Friday December 4, 2020, will forever remain etched in the memories of Matova villagers in Zimuto communal lands, north of Masvingo City.
Located a few kilometres from the Gokomere Mission, the community is predominantly Catholic, with the church owning the farm where the village is.
What began as a normal day for 48-year-old Henry Mapxashike (also known as Mapwashike) turned into tragedy after one of his five children was killed by Clever Chitiga (22), who shaved the head before cooking it.
Chitiga is Henry’s cousin and the pair’s homesteads are a few metres apart. For Henry, what is more painful is that his third child, Trevor (9), was not only murdered, but his body was also gruesomely dismembered.
“I almost collapsed, after forcing the door to one of his rooms, open. A trail of blood, which we believed to be my son’s, led us to his head which was being stewed in a big pot.
“The door had been locked from inside and I had to gain entry through the window and opened it from inside,” said Henry struggling to hold back tears.
“My mother, who accompanied me to Clever’s homestead, used a stick to shove the head so that we could properly see what was in the pot and to our shock, it was my son’s head which was being stewed. He had shaved it using a broken beer bottle and pounded it with a pestle and mortar.”
Henry said following the heinous murder of his son, who was doing Grade 2 at Matova Primary School, he has not eaten anything since.
“He was an intelligent and obedient boy. He was left by his mother when he was only eight months old and was staying with my father since I had remarried,” he said.
Trevor’s father told The Herald yesterday, that he harboured no hard feelings towards his brother for murdering his son.
“My only appeal and prayer is for the family to unite and get to the bottom of this because I think there is something behind this. We need to sit down and cleanse our family because this is strange and bizarre. It’s unheard of. When I got to Clever’s homestead, he had already fled from the scene after I had asked him if he had seen my son,” he said.
“I believe there was juju at play because from what I know, Clever never had a history of mental illness. In fact, his discreetness and the way he tried to conceal evidence of his diabolic act smacks of someone who is mentally stable.”
Henry led The Herald to a shallow pool a few meters from the recently rehabilitated Masvingo-Harare highway where Clever dumped Trevor’s torso, which was wrapped with a mosquito net.
“He (Clever) was dull at school and had a history of violence. He once bit off his younger brother’s finger for restraining him from assaulting his nephew and also torched a car that had been left in the custody of his father for safekeeping by a friend.”
Henry says the death of his son will forever remain etched in his memory, but he is not seeking revenge.
“I can not eat food, I am still unable to look at cooked meat after what I saw. I am relieved that we were able to bury my son today (yesterday) at Gokomere Mission cemetery. The pot, which he was using to cook my son’s head, was taken by the police together with the pestle and mortar, which will be used in court,” he said.
Sekuru Narcisso Mapxashike (75), who is Trevor’s grandfather and was staying with him, said he was shocked by the gory murder of his grandson.
“I think Clever was possessed by an evil spirit because the way he killed my grandson was evil and difficult to understand. Clever took away my friend. I started staying with him after his mother passed away. He was like my son”
Sekuru Mapxashike said that Trevor was very obedient and intelligent.
“Maybe God wanted me to see the gap after his demise because Trevor was always by my side. He slept where I slept and ate what I ate but now he is no more. ”
He also threw his weight behind calls for the entire family to consult people who could cleanse the Mapxashike family, saying Trevor’s death had left a dark cloud hanging over them.
Mr Brine Chitiga (40) — Clever’s elder brother — said he suspected that his younger brother might have been dabbling in juju. He said Clever started behaving strangely after he went to Mberengwa as an artisanal miner.
“I suspect that he (Clever) might be tormented by an avenging spirit. He might have killed a person in Mberengwa where he was panning for gold since 2018.
“He started acting strangely after he returned from Mberengwa. He always threatened to kill people and was acting strangely,” he said.
Mr Chitiga ruled out mental illness saying while Clever was initially on anti retroviral therapy, he had since stopped taking the drugs.
Village head Morgan Virima, from the adjacent Chikeumbezi village where Trevor’s torso was found, said there was need to cleanse the Mapxashike family. The village head, who is also related to the Mapxashikes, said he had never seen anything like that in his life.
“All I can say is what happened here is unheard of and the Mapxashikes need to consult traditional healers and prophets to cleanse their family because there is an evil spirit which needs to be cast away,” said Mr Virima.
Mourners who spoke anonymously said Trevor’s murder had shocked them and they added their voice to calls for a cleansing ceremony for the Mupxashikes.