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Eight-year-old girl out of school due to avenging spirits



By Cletus Mushanawani
WHILE her peers are braving the chilly weather to attend school, it is a different story for an eight-year-old Zimunya girl, who was haunted out of school by avenging spirits in the family.

Her grandfather's acts of wizardry are at the centre of things.

Life is no longer the same for the young Mitchell Dongorere of Mundembe Village in Chief Zimunya's area of Mutare District, who was forced out of school last year in September because of relatives' avenging spirits manifesting themselves on her. To strangers, Mitchell looks normal, but relatives say she usually has bouts of hallucinations, leaving her unfit to attend school.

If under possession, Mitchell was reportedly speaking in voices identified as those of her late uncle Casper and her late aunt, Miriam.

Casper, who was said to have committed suicide by drinking a pesticide, is reported to be demanding six beasts as compensation from two family members, who allegedly assaulted him on his throes of death, while Miriam was reported to have been bewitched by her paternal grandmother, Matsindikeni.

Mitchell is also reportedly giving her parents, Norman Dongorere and Nduzana Billiart, nightmares as she was said to be waking up at midnight and demanding them to light the candle as she wanted to prepare and join other witches on a wizardry mission.

Because of the sad developments in the Dongorere family, children have turned against their parents, with the parents, Phineas and Sekai (father and mother), recently receiving a thorough beating from their children, who accuse them of being the architectures of all the problems haunting the family.

The Weekender caught up with the feuding family at Acting Chief Zimunya's court on Sunday, where parents were pitted against their children over witchcraft allegations and it emerged that there were also avenging spirits from late family members causing mayhem in the family that wanted compensation.

For Mitchell's parents, all what they want is justice and freedom of their child's tormented soul.

Norman is lucky to be alive after his head was deformed following a savage attack from his now mentally retarded brother, Noah on April 29, as the problems besieging the family came to a boil. He had to spend one-and-a-half months recuperating at the Mutare Provincial Hospital following the attack.

His wife, Nduzana, was at pains to explain what is haunting their daughter and said it all started last year when Mitchell would run away from home, saying there were goblins that had invaded their homestead wanting to harm her.

"She would point at a tree at the family homestead saying there were goblins there. She implicated her grandfather, Phineas, as the source of all problems in the family. At times, she would wake up around 12-midnight communicating with unseen people. When we ask her, she would say it was Phineas and Sekai calling her to join other witches on their wizardry mission. She would ask us to open the curtains to see other witches milling outside the house waiting for her. After a while, she would revert back to normal.

"We informed my in-laws (Phineas and Sekai) and they initially dismissed the claims, but one day when my father in-law was at our place, Mitchell accused him of possessing black clothes, which she said were evil and should be destroyed. She also said her grandfather was possessed with evil spirits, which were on the black clothes and had caused the death of her daughter in-law," said Nduzana.

Phineas, who was also present at Acting Chief Zimunya's court, confirmed being in possession of the clothes and said he was given them by his late mother, Matsindikeni.

He said although he had destroyed the clothes after realising that they were evil, the spirit that was manifested in them was still using him.

"When I received the clothes from my late mother, I didn't know that they were evil. She only told me that they were family clothes and I should keep them. I only destroyed them after realising that they were bringing me a lot of misfortunes, but recently I consulted prophets, who said the spirit was still very much active and what I now want is peace in the family," he said.

Phineas' son, James, had harsh words for his parents, whom he described as evil and said: "We are suffering because of our parents' cruelty. I don't know what kind of parents are they who do not have a heart for their children even the tormented grand

child, Mitchell. They just want us dead.

"My wife died in mysterious circumstances, leaving behind young children. One of the children who is so young and I had to look after her from that tender age and she is now attending school. Although we live in the same village, my children don't visit my parents because of these problems in our family. My heart bleeds seeing a young girl like Mitchell being persecuted for something, which she does not know."

Although tension is still high among the family members, they were all in agreement that a solution has to be found.

James' mother, Sekai, offered to sell two goats to help address the problem, while other family members are expected to contribute.

Acting Chief Zimunya implored the family members to unite.

"You should all know that the only way to settle an avenging spirit is appeasing it. You should look at the plight of the young girl who is now out of school. She also needs to go back to school and lead a normal life. You might continue blaming each other, but it is good that you are now seeing the light. If it means sacrifices from you as a family, let it be because this thing should come to an end. Peace should prevail in your family," said Acting Chief Zimunya.