Bringing the spirit of the dead to rest

Sekuru Friday Chisanyu Tracing African Roots
WHEN war veterans committed themselves to fight the Chimurenga, they did so to reclaim ownership of our land. None of them looked forward to dying and all wanted to live in an independent Zimbabwe one day. We know that when a person dies before they achieve what they desire, it is only the physical body that perishes but the spirit still lives. That is why Mbuya Nehanda said, “Mapfupa angu achamuka (my bones shall rise).”

The comrades who died continued to live through their spirits to assist those who carried on fighting the war of liberation. We know in our African Tradition Religion that when a person dies they still have a connection with those alive. So the comrades who died and were buried in mass graves had a hand in assisting those who continued with war for the country to be independent.

When the country was independent, those who returned alive knew that during the period of fighting they got assistance from spirit mediums who were possessed by the spirits of the dead. Hence the dead have a desire that though they were buried in mass graves, their counterparts who know where they were buried ought to lead their relatives to such places.

If this is not done then the spirits of the dead comrades are bereaved that those who are alive had their assistance to win the country’s Independence, they are now sitting pretty but have forgotten the suffering of the pre-independence era. They also want the sacred rituals of bringing back their spirits back into their families so they can unite with their ancestors.

This is done through traditional ceremonies during which the spirit of the dead can be awakened and is now able to take care of the family. If the spirit of a dead person has not been awakened to watch over the family it brings forth problems. This disturbs even those in Government because there arises a battle between the living and the dead.

You also find that in particular families, daughters struggle to marry or bear children, and people – no matter how educated – do not succeed in life. When the spirit of the dead is brought home, spirit mediums possessed by the dead are able to give solutions to problems in a family, community or nation.

When this is not done, it makes the spirit of the dead rise as avenging spirits through family members. By possessing a family member, details of where they were buried are usually accurately revealed . The spirit’s desire can also be revealed by consulting traditional elders who can see into the spiritual realm and are able to reveal what procedures need to be taken.

According to our traditional beliefs, the life of a human being is priceless so it’s important to know where they are buried. However it does not mean every mass grave has to be dug out. What is important is in any given area, we have varying clans under different chiefs with unique spirit mediums.

These chiefs ought to follow their unique traditional rituals to bring home the spirit of the dead wandering in the wilderness so they can rest. It cannot be done at national level because every area has its own clans which have different ways of dealing with ancestral spirits.

Sekuru Friday Chisanyu is the president of Zimbabwe National Practitioners Association

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