THE parents of a four-year-old boy thought dead and buried in 2009 have been told he is alive in an apparent witchcraft intrigue, a newspaper reported.
Marlon Dongo, of Nyamadzawo Village in Seke, 30km south of Harare, was pronounced dead and his grieving parents attended his burial, although they say some village elders had forbidden body viewing.
Now two years later, the boy’s father, William Chikoroondo, and mother, Maslyne Dongo, say they have been approached by their local headman, Ernest Nyamadzawo, with a shocking confession: he has their son, and he is ALIVE.
“The first time he came, he asked me if I was strong enough to bear tragic news. Although I said 'yes', he was reluctant to continue and went away,” the boy’s mother told the NewsDay newspaper.
“The next time he came, he asked if my husband was aggressive, because he feared what he wanted to say would make my husband kill him. But I assured him that he was not temperamental.
“He finally told me that my child was not dead and had become too hot for him to handle.”
The newspaper says Nyamadzawo is believed to be a member of a local “committee of witches” suspected of causing the “deaths” of 21 other children, who are probably alive and being used in witchcraft practices.
On a day last week when the headman had promised to hand over the child, with the help of a local herbalist, 800 people from the village and neighbouring communities are said to have gathered – demanding the return of all the children believed to be in captivity.
Nyamadzawo, who turned up without the child, was beaten up and received hospital treatment, said one of his relatives Maxwell Nemhara.
The headman’s brother, 72-year-old Joseph Muranganwa Nyamadzawo, told NewsDay: “I am hearing this kind of thing for the first time in my life. My brother said he did not see the matter being resolved within the family, but we also need to involve some elders who are familiar with these kinds of things and know how they may be resolved.”
The boy’s mother is holding to the hope that her child is alive, she said, and her family is engaging local traditional leaders to secure his release.
Meanwhile, the boy's grave remains undisturbed, according to his parents, and they now wonder what they buried there. They are not ruling out an exhumation.