DANGER! Popular pastor reveals why people should be banned from using red cloths during rainy season


ACCORDING to Sihle Ncube (43) a mother of three, from Matopo village in Matabeleland South province, she grew up believing that wearing a red dress on a rainy day would subject her to being struck by lightning.

Ncube recalls the day her grandmother scolded and thrashed her after she wore a red dress on a rainy day.

“I recall the day when l received a thorough hiding from my grandmother on a rainy day as punishment for wearing red clothes and this was because she suspected the red clothes subjected me to being struck by lightning,” recounted Ncube.

Ncube said red cloths were also not allowed to be tied on trees as they were believed to have resulted in poor rains.

“I remember there was a time when there were poor rains in our area and this affected us a lot until our fathers performed a rain making ceremony after it was discovered that there were a number of red cloths in the forest and that they were the ones that had caused these poor rains,” recalled Ncube.

Ncube, however, encouraged the youth to uphold these cultural beliefs saying they were key in ensuring their safety.

“In these modern times the youth believe that African practices are outdated and inapplicable in modern times but these beliefs preserved us and ensured that we were safe,” said Ncube.

It is clear from Ncube’s thoughts that these myths which have been around for centuries are still surprisingly popular today.

Many of these myths are very loosely based on some truths, but in general are either a simple misunderstanding of events, coincidence, or just stories created to spread controversy and create some sensation.

In some cultures tying red cloths on trees is not allowed as they are believed to cause poor rains.

A traditionalist David Mhabhinyane Ngwenya popularly known as Khulu Ngwenya said tying of red cloths on trees was a threat to livelihoods.

“Red cloths on trees are a danger and a threat to the lives of people especially during the rainy season. A number of people have been struck by lightning while taking shelter under these trees being tied with a red cloth,” said Khulu Ngwenya.

Khulu Ngwenya said red cloths were also sacred as they are synonymous with war.

“The danger of red cloths is that they symbolise wars in the African tradition, it is actually a taboo to see them in the bushes because they stop the rain,” said Khulu Ngwenya.

A pastor from Ekukhanyeni Apostolic Church, Oscar Beta concurred with Khulu Ngwenya saying there was a need to ban people from using red cloths in forests.

“There is a need to ban the use of red cloths during the rainy season because they disrupt the atmosphere and make it difficult for the rain to fall.

“If we go back to the African tradition red cloths are not used in rain making ceremonies and this is because they symbolise war.

“I believe that during the rainy season churches must be asked to remove their red cloth from the bushes,” said Beta.

Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) vice president Abson Moyo said they had tried engaging different religious groups to stop tying red cloths on trees but to no avail.

“We have tried engaging a number of people in dealing with the issue of tying red cloths on trees but given the different beliefs held by people, we have not been able to solve the problem.

“In our African tradition a number of cloths have different meanings, the problem is not on the red cloth but the danger is on tying them on trees as it disrupts the rain,” said Moyo.

However, a scientist, Cosmas Shumba believed the issue of forbidding people from tying red cloths on trees was just a myth that was introduced to conserve the environment

“Scientifically, this assumption is not valid because poor rains are as a result of climate change that is caused by the emission of gases that lead to global warming.

“The cutting down of trees has also resulted in reports where a number of people have been struck by lightning as they are the only tallest objects that remain in an area,” said Shumba.

Shumba said the issue of red cloths was just like the other myths which were coined or used in ensuring that animals do not become extinct.

“A number of people believe in such myths because Africans are naturally superstitious and this is part of our way of life that we learnt from our forefathers and that is being passed from generation to generation.

“This is why this myth of tying red cloths on trees has been associated with poor rains.

“This myth just like others like the belief that if one eats their totem that one will either fall sick or the offender will lose all the teeth. This was made to ensure that animals do not go extinct and ensure that people conserve the environment,” said Shumba.

Red cloths are used in many religions especially in African traditional religion they symbolise different spirit mediums who are regarded as fighters and hunters while in some Christian religions they are associated with demonic spirits.

— BMetro

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