusing others of witchcraft — my friend became a victim of her brother’s who accused her of using witchcraft and all hell broke loose. This story came to mind this week as I was reading about the ex-cop who was given some prophecy about his wealth and went on a killing rampage that saw him eventually flee and get arrested in Mozambique. Oh what a life we live as Zimbabweans.
Our collective spiritual narrative
I always joke and say that I acquired enough knowledge and experience during my undergraduate studies for me to masquerade as a n’anga (witchdoctor/sangoma). Many people nowadays who claim to be gifted are very questionable and could have fallen into temptation of using their education and experience to make money from desperate humans seeking spiritual guidance. Judging from what I seem to witness with those who consult the cult, sooner or later we shall end up in such a dysfunctional state of affairs as individuals, families, communities and the nation at large.
It seems we are constantly seeking to consult some higher power of some sort and that’s when we get all sorts of “remedies” to our situations. Shall I hasten to say yes, some things may be caused by some spiritual influence — seeing that as Africans we believe in the causative theory that is confident in alluding to the notion; behind every experience in life there is a cause. I mean just look at how many people consult various spiritualists around their lives! There are also moments in life when the things we experience are caused by bad decisions that we each have to own up to and just make things right. Let us take a quick look at our beloved motherland Zimbabwe — no amount of statue erecting or consultations for example will fix the Zimbabwean economy! Yes, let us honour our ancestors as we sing in our wonderful national anthem. However, we may also need to explore what we are doing wrong and resolve that. Shall we pay very close attention to the corrupt means by which we do business, our policy environment, cronyism or explore other ways outside spirituality? It is almost like my friend’s brother — yes, there could be some spiritual influence around his life but shall we also explore what would happen if he studied, got an education or sharpened a skill so that he exerts himself to make a living. Yes, there is the spirit but there is also the physical. That man who shot the prophet and a couple of other people ended up making more poor decisions to cover up the first choices so he makes things work out for him. The end is quite depressing.
I remember one day when I was young and my mother bought cooking oil we wanted to use to cook. It was an expensive buy in our household and when I used more than was necessary, my young mind told me that adding water would be a great solution so the quantity of cooking oil increases. If you have ever mixed cooking oil and water you know that it never works. So after discovering my “sin” I took the mixture and hid it.
My mum, being a wise and prayerful woman, after trying to find out from all of us what had happened to that bottle of cooking oil to no avail, then announced that she was going to pray and whoever was the guilty one would grow a tail. What!!!!! At seven, I was not about to let that happen so I confessed and I learnt my lesson. I had many options to explore but to my very young and naïve mind, water was the best bet. How about just telling the truth? Well, that is most of us today, the truth is hard to tell and that is why we find ourselves struggling at many levels and then we resort to spiritual support. It is almost like having bad breath and looking for the witch or wizard – how about you just brushing your teeth? Food for thought.
We can become better
- Turnall to resuscitate fibre plant
- Truck driver jailed for stealing fuel
- Critical moments in history
- Mozambicans jailed for 30 years for rhino hunting
My friend did not hate her brother for accusing her of witchcraft — she showed him love and understanding instead. My mother did not beat me up but gave me a stern warning — that served as a very important learning point in my life. Am sure from Mozambique, that guy is reflecting on how his life has just changed. I will also hasten and say that even as we lead Zimbabwe from our various corners, we are also reflecting and learning that there is more to what we experience in life than spiritualities.
Stop, reflect and make the necessary changes. I am super confident that we will prevail and become better as a people and don’t cause spirituality to be our downfall. As we go through the tides of our own life experiences from whatever space we find ourselves today, may we all keep seeking ways to make life count for us and others at all costs. Until then, we live, laugh and love louder in a bid to show the world that we were here, becoming better, making our mark, and leaving our footprint as we make the world a better place!
Chirenje writes in her personal capacity as a citizen of Zimbabwe. Twitter: @graceruvimbo; Facebook: Grace Chirenje; Instagram: @graceruvimbo