Ngozi, not mental health problems sparking suicides- Sekuru Banda

By Phillipa Jaja

Popular Harare traditional healer, Sekuru Banda, has urged caution against attributing all suicide cases to mental health issues, saying some of them are due to vengeful spirits known as ngozi in the Shona language.

Last year saw a surge in suicide related cases due to alleged depression and mental health challenges.

However, the traditional healer and social commentator in an interview with this publication said ngozi is being overlooked as a contributory factor regarding most suicide issues.

“Society has conveniently discarded our culture and now chooses to believe all suicide cases are a result of mental health challenges.

“I believe, it is high time that people go back to their roots and investigate the often overlooked role of ngozi as causing suicide,” he said.

Sekuru Banda said normal people do not commit suicide.

“If you study the prevalent demography of suicide cases prevailing in the country, you will find that it is normal and well to do people that commit the deed.

“Mental health cases are nowhere near that group.

“We have so many living on the streets, partaking of dirty food from city bins and others at mental hospitals. Others are demented due to drug abuse and yet they are not part of the statistics of people committing suicide.

“Sane and responsible people are. That should be an indication that suicide cases need a deep analysis from a traditional point of view.”

The traditionalist said that the polarity of religious influences is the result of people’s little regard of ngozi and its repercussions.

“Anyone that is well versed with our culture knows of ngozi. They also know that it is a great folly not to recompense it as it carries general curses with it.

“However, some of our youngsters do not know it. Neither are they aware that they might be under its curse.

“Religious polarity is the reason and so these youngsters might be suicidal as a result of ngozi’s generational curse.”

Sekuru Banda urged society to study ngozi tendencies that may spark suicide.

“Extreme anger with harmful intentions is an underlying sign of an avenging spirit.

“If an individual has a tendency of extremist practices such as injuring people and doing bodily harm when angry, that is a sure sign of one being possessed  by an avenging spirit.

“Therefore care should be taken to consult traditional help.”

Suicide cases have been on a steady rise in the country with a 2019 World Health Organisation (WHO) reporting that Zimbabweans were on the 19th position on the world rankings.

Last year, the number of people taking their lives rose to prominence with the much publicised death of Tafadzwa Murengwa, a well known Ximex dealer who took his own life after murdering his girlfriend in cold blood.

Sadly, suicide is the fourth leading cause of suicide in 15-29 year olds in Zimbabwe. Moreover, male suicides are more prevalent as compared to females allegedly because of relationship problems.

On the other hand, ngozi or avenging spirit is a result of a murder not recompensed to achieve restorative justice. Failure results in generational misfortunes that are hard to explain such as sickness or death. These normally occur in the family of the perpetrator and will prevail up until it has been addressed.

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