A SELF-STYLED traditional healer in Gweru has detained two minor children for four years after their mother failed to pay two beasts for the treatment of a rare foot disease.
The kids, now aged 11 and 15 were aged 7 and 11, respectively when their mother, Ms Simangele Zimba (33) handed them over to the inyanga, Juliet Mpofu, popularly known as Gogo Maphilisa in 2013 so she could treat them.
The traditional healer who is insisting on the payment of the two beasts before releasing the children, is so benevolent that she is paying school fees for the two children who are in grades Three and Six at Nyozani Primary School in Fort Rixon, Matabeleland South province.
The traditional healer is also taking great care of their upkeep and as such the children are now refusing to go back to their family.
Gogo Maphilisa confirmed that she was detaining the kids over non-payment of the bill. “The kids are in good health. I healed them. They are going to school. All I want is payment for the job I did. Just two beasts,” she said.
Asked if the upkeep and school fees did not cost her much more than the two cows she is owed, she said she was following the principles of the occult.
“The payment of the two beasts is a matter of principle. It is also a matter of principle that children should wear good clothes, eat good food and attend school. I will, however, not release them as long as payment is outstanding,’’ she said.
Police in Gweru are now negotiating with both the traditional healer and the children who are vehemently refusing to reunite with their mother.
Officer-in-charge Gweru Rural Police Station Chief Inspector Samuel Tadzaushe, confirmed police mediation but referred all questions to the Acting Midlands Provincial Police Spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende, who could not be reached. “Yes, we have such a case but I am not allowed to speak to the Press. Get comment from the provincial spokesperson,’’ he said.
According the children’s mother, Gogo Maphilisa had initially indicated she would “admit” the kids for only two months so that she monitors the healing process before releasing them back to their mother.