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Many Taken By ‘Mermaids’ In Seke Dam

Seke Dam, formerly Prince Edward Dam, has earned the moniker, Dam of Death, for it has drawn scores of people into its murky womb, either through being taken in by mermaids, suicide, murder, accidental drowning or infanticide.

As the Grim Reaper, in his dark shrouds, hooded robe and scythe, dare the living as they dare each other, the dam’s association with death and misfortune is cringingly cemented.

With the word ritual thrown about guardedly each time the dam said to be a sanctuary for mermaids, asylum offering the solace of death to burdened hearts and riches untold to the “Manjuzu” faithful, death and life, though sworn companions, are always engaged in a tussle.

Recently, true to its moniker—Dam of Death – in emulation of the notorious Epworth’s Pool of Death, Seke claimed the life of a love-struck picnicker by drowning as his lover watched.

To the occasional visitor, it is just any other dam offering water and recreational facilities to the local community and its environs.

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But, for residents of Mayambara Village in Seke, about 40km southeast of Harare, who share its vicinity, Seke Dam offers more than water; it is a lifeline, cache of dreams, recreational facilities, and above all, it is home to mermaids.

To them, the dam is death personified as it snarls at life in its apparent stillness—with ripples twirling and bouncing on the flanks of the deceiving banks.

Strange sightings bordering on the mystical have been witnessed at the dam, those in the know insist.

“When I was a child, I used to swim in the dam,” an elderly resident of Mayambara, Gogo Betty Mukandamira, opened up to The Herald yesterday. “It is a sacred place where people would see all sorts of strange things, including mermaids.”

Teeming with members of apostolic sects and traditionalists accompanied by traditional healers, with the Manjuzu cult (those who claim to be possessed by the spirit of mermaids) among them, the dam and its hinterlands are a hive of ritual activity.

Ritual visits at the place are now in vogue as the race to riches has become unprecedented.

Interestingly, despite the mysticism associated with the dam, revellers also throng the place for picnics and drinking binges, while fishermen are a common sight.

When The Herald crew arrived at the dam around lunchtime yesterday, four people were in sight, including a lady who was clad in a yellow blouse and black skirt, performing rituals.

Gogo Mukandamira jolted the news crew from the metaphysical world, into yet another mystical musing.

“While herding cattle around the dam, I once saw a sheep floating on top of the water before it disappeared,” she said.

She added that on some occasions, while doing laundry with her mother, they would witness the same clothes they would have been laundering hanging to dry across the dam.

Gogo Mukandamira said scores of people drown in Seke Dam year-in-year-out.

She said most of the victims are believed to have been taken by mermaids, no water would be found in their bodies to point to drowning.

Mike Dzvimbe, commonly known as Sparkaman in Mayambara, also concurred that the dam is haunted.

“A lot of deaths occur here, with victims of drowning being discovered by swimmers.

“There are also reports of mermaids. Recently, we retrieved the body of a man who drowned while swimming,” said Dzvimbe.

He said when the man died, elders from the area insisted that they saw a sign of a mermaid.

“Some people who use tyre tubes to fish also end up dead. It is a dangerous dam, especially when it is full. Each year at least five people drown,” Dzvimbe said.

Another resident, who is a frequenter to the dam, Josiah Tongogara, said there is a cave there, which used to be sacred, but has since lost its holiness due to delinquent people engaging in all sorts of things.

He, however, insisted that the guardians of the cave make it difficult for those who desecrate it.

“It was a fortress for our forefathers during the liberation struggle. They would enter the cave with all their belongings, including cattle. Nowadays, young people from the community, owing to lack of knowledge on the place, come here to swim,” Tongogara said.

He maintained that a lot happens at the dam, with the Manjuzu being a common feature, among others, such as traditional healers, and members of apostolic sects taking turns to perform countless rituals at the dam.

Felix Kudyanyemba, another Mayambara resident, said he only heard that people are being taken by mermaids.

“A lot of people die in the dam. Even in the area surrounding the dam, people from all walks of life come to perform various rituals,” he said.

Village head, Victor Savanhu, said the dam was once fenced off and manned by security personnel many years ago, but the barricade was vandalised.

He weighed in saying that the dam is sacred.

“The dam is a holy place. There is a cave in which our forefathers would take refuge during the wars.

“But people have turned it into a place for various activities,” said Savanhu.

“There are mermaids and crocodiles in the dam. Early in the morning, or late evening, sounds of drumbeat are heard. What is common are unaccompanied drying linen.”

He pointed out that some white settlers once experienced strange events while trying to explore a cave in the vicinity of the dam during the liberation war.

“My father told me that two white settlers were warned against approaching the cave without the blessing of local leaders, but they could have none of it. While in the cave, they saw a large python with a necklace of beads, which denied them entrance,” said the village head.

Savanhu is of the belief that the misfortunes now associated with the dam are a consequence of the ire of the ancestors, since a lot of rituals from across religious sects have become the order of the day at Seke Dam.

He appealed to authorities to come to the community’s rescue through law enforcement to preserve the sanctity of the dam, and protect human life.


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