Six days after he disappeared into the Mbuluzi River, Swaziland, Sibusiso Mavuso’s family believes he is still alive and living underwater with a snake. On Sunday they performed rituals to appease the snake so that it could release him. In perfoming the ritual, they threw a live chicken into the river and forced a live cow to also jump into the flooded river. About 60 people watched in awe as the Mavuso family performed rituals to bring back to life the man who is believed to have drowned almost a week ago. The family are members of the Jericho Red Gown Sect. Mavuso drowned while he had gone to pray at the river with his sister.
Police scuba divers have been trying to locate his body since his disappearance but their efforts haven’t yielded fruit. The Mavuso family hails from Luhlangotsini, Pigg’s Peak in the northern Hhohho region. A man of the cloth who preferred to be identified only as Reverend Kunene performed the ritual. Explaining the logic behind the ritual, Sibusiso’s grandmother, Sarah Maseko, said they believed Sibusiso was still alive under the water.
She disclosed that her family believes Sibusiso was taken by a spiritual river snake she identified as inzuzu for an underworld internship for traditional healing (kwetfasa). She could not shed more details describing the snake except for disclosing that it (snake) is the king of the underworld and water (silo semanti).
She said the ritual was to appease the snake so that it released Sibusiso back to the family.
"Sibusiso is my daughter’s son. And my belief as a Jericho Zion Church member is that he is still alive under the water. He is under strict supervision of the king of the underworld and water (silo semanti) which we refer to as inzuzu. He is alive, we are certain of that. This ritual is to plead with the king of the underworld and water to release him back to us," said Maseko. Reverend Kunene flatly refused to respond to questions about the ritual.
Before the ritual was carried out a white chicken, candles, five cents coins, sweets, and a cow (black in colour) were bought. Kunene first lit the candles and placed them near the almost flooding river. This was followed by an ancestral prayer but he was carrying and referring to a Bible as he went about his mission.
After the prayer, Reverend Kunene then tossed the coins and sweets into the river, followed by sprinkling a liquid substance into the river.
He then threw Sibusiso’s grand-mother’s kanga and the white chicken into the river. Thereafter he called for the cow to be brought to him. He carried out what appeared to be an ancestral prayer on the cow before it was forced to jump into the river.
To onlookers’ surprise, the cow swam to safety before it was eventually swept away by the flooded river. The cow did not appear on the far side of the river.
Bishop Khanyakwezwe Vilakati, leader of the faction of The Jericho Red Gown Sect which Sibusiso Mavuso’s family claims to belong to rubbished claims that his church supports the rituals the family was carrying out in a bid to bring back to life the man who is believed to have drowned. "This is grossly wrong. The Jericho Church in Zion should not be mixed with satanic practices like the ones you are referring to," he said.