A modest home with a brightly painted pre-cast wall nestled in one of Harare’s suburbs hardly raises any eyebrows.
From outside, the house, situated in a generally quiet zone of Glen View 4, resembles a normal high density home.
Like a book, which should never be judged by its cover, this household’s exterior tells a different story from what actually happens within its walls.
Once inside the gate, one is confronted by a range of things — pain, joy, anxiety and expectation.
The house is by no means an ordinary residence. In fact, few maternity homes in Zimbabwe have delivered more babies than this ordinary-looking home — the Mukubvu household — over the past 23 years.
The Mukubvu household has also become a place of solace for those battling infertility, expecting mothers, those seeking matrimonial intervention, the sick, job seekers and a lot more.
Although there is no proper medical lab and other equipment at the Mukubvu household, the cutting off of masare is also a common activity.
Masare are small chunks of foreign flesh found in women’s reproductive tracts, which usually cause infertility or death of a foetus should the foetus get into contact with them during delivery.
One would be forgiven for mistaking this modest house for a church or a maternity clinic. Its owners are a special family of three prophets and a midwife, who happens to be a prophetess as well.
Residents know this place as PaMbuya Mukubvu, where Pretty Mukubvu (57) is the chief midwife.
She claims that since 1992 she has delivered countless babies, running into several hundreds. She also claims that she has helped solve numerous marital problems.
Growing up in a religious environment, Mukubvu became an evangelist and a Sunday school teacher at the age of 14.
Since then, she would receive spiritual and social guidance through dreams. She still gets those dreams — they even guided her into marriage.
“In 1979 in a dream, a voice told me that I would meet and marry a Christian man from Uzumba. Two years later, I met my husband, Never Mukubvu, indeed from Uzumba, and we got married that same year,” she said.
But, it is not every day that a family turns their home into a citadel of community hope. So, what inspired the Mukubvus to make this unusual choice?
To understand more about the prophetess-cum-midwife and what happens at her house, The Sunday Mail Society sat down with Pretty Mukubvu.
She recounted how it all started. Without the conventional academic qualifications of a midwife, Mukubvu delivers babies with ease.
Her journey started when she remained childless two years into marriage. A man of cloth prayed for Mukubvu and her husband in 1983.
They were to have their first child later that year. They then converted to Mughodhi Apostolic Faith Church. On a regular basis, resident prophets in the church would prophecy about her calling.
In 1992, she confronted her first task. “I was in Uzumba and a local pregnant woman came to say she was due. I had to deliver her. I was afraid, I had never done it before, but a voice told me to do it, it kept giving me instructions and in no time, it was done.”
Mbuya Mukubvu, as she is affectionately known, recalls that this was the commencement of her healing and delivering journey.
Her typical day starts at 5am when she prepares for her husband’s departure for work. She then cleans the house, does the laundry and prepares the meals.
All her attention then shifts to her ‘patients’. With her cut off time being 6pm, some patients continue to seek her services late into the night. She uses one of her rooms as a surgery and maternity ward.
Since she does not charge her patients, Mukubvu has to use her own resources to purchase surgical gloves, cotton wool, razor blades and the other items needed for her services.
Although Mukubvu attends to all kinds of problems, her passion is in assisting those with fertility problems. She claims that she helps them fall pregnant (kuwuchika) and usually prefers guiding them until delivery, to make sure the new born is healthy.
As if the gift is matrimonially shared, her husband is a prophet who specialises on marital and social problems. He provides what they describe as spiritually-inspired social counselling.
And their apples did not even bother leaving the stem. Of the couple’s five children, two of them are prophets, with one specialising in social and marital issues. The other one focuses on fertility and maternity matters.
The two young prophets are students at the University of Zimbabwe.
Although Mbuya Mukubvu tries to restrict those seeking her services to Mondays and Fridays, more than 80 clients still throng her home daily. She said some of the clients come from as far as Gokwe, while others come from beyond borders.
“The yard is always fully packed daily, which even makes it difficult for me to be away for days,” she said. But, it has not been all rosy in her unorthodox line of work.
ln 2017, Mbuya Mukubvu remembers that she had to attend to an intra-uterine foetal death. An intra-uterine foetal death is when a child dies in the womb. Usually, it happens in the last trimester or most rarely during delivery.
Mbuya Mukubvu is registered with the Ministry of Health and Child Care. After delivery, she helps the parents acquire birth certificates for their babies from the Registrar General.
Where there are complications prior or during delivery, Mbuya Mukubvu believes that God will always intervene and protect mothers and their babies.
Just like in clinics, she recommends that all her clients get tested for HIV prior to delivery.
While at Mbuya Mukubvu’s home, we spoke to Evert John, a 30-year-old woman who has been battling infertility for eight years. She said she found an answer to her problems in Mbuya Mukubvu. She told us that she received her first prayer from the midwife in December last year.
“For years I could not conceive and life had become unbearable. I was labelled different names and had lost hope until a relative referred me to gogo (Mbuya Mukubvu). I am looking forward to the big day,” said John, who is heavily pregnant. – Sunday Mail