MARANGE villagers who were attending a funeral recently were left weak-kneed when a woman who claimed to be possessed by a spirit started acting like a hyena and accused her aunt of feasting on the deceased’s body.
Rebecca Kwembeya (55) of Kwembeya Village under Chief Marange caused confusion among mourners as they wondered if she was telling the truth or was just causing trouble.
Proceedings at the funeral came to a halt as people tried to calm her down, while others accused her of being disrespectful and insane.
Kwembeya allegedly went on all fours and laughed like a hyena, before claiming that her aunt, Susan Dzvatu, had k!lled Caleb Dzvatu.
However, Dzvatu (65) did not take the witchcraft allegations lightly and reported the matter to Chief Marange’s court.
Narrating the macabre real life drama before the chief’s court recently, Dzvatu who is also Village Head Kwembeya’s wife, said during Caleb’s funeral, Kwembeya acted like a hyena and appeared to be possessed.
She said Kwembeya’s allegations have negatively impacted on her life as fellow villagers are now shunning her and labelling her a witch.
“I am now a subject for gossip and slander by fellow villagers. Kwembeya made the false allegations against me and disrespected me as the Village Head’s wife. She damaged our reputation as traditional leaders. People are now shunning us due to her baseless utterances. She also said I will be k!lling Tennison in the next few months,” said Dzvatu.
The Weekender understands that Dzvatu confiscated Rebecca’s hat so that she could produce it as evidence of the slander, before leaving the funeral in a huff as she could not withstand the humiliation.
According to the customs of the Marange people, confiscating an accuser’s item is a way of dealing with accusations of witchcraft.
If someone labels another person a witch or a wizard, the accused person has the right to take any item belonging to the accuser and keep it as evidence that they were slandered.
This is supposed to deter false accusations and protect the reputation of innocent people, according to Chief Marange.
Dzvatu said a day after Caleb’s burial, Kwembeya accused her of feasting on the deceased’s corpse.
“My family and I went back for Caleb’s burial the next morning. We also attended the after burial rituals the following day. To my surprise, Kwembeya started humiliated me in front of everyone again, saying I should confess my sins and beg for forgiveness. She also named my supposed fellow witches. She said I had already feasted on the deceased’s corpse the night it was buried,” charged the angry woman.
Chief Marange summoned Kwembeya to his court on different occasions, but she defaulted.
He said he will send his messengers of court to drag her to the community court.
“In this area we do not take allegations of witchcraft lightly since we are a prayerful community. If she is found guilty of defaming her aunt, we will make Kwembeya compensate her with two cattle. However, if it is confirmed that Dzvatu is a witch and that she killed and feasted on Caleb’s body, then she will face the consequences,” he said.
According to Chief Marange, Dzvatu will pay a penalty of nine cattle if she is proven guilty of the crime.
He said two of the cattle will go to the Chief’s court, while the remaining seven will be given to the Kwembeya family as compensation.
The matter was adjourned to August 27 to allow Rebecca to be summoned to court again.