The Chron­i­cle

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

BU­L­AWAYO, Thurs­day, Septem­ber 1, 1966 — A woman told Bu­l­awayo Re­gional Court yes­ter­day that she be­came a so­cial out­cast from her tribe after she had been pro­claimed a witch. The woman Emelia Ncube, was giv­ing ev­i­dence in a case in which Makonyo Msipa was jailed for two years by the se­nior mag­is­trate, Mr St John Bur­ton, un­der the Witch­craft Sup­pres­sion Act.

Ncube told the court that Msipa, an al­leged witch doc­tor, “threw the bones” and ac­cused her be­fore peo­ple in their com­pound of be­ing a witch. “That night I slept in the bush. I was fright­ened I would be killed. When I re­turned to the kraal some time later I was as­saulted”.

Mr John Hol­land, who is in charge of the Roads De­part­ment com­pound in the Fi­l­abusi area said he ear­lier asked Msipa to throw the bones be­cause he had been at­tacked three times by a tegwani bird (ham­mer­head).The court was told that Mr Hol­land was fined £15 ear­lier at Fi­l­abusi for em­ploy­ing a witch doc­tor.

The tegwani bird, he said, was a bad omen among the Nde­bele tribes­men with whom he worked. “I got wor­ried. I wanted to find out who had sent the bird to at­tack me”. Msipa threw the bones and told him it was Ncube. A se­nior High Court in­ter­preter, an ex­pert in Nde­bele cus­tom, said that the tegwani bird was bad.”

The peo­ple be­lieve that any­one who is at­tacked by it will be­come mad”. He said that Ncube’s stand­ing in the com­mu­nity would be greatly im­paired by the accusation that she was a witch and had sent the bird to at­tack Mr Hol­land.” In the olden days witches were fed to vul­tures. Now they just be­come so­cial out­casts from their tribes.

Msipa who pleaded guilty , was told by Mr St John Bur­ton that his ac­tion could have had “grave con­se­quences. A sim­ple woman find­ing her­self in such a dilemma may have taken her own life”.

Mr RA McCall-Smith pros­e­cuted.

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