A Sakubva woman whose new-born baby was stolen by a self-proclaimed prophetess at a shrine last week on Friday was on Monday relieved after her bundle of joy was found.
Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Nobert Muzondo confirmed the incident saying police found Ms Tania Mutangabende’s one-month-old baby at Rumbidzai Nyamurowa’s friend’s house in Dangamvura.
Twenty-eight-year old Nyamurowa, who is also known as Madzimai Getrude, was hiding at the Dangamvura house.
“The baby disappeared on October 6 when the mother went with her ill child to a white garment prophetess’ shrine near Mutare Teachers’ College.
“Ms Mutangabende met Nyamurowa at the shrine and she offered to assist her in healing the child. She sprinkled water and oil on the baby, and told Ms Mutangabende to go and look for some herbs in nearby bushes. She remained behind with the baby.
“When Ms Mutangabende came back a few minutes later, Nyamurowa had disappeared with the baby. She reported the matter to the police and on October 9, detectives found the baby with Nyamurowa who was hiding at her friend’s house in Nyamauru section of Dangamvura,” said Inspector Muzondo.
Madzimai Getrude told the police that she stole the baby as she wanted to convince her husband, South Africa based Mr Robert Panganayi, that she had given birth.
Mr Panganayi was about to divorce her as she has no children yet.
When The Manica Post caught up with Ms Mutangabende of OTS Sakubva on Tuesday, she said for close to four days, she had to cope with the grief and the uncertainty of her child’s fate, until the police called her to identify the baby they had recovered.
She said Madzimai Getrude had attempted to kidnap the baby four times prior to the incident, but she and her husband had failed to read her intentions.
At one time, the prophetess had asked both Ms Mutangabende and her husband, Mr George Munembe, to go and shave their pubic hair, while she remained behind with the child.
Ms Mutangabende said Nyamurowa approached her last week and told her that her new-born son needed spiritual help. “When I first met Nyamurowa, my son was crying. She approached me and said she could help my son spiritually. She invited me to her shrine.
“She called me the following day and invited me to the shrine. She repeatedly made calls when I delayed arriving at the shrine. When I eventually arrived, she administered some lemon juice on my child, rubbed and sprinkled some salt on him.
“She said my son needed a green wool tied around his waist. She told me to go and buy it at the market and asked me to leave my son behind, but I refused.
“She then called my mother and asked her to bring the wool and when she did, Nyamurowa asked me to get soil and leaves from a nearby shrine. I went, leaving my mother and Nyamurowa with my child.
“However, when I came back, she was trying to force my mother to go back home so that she could remain behind with my son. That was the first time she tried to kidnap my child and failed,” said Ms Mutangabende.
She said the next day, Nyamurowa phoned and invited her to the shrine.
However, Ms Mutangabende did not go.
“Last week on Wednesday, I went with my husband to the shrine and she tried sending both of us away so that she could remain with the baby. We both refused. We took turns to go where she was sending us.
“She later gave us razor blades and told us to go and shave off our pubic hair at a secluded place while she remained behind with the baby. We followed her instructions, but hastily executed the task,” she said.
However, Nyamurowa’s plan finally succeeded on Friday when she managed to steal the baby after allegedly hypnotising Ms Mutengabende by rubbing salt and lemons on her face, before sending her to collect herbs in the nearby bushes.
Ms Mutengabende said after the baby was found, she took him to hospital for a medical check-up and the little boy was deemed healthy.
“I am very happy that my baby was not harmed, but I am failing to come to terms with the fact that this woman wanted to permanently deprive me of my son. She wanted to use the child to build her own marriage while destroying mine.
“My husband and in-laws were livid by the baby’s disappearance and had threatened to send me packing if the child was not found,” said Ms Mutengabende.
When The Manica Post visited the Mutengabendes on Tuesday, friends and relatives were gathered, celebrating the baby’s safe return.
Ms Mutangabende said the traumatic event taught her never to trust anyone with her child.
The woman was glued to her baby throughout the interview. She said she is yet to accept that her baby is back, safe and healthy.
Ms Mutangabende’s great-grandmother, Gogo Tambudzai Mutangabende said they had travelled from all over the country to join in the search for her great-grandchild.
“That woman is heartless. What is heartbreaking is that she claims to be a prophetess and even has a shrine. Who knows, she might continue with her shenanigans if she is ever released from custody. We pray that she will be locked up for years because she is a criminal,” said the elderly woman.
Efforts to locate Nyamurowa’s unnamed friend who harbored her and the stolen child for three days remained fruitless as her landlord at the given address claimed that she had gone out.