Drought: Chiefs hold bira to appease spirits

Kariba damWalter Nyamukondiywa in KARIBA
Traditional leaders from Kariba and Hurungwe districts have conducted an appeasement ceremony in the resort town in the hope of finding answers to dwindling water levels in Kariba Dam.

The decline in the water levels has affected fishing and power generation as the Zambezi River Authority has limited allocation of water at the hydro-powered plant.

Traditional leaders, including Chiefs Nyamhunga (host), Nebiri, Mudzimu, Matau, Nematombo, Mola, Dandawa and Negande, gathered at the Nyamhunga open area in Kariba town for the ceremony.

Drums, singing and traditional dance started just before midnight on Monday and continued throughout until day- break on Tuesday.

Mediums of at least five spirits in the area were also present together with some nephews who are recognised traditionally as representatives of chiefs.

The nephews went into the dam by boat at around 4am on Tuesday to a place called Kariva (from where the name Kariba was derived) and cast black and white cloths into the water.

Chief Nyamhunga’s nephew, Mr Harrison Nyamupfukudza, said in an interview soon after emerging from the dam that everything went on well.

“We went to the lake to throw in the cloths as directed by the chiefs and spirit mediums,” he said.

“The process went on well without any glitches. The cloths sank into the water.”

If the cloths sank, Mr Nyamupfukudza said, it meant that the appeasement process had been accepted by the river gods.

He said sometimes the cloths floated and in such cases they would consult the spirit mediums on the meaning and any remedial action that needed to be taken.

Chief Nyamhunga said the appeasement ceremony had not been conducted in the last three years.

“We used to come together with chiefs in the surrounding areas to conduct the rituals every year and everything went on well until we stopped,” he said.

“I am happy to see that we have successfully conducted the rituals. We have done our part and we wait for the gods to do their part.”

Director for provincial affairs in Minister Cde Faber Chidarikire’s office Mr Jim Kadziya said the ceremony was about rains and subsequent filling of Kariba Dam.

“We are here to support the initiative to ask for rains and the filling up of Kariba Dam which has affected power generation and caused drought,” he said.

“If rains fall, people will have food to eat and lift the burden on Government to source for food.”

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