A DARING barber who is also a certified sangoma has sent tongues wagging in Mutare's Dangamvura high-density suburb after he professed having used juju to punish a late colleague who had stolen $6 from him.
A composed Columbus Zindoga (36), who works as a barber at a makeshift hair salon in the suburb's Area 3 section opposite Dangamvura Complex, showed no remorse throughout an interview with The Weekender this week as he admitted having used paranormal means to regain his stolen $6, which later resulted in the death of Rockford Tsuro, a fellow barber at the salon.
The issue has suddenly become the talk of the neighbourhood with Zindonga reportedly bragging, even to clients, about his abilities to deal ruthlessly with those who dare cross his path. Apparently, Zindoga, a certified member of theZimbabwe Traditional Healers Association, admitted having demanded $10 to 'consult the spirits' as well as a beast to appease them for Tsuro's wrongdoing after the latter's condition deteriorated while in hospital.
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"On Tuesday, I left $15 on top of an amplifier in my salon when I went home after work. When I came back the next day (Wednesday), I only found $9 instead of the $15 I left the day before. I asked my son about the whereabouts of my money because normally my five-year-old son comes here to clean up the room every morning and he did the same on Wednesday. He professed ignorance, but told me that Rockford and Stavo (a fellow barber) were the only ones who had entered the salon that day.
"I asked everyone around and informed them that if I do not get my $6 in time I would use other means to recover my money. Ndakavataurira kuti ndikashaya mari yangu ndichaitawo zvandinoita. I was sick and tired of missing my items in the shop after having lost my phone in the same manner. Whether they took it for an empty threat, I do not know. Roki, as Rockford was referred to, and then went on to buy two packs of opaque beer. People around asked him where he had found the money to buy beer early in the day. He responded by saying he had picked $5 on his way to work.
"Later in the afternoon, I heard him (Roki) complaining about getting weary. He was saying his hand had suddenly become heavy. He was advised to go home and have sadza. But I was later informed that he had been taken to hospital. His first wife came to me with $10 intending to have me reverse the whole thing. I told her that it can only be possible when the victim is accepting and speaking for himself that he is the one who stole my money.
"Together with fellow salon workers who operate at this place, the wife and brothers tried to convince me that he is suffering because of the $6 Roki stole from me, but I told them that Roki was the only person who can come and confess for himself. Unfortunately they wasted time doing things that could not help Roki, thereby leading to his death. They should have come with him to me while he was still talking and let him confess to having stolen my money so that he could have been saved," he said.
In a separate interview, a visibly shaken Steven Doro, a friend to the deceased and fellow barber at the salon, said he was convinced Tsuro died as a result of Zindoga's reactions to the missing money.
"It was so painful. When we visited him at the hospital, he was in severe pain. He was complaining that he was holding something which he had been given by someone he could no longer see. At that time he appeared to have suffered a stroke. It was all superstitious and inexplicable. Unfortunately, Tsuro could not come and confess for himself that he had stolen the money since he was no longer able to talk at that time. Although he (Zindoga) gave us a concoction to administer to Tsuro so that he could be able to talk when he was in hospital and be able to confess that he stole the money, it failed to work. He died an angry person and that explains why we had a torrid time to dig his grave. It appeared as if he was resisting our efforts to lay him to rest," he said.
A hairdresser at the salon, Catharine Makhuyana, said Tsuro went through a difficult, painful time just before his death.
"When he was taken to hospital, his two wives were actually struggling to feed him, with one of them holding the mouth, while the other poured a soft drink so that he could have something in the tummy. We were so scared about the whole thing. We just didn't understand why someone would go to such lengths, killing someone over $6. We tried to knock sense into his (Zindoga) head, but he remained adamant," she said.