Oh, Gokwe

Some of you may have heard about the drama in Gokwe a few months ago following 26 women apparently waking up without their panties on. The Herald was obsessed with it, providing regular updates on what Chief Njelele was doing to try to solve the “mystery” in his area. I found out about the mystery once they’d already solved it, but I still continue to stumble across pearls of ridiculousness that took place whilst investigations were unfolding… Gokwe and this panties saga really is the gift that keeps on giving.

It seems the whole story started when 26 females, “including schoolgirls” woke up to find their panties gone. All on the same morning. The women were adamant that they had been wearing panties when they went to sleep, but when they woke up, their panties were gone. Needless to say, panic and mayhem ensued and an emergency meeting of all those living in Njelele Village was called.

In addition to calling the emergency meeting, Chief Njelele also reported the matter to the Gokwe Police Station. Eish, the way I wish I had been a fly on the wall of that police station during the reporting of that incident! I’m pretty sure the facial expressions of the police officers as they listened to Chief Njelele’s story must have been absolutely priceless!

Anyway, some time either before or after Chief Njelele’s reporting of the matter to the police, The Herald caught wind of the story and asked Chief Njelele about the incident. “What happened in my area is so scary and everyone is in a state of shock and panic. I have called for a meeting with my subjects in the two villages where the incident occurred and I am scheduled to meet them so that we can chart the way forward,” Chief Njelele said.

The missing panties were discovered later in a “bushy area”, “spreading panic among the villagers”. Chief Njelele confirmed that most of “the owners from the two villages had positively identified their panties”.

So, obviously, a witch-hunt ensued.

In fact, it was more of a “witch-hunting ceremony”, just as Chief Njelele promised it would be when he engaged the police to allow him to conduct it. “I will ask the police to allow us to invite the tsikamutandas [traditional healers] so that we can conduct a witch-hunting ceremony”, he said.

Police in Gokwe confirmed the incident. They said, however, that it was very difficult for them to investigate this issue, they said the only person who could possibly solve the mystery was the tsikamutanda.

So everything was on track for the scheduling of a witch-hunting ceremony. And then, suddenly, Chief Njelele directed village heads in his area to stop the arrangements to invite a traditional healer to conduct the cleansing ceremony in the villages. It was reported that the move came “in the wake of more mysterious happenings in Chief Njelele’s area”.

What were these “more mysterious happenings”? Well, Chief Njelele said a “huge owl invaded village head Pauro’s homestead and grabbed a male mature dog with its legs before vanishing with it while the village head and his subjects were at a meeting to discuss the invitation of a traditional healer following the missing panties saga.” I love the precision of the description of the dog: “a male mature dog”. Just in case we thought it was a female not-yet-matured dog… as though that would make it any less bizarre.

“It is mind-boggling what is going on in the area,” Chief Njelele told The Herald. Mind-boggling.

Chief Njelele stated that most of the women had since claimed their panties from the stash that was found. “Some have burnt them while others said they would perform some rituals before disposing of them. I am keeping them [the unclaimed ones] at my own risk because as the leader, there is nothing I can do”, he said.

At some stage, despite the owl-dog incident, a cleansing ceremony was in fact held in the villages. And then the mystery was solved and reported boldly in all leading Zimbabwean publications:

“A 62-year-old Gokwe man has come out in the open and claimed ownership of a goblin which has been terrorizing women in his village by taking off their panties at night while they were asleep.

“The man, Mr Lameck Ncube of Village Charisekera, under Chief Njelele, made the startling revelations at a cleansing ceremony in the village.

“The cleansing ceremony, conducted by a n’anga from Hwange District in Matebeleland North and a prophet from an apostolic sect, was attended by Chief Njelele, hundreds of villagers and journalists from different media organisations.

“It also emerged during the cleansing ceremony that the mysterious goblin had been tormenting women in the villages since 2004. The ceremony was characterized by drama and chilly witchcraft stories as villagers took turns to stand before the n’anga and the prophet.

“Mr Ncube, who became the 25th villager to appear before the tsikamutanda and the prophet, then confessed that he owned the “menacing” goblin, which he claimed to have acquired long ago to enhance his luck.

