8 February 2012, JellyBean @ 4:54 am

Police in South Africa have arrested a suspected fraudster for impersonating the award-winning traditional singer Khulekani Kwakhe “Mgqumeni” Khumalo, who died in 2009.

The unnamed man, who appeared in court in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province on Tuesday, had said he had not died but was kidnapped by a witchdoctor who cast a spell on him and imprisoned him in a cave with zombies, local media reported.

Thousands of people in Khumalo’s rural eastern home village of Esiggumeni, turned out to see the man at the weekend. Riot police with truncheons and water cannons were deployed to keep the crowd under control.

The man told reporters: “I have been suffering a lot at the place where I was kept with zombies. It was hell there and I am so grateful that I was able to free myself and return to my family and you, my supporters.”

“I have always been alive,” he was quoted as telling the crowd. “I have lost a lot of weight but it is me.”

Police said the suspect’s fingerprints do not match those of the famed singer. The man also does not have the same scars on his face as Khumalo had.

“Detectives conducting the enquiry were convinced that the matter required criminal investigation,” police said in a statement.

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8 February 2012, JellyBean @ 3:42 am

Essential work on planned reservoirs in Zimbabwe has stopped because mermaids have been hounding workers away, according to the country’s Water Resources