A self-proclaimed faith healer disturbed the early morning peace in Cowdray Park in Bulawayo yesterday when a snake reportedly under his “care”, casually slithered into a neighbour’s home, causing an uproar that led to demands for his immediate eviction from the neighbourhood.
Residents thronged youthful healer Mr Jabulani Nyoni’s home, demanding his exit from a community reportedly shaken by the presence of a snake that has been spotted “relaxing” on several occasions in his yard. The snake, was reportedly first spotted by an ex-tenant at the home where Mr Nyoni now resides, who was reportedly shocked at how its presence at the healer’s home was treated casually.
The former tenant had reportedly gone back to collect the rest of his belongings from the house which Mr Nyoni started residing in last month. Residents have been alarmed at the snake’s presence in their midst but yesterday, when it slithered into a neighbour’s home, their pent-up frustrations blew up as they demanded that the snake’s “master” be immediately evicted.
Mr Nyoni’s wife, Ms Tinashe Ndlovu confirmed they were keeping snakes in their house, claiming they were only used for healing processes. She said the snakes were usually kept in a sack inside the house.
“My husband is a faith healer and most times people come to him requesting snakes for different reasons, so he catches them on their behalf. Most times we keep these snakes in a sack and for this one to be seen by people it had come out and was going into our neighbour’s house, we, however, quickly recaptured it and put it in the sack.
What happens is that when he catches the snake, he keeps it for some time while performing the necessary rituals before handing it to those interested, the snakes are not always with us but he only catches them on request,” she said.
According to Ms Ndlovu, after the snake had left the vicinity, Mr Nyoni had instructed his younger sister on how to recapture it.
“When it went into the neighbour’s house, Nyoni was not around and that’s why he gave instructions to his younger sister on how to put it back in the sack. The snake is not even here anymore,” she said.
According to residents, Nyoni’s sister said she had to smear some portions of mysterious traditional medicine on herself before she handled the snake or it would bite her. Contacted for comment, Cowdray Park councillor, Kidwell Mujuru said they had since reported the matter to the police and were hoping that Zimparks will also intervene to help remove the snakes.
“I got a call from residents in the morning, informing me that there was someone who was keeping a snake in his house, I then went with police to the house because the residents were threatening to mete out instant justice on the man. When we interviewed him he confirmed that indeed he had a snake but claimed that it was mainly for his healing practice, he told us that the snake would not harm anyone as it was only for his personal use,” said Clr Mujuru.
The councillor also revealed that since Mr Nyoni was a tenant at the house they demanded that he finds alternative accommodation for their safety.
“Residents have made it clear that they cannot stay with Mr Nyoni and as the ward councillor I have communicated this resolution to him and it is now up to him but honestly residents are worried about their safety, it was okay when the snake was in their house but now that it is going into neighbours’ houses it is now dangerous,” said Clr Mujuru.
Residents who witnessed the drama said at one point Mr Nyoni had threatened them that whoever had guts should come into the house and see the snakes.
“He told us that the snake is his which he uses for his own rituals, when residents were now closing in on him threatening to beat him up he said if anyone had the guts they could come in and see the snake. To be honest we are now living in fear because these snakes can even come into our houses anytime, for now our plea is for the responsible authorities to come and get rid of these snakes,” said a neighbour who declined to be named.
– Sunday News