Two men from Dangamvura, identified as Paul Mupukuta (44) and Clifford Mhlanga (68), lost their lives over the weekend while attempting to rescue a girl during an exorcism ceremony at Fern Valley Dam.
According to Manicaland provincial police spokesperson Inspector Norbert Muzondo, Mupukuta sought the assistance of traditional healer Mbuya Monica Mhlanga to address a spiritual issue affecting his family. The group gathered at Fern Valley Dam for a cleansing ritual, which ultimately led to the unfortunate incident.
During the ceremony, Mbuya Mhlanga, who was performing the cleansing on Mupukuta’s 15-year-old daughter, suddenly felt weak. The girl began to drown, prompting her father to jump into the water to save her. Mhlanga also jumped in to rescue his wife.
Tragically, Mupukuta and Mhlanga were unable to survive the ordeal, while Mbuya Mhlanga and Mupukuta’s daughter were rescued by witnesses at the scene.
Prosper Mugari, a witness who responded to the cries for help, managed to rescue Mupukuta’s daughter with the assistance of Monica Mhlanga. The young girl was then provided with clothes and comfort at a nearby resident’s house, who promptly informed the authorities about the incident.
Councillor Calvin Matsiya, representing the area, expressed concern over the safety of Fern Valley Dam, which has experienced multiple incidents resulting in loss of life. He urged the public to refrain from visiting the dam for recreational or religious purposes without proper authorization and guidance from the local authorities.
While some members of the community attributed the tragedy to mythical mermaids believed to inhabit the dam, others emphasized the need for responsible behaviour and maintenance of the dam. Reports of offerings such as clothes, jewelry, food, and alcoholic beverages being left in the dam raised concerns about its aquatic life and the potential dangers associated with such practices.
The incident has sparked discussions about implementing safety measures and conducting cleansing rituals at the dam to prevent future tragedies. However, authorities stress the importance of seeking proper permission and guidance before engaging in any activities at the site.