In Zimbabwe, a man thought to be a prophet by his followers was swept away by a river during a “cleansing ceremony.” However, the man’s followers claim he was abducted by mermaids.
The supposed “prophet,” Simbarashe Kamupondera, 31, of the Nyeredzi Nhatu Apostolic sect, apparently drowned in a river during a cleansing ceremony in Epworth. But his followers will not mourn him:
“We believe that he was taken by a mermaid and we are not going to mourn him because we know that he is coming back,” said one of his followers.
Reports indicate Simbarashe often went to the river banks to baptize people. Witnesses say he was out in the river performing a “cleansing ceremony” on a female congregant when he suddenly disappeared under the water’s surface.
In Zimbabwe, many residents believe that mermaids, also known as “njuzu,” are real, and have supernatural powers. Some believe they’re responsible for kidnapping, torture and even murder.
In 2011, attempts to install pumps for irrigation at a dam near the eastern highlands city of Mutare came to an abrupt halt, after reports of mermaid sightings.
And in 2012, essential work on planned reservoirs in Zimbabwe has stopped because mermaids had been “hounding workers away,” according to the country’s Water Resources Minister.