THE trial of a self-styled dreadlocked "prophet" with the Johanne Masowe eChishanu Nyenyedzi Nomwe who allegedly used a snake kept at his shrine to instil fear into a woman who had come for prayer before raping her has been scheduled for August 24.
Madzibaba Shepherd Mavhunga (41) of Glen View 1 was yesterday advised of his trial date when he appeared before Harare magistrate Donald Ndirowei for his routine remand hearing.
The court heard that a female church member came across the huge snake after Mavhunga had instructed her to get into a hut located at the shrine to collect some "anointed water" he wanted to use to cleanse her. It is alleged that the woman screamed after the snake started hissing and charging towards her.
When she tried to flee, Mavhunga allegedly grabbed her and raped her twice without protection. The court heard that afterwards, he issued death threats to the woman if she disclosed the matter to anyone.
The woman and her three colleagues were said to be having personal problems at the time and Mavhunga ordered them to stay at the shrine as he "ministered" to them.
After a worship service on the night of May 22 at around 11pm Mavhunga went to his place of residence while the women remained at the shrine.
It is alleged that around midnight, Mavhunga returned to the shrine and woke up the victim and they started praying. He allegedly raped the woman for the second time when she tried to flee.
The woman is said to have gone back to where the other women were sleeping but could not awaken them as Mavhunga allegedly followed her and ordered her to calm down or else she would die.
It was only after the woman had escaped from the shrine that she made a police report.