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Healer fails to bring dead man back to life after collecting money from family

The disappointed and deceived family demands compensation, and the case has just gone to court.

The deceased died in an accident at the Gule Wamkulu festival [Shutterstock/Dietmar Temps]

A Malawian healer has been accused of reneging on his promise to resurrect a deceased Zambian, for which he took money.

Drain Nyirenda, a resident of the Zambian village of Katintha in the Chikuwe region on the border with Malawi, was killed in December last year during the traditional, colourful Gule Wamkulu festival. During this event, the spirits of the ancestors of the Chewa people living on this border take on corporeal form and dance for their living descendants.

One of the participants of the ceremony was Nyirenda, who in an elaborate costume and with a traditional wooden mask on his face climbed a 35-metre-high wooden pole. When he reached the top, he became entangled in the rope attached to the top of the pole, which tightened around his neck.

After this accident, Emmanuel Banda, a 34-year-old healer and slayer of local witches known on the border, turned to the desperate family. He said that for 900 kwacha, or about $35, he would bring the deceased back to life.

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Nyirenda's father, during his hearing in the Chipata Magistrates' Court, described how Banda tried to deceive the family. "By showing a board wrapped in sheets, he falsely claimed that it was our son who had been brought back to life."

The Chipata court did not conclude the trial after the first sitting. Prosecutor, Bright Lishebo, said he planned to present the testimony of five witnesses and the presiding judge, Destiny Kalusopa, adjourned the hearing until Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

Belief in the power of witchcraft is very strong on the border between Zambia and Malawi. In the latter, over 70% believe in witchcraft, but the majority of society supports changing the law to criminalise their practices, Afrobarometer research from last year shows.

Surprisingly, in Malawi, educated people are more likely to believe in the existence of witchcraft than those without formal education.

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This article was originally published on Onet Travel.

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