“Mr Ncube told the puzzled crowd that the goblin had, however, turned “hostile and weird” to a point of going around sleeping with women. A police officer who had been invited to the occasion to maintain order at one time moved in to restore order after some villagers whose wives fell victim to the goblin’s “sex” escapades threatened to beat up Mr Ncube.

“The n’anga, who was accompanies by six aides, was forced with his team to temporarily stop the witch hunting ceremony as they accompanied Mr Ncube to his homestead to “capture” the goblin which shared a bedroom with one of Mr Ncube’s sons.

“There was more drama as the villagers jostled to have a glimpse of the decorated goblin after the tsikamutanda brought it before the crowd. The goblin, which looked like a living creature, was wearing a pair of blue female panties, which village head Charisekera’s wife, Ms Silvia Marumbe, claimed to be hers.

“Ms Marumbe claimed during the event that she lost her panties in mysterious circumstances in 2004.

“The goblin was later burnt before the crowd.”

“In an interview after the burning of the goblin, Mr Ncube said he was happy that he was now a free man, saying the creature had been giving him sleepless nights for a long time.

“Mr Ncube said he bought the goblin in Chakari near Kadoma in 1983 when he was still working in Kwekwe.

““When I bought this goblin, my purpose was to try and have luck in my life. I also wanted to get promoted at my work as well as acquiring wealth, but when I later retired, I then learnt that the goblin had not performed to my expectations,” he said.

“Mr Ncube said he started having problems with the goblin after he tried to get rid of it through n’angas.

“He said different n’angas he consulted told him that the goblin was now “weird” as it was going around homesteads looking for women to “make love” to.” I’m not sure about you, but I really think that “weird” is rather an understatement.

““As it is I did not know that this goblin has been taking away the villagers’ panties until today. What I only knew was that the goblin was at my home, but we were no longer on good terms,” said Mr Ncube, who at that point looked down in shame.

“Chief Njelele said he was happy that the culprit who had been wreaking havoc in the area had been identified. He warned villagers against engaging in witchcraft. “People in my area need to behave and desist from engaging in witchcraft. Because of this strange missing panties saga, my area is now known the world over for the wrong reasons, which is a shame. I therefore want to warn my subjects that we will deal with the culprits decisively at our traditional courts,” he said.

I just want to know what and/or who they burnt.

And who the headman’s wife had been engaged in “mysterious circumstances” with in 2004.

Such craziness is, however, not limited to Gokwe (although, if we’re honest, Gokwe does have more than it’s fair share of craziness in the news). Montana, USA, also has it’s own brand of crazy. Recently, a man dressed in a military-style “ghillie” suit and ran across a highway, apparently trying to provoke reports of a Bigfoot sighting in northwest Montana.

Anyway, he was hit by two cars and died.

The police ascertained the deceased’s motives by interviewing his friends. They reckon that alcohol may have been a factor. Unsurprisingly.

And then yesterday in Florida, there was a manhunt for a manatee-riding lady. Outraged witnesses photographed an unknown lady riding a manatee:

(She looks like she’s having the most awesome time, right?)

“The sheriff’s department called a deadly serious press conference in which they asked the help of the public in identifying the perpetrator. The lady was wearing a white cap, red shorts and a black bikini top.”

The press conference was described as a “surreal gathering”, which, considering the tongue-in-cheek tone of the news reports on it, basically meant “a total joke”.

The sheriff decried the lady’s abuse of the manatee. “Go ride a Jet Ski. Don’t use animals,” the sheriff said. “She needs to be held accountable for her actions.”

“Under Florida law molesting or annoying a manatee is a second degree misdemeanour.” Manatees are endangered and considered to be pretty much sacred in Florida.

“It’s a wild animal. It’s not something to be ridden,” Susan Butler, a manatee expert with the U.S. Geological Survey in Gainsville, told the Times. “I can’t say that as a biologist I would ever, ever condone that, or say that (the manatee) wanted them to do that.”” Duh. It’s a wonder they had to interview an apparently qualified biologist to get such an obvious (and lame) comment.

Anyway, after the manhunt started and public pressure mounted, 52-year-old Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez turned herself in to police. “Gutierrez admitted to the offense claiming she is new to the area and did not realize it was against the law to touch or harass manatees.

“The charges have been referred to the state attorney’s office for prosecution”.

Seriously.

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