NYANGANI Mountain at its best is home to leopards, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, kudus, duikers, zebras and baboons. The mountain has eye-catching scenery in the form of gorges, dwalas, falls, blooming trees and thick bushes which easily make it one of the country’s finest tourist destinations.
However, going on holiday in Nyangani Mountain makes one think twice before embarking on the journey.
Now imagine this — you have gone on a holiday trip with your family in a mountain. Your husband decides to dare a little distance further up and he disappears for good . . . never to be seen again even with the help of experts armed with helicopters and binoculars.
Or a boulder falls from a mountain top into a river and the water turns red and the river flows all year round in that state, tainting other rivers it meets downstream into crimson.
Or worse still, you go up a mountain and you find trees talking and laughing in harmony with nature and upon exclaiming about this shock of your life, a thick blanket of mist engulfs you and you disappear in it.
Unthinkable, is it not?
Yet these scenarios have been haunting people in Nyangani Mountain since time immemorial. A lot unheralded mysteries have been happening in the mountain, with the most publicised being the disappearance of the Masaya twins in the late 80s, then the vanishing of an Indian tourist this year which awakened the world into a prompt search.
Mountain climbing experts armed with helicopters and binoculars combed the Nyangani Mountain thickets but it was a futile exercise.
The latest victims of the unknown “kidnapper” are two innocent children from St Killians Mission in Makoni who had recently gone on a trip with their fellow students at a natural pool in Nyamombe River. The students disappeared from the group only to be found dead in the pool the following morning.
This has left the Nyanga community and the province at large clueless as to what really happens in the mountain.
Headman Samhembere said the Nyangani Mountain was sacred and this has something to do with supernatural rites surrounding it which have however been continuously ignored.
The elderly traditional leader explained the historical background of Nyanga which he said is haunting people up to the present day.
“Nyanga, which in Chewa means first- born, was Tangwena’s son who travelled from Malawi and established his chiefdom in present day Nyanga, which is named after him.
“Chief Nyanga then established friendship with Chirikutsi, a mermaid which lived at Pungwe falls. The chief had his sacred alter in the mountain, along Nyamombe River where they would meet the mermaid as well as communicate with their spirit mediums. At one point the mermaid came out of water and took Nyanga’s family with it into the waters, living a few behind. It could have been a move to find some friends to live with since they had entered into a friendship pact.
“Chief Nyanga’s chieftainship was then destroyed with the coming of commercial white farmers who were targeting the cool temperatures and fertile red soils associated with the area,’’he said.
Samhembere who said he is a descendent of the Nyanga family, suggested that the Government should recognize Nyanga chieftainship in order to bring peace in the mountain as there is need for divine intervention as it seems there is spiritual war in the mountain.
“Nyanga should be appointed chief in the areas that lie around Nyanga national park. He was the first to settle in Nyanga before other recognised chiefs; Saunyama, Tangwena, Makoni, Katerere and Mutasa. Ironically Tangwena only came here following his son Nyanga who had established his chiefdom already. Spirit mediums may be not happy with the developments and we still fear for the worse,” he added.
The headman also said that when they were called to help in the searching expedition of the Indian tourist, they were “given” a 20 metre long white piece of cloth which he then shared with his relatives (Nyanga family) who live in Honde Valley. He said they immediately came across it, in front of them, as they led people on the mountain top.
Acting Chief Saunyama also concurred with headman Samhembere that the Nyangani Mountain is sacred. He implored all the people to observe what they are told to do whenever they visit it.
“The mountain is sacred. The problem is people are now shunning our tradition for Western cultures. We should always respect our culture. What is happening in Nyangani Mountain is very depressing. It must be given the attention it deserves,” he said.
The chief also encouraged the National Parks to work in consultation with the local traditional leaders so that they would know what sacred rules to follow in their execution of duty.
“The National Parks look down upon the local chiefs yet they are the ones who know how to traditionally rectify some of the problems in the mountain. They should convene us so that we guide them on what should be culturally followed when tourists are up in the mountain. They have a habit of thinking of us when things go wrong.
“We have things that we expect people to observe each time they go there, for example avoiding wearing of red colours in the rain season, having sexual intercourse or any intimate activities and commenting on strange natural features there, all of which people go up there unaware of. What will soon happen is that the tourists will end up hesitating to visit our naturally gifted area because of what they hear about the mountain,” he said.
The church has its own way of thinking in respect of the matter and according to Pastor Nyakatawa of the End Time Message all this mystery had to do with some spirits that were cast down from heaven.
“According to Revelations 12:7 God fought with Satan and his angels and upon being defeated they were cast down on earth. Some fell in the deep sea, high mountains and thick bushes. They have got power and we should not despise them or underestimate their power. Such mystery is real because Satan wants to cause misery to people.
They are fallen angels. It needs God’s revelation to understand these issues and that is why even the traditionalists cannot fully explain the mystery, “he said.
Another believer who spoke on condition of anonymity had this to say: “People should simply respect and follow what they are told to do when they are in the so called sacred places. Even in the Bible there were some sacred places like Bethel and the place where Moses would meet God in the wilderness. The results of going against such orders are far reaching, “he said.
As for the events in Nyangani Mountain one day they will come to an end, only time will tell. Meanwhile the bizarre and unthinkable continues unabated.