Return My Snakes
3 April 2024
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Traditional Healer Predicts Reunion with Seized Cobras Amidst Spiritual Controversy in Zimbabwe

In an extraordinary turn of events that intertwines traditional beliefs with wildlife conservation laws, a traditional healer in Zimbabwe has made a confident declaration to a magistrate, asserting his imminent reunion with his two deadly cobra snakes. These snakes were recently seized by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) in Kwekwe, sparking a legal and spiritual discussion that transcends the ordinary.

Polite Ncube, a self-proclaimed n’anga from Gono Village, Chief Mkoka in Gokwe, found himself in the legal spotlight after being apprehended with the snakes in the central business district of Kwekwe at around 3 am last Monday. Standing before Magistrate Mildred Matuvi, Ncube faced charges under the Parks and Wildlife Act for his unconventional companions.

In court, Ncube pled guilty but implored the magistrate for leniency, revealing the deeper connection he holds with these snakes. “They are not just snakes to me; they are my source of power and guidance,” Ncube explained, detailing how these cobras, inherited from his grandfather four years ago, assist him in locating medicinal herbs through visions in his dreams.

The case took a turn towards the surreal as Ncube claimed that the officials from Zimparks who took his snakes were receiving spiritual visitations from his deceased grandfather. “My grandfather has been appearing to them in their dreams, a sign of the spiritual unrest caused by separating me from my snakes,” Ncube shared, adding a layer of mystery and traditional belief to the proceedings.

Magistrate Matuvi, faced with this unique scenario, fined Ncube US$200 or alternatively sentenced him to four months in prison, a decision that has ignited discussions on the balance between cultural respect and wildlife conservation. “This case challenges us to think deeply about our laws and beliefs,” Matuvi remarked, recognizing the complex cultural fabric of Zimbabwe.

This incident highlights the intricate relationship between humans, animals, and the spiritual world in Zimbabwean culture, showcasing the challenges faced by modern law enforcement when it intersects with deeply rooted traditional practices. As the community watches to see if Ncube’s predictions will come true, this story continues to unfold, reminding us of the enduring power of belief and the mysteries that bind us to the natural world.- Agencies