A 20-year-old Chitungwiza woman sustained serious head burns in a cleansing ceremony gone wrong.
Millicent Moffat had her face and hair burnt at a shrine in St Mary’s by Tawonei Chaziva, 47, popularly known as Madzimai of Johanne Masowe yeChishanu.

Madzimai told H-Metro that she lit her prepared mixer of paraffin, cooking oil and a black cloth for cleansing leading to the mishap.

“To be honest with you I left Millicent in the house and went to a private clinic where I bought medication after she got burnt,” said Madzimai.

“I used a small amount of paraffin and that is what caused the fire and the cloth covering her head caught fire which rapidly spread.

“I was cleansing her for evil spirits causing misfortunes in her life. She wanted to go to South Africa for greener pastures hence the need for prayers. It is true that I have been concealing information surrounding the tragedy fearing arrest and gossip mongers.

“Millicent has been helping my daughter with extra lessons during lock down. She has been lodging at one of our neighbours’ houses but for the past two months she is under my roof,” said Madzimai.

Madzimai, a vendor, lied to health workers that Millicent got burnt while cooking and she has been denying neighbours access to meet Millicent to avoid truth coming out.

Millicent said her condition was now better. “I was affected much that my face got swollen; to me it was like something more than burning,” said Millicent.

“My face changed and I took some photographs and kept them for remembrance. The wounds are too painful but I am recovering well.

“One of my relatives sent money for medication and I do not blame Madzimai for this. It was like a spiritual attack and I thank God to be alive,” said Millicent.

Millicent, the only child in her family, has been staying with her step-mother following death of her mother. H Metro

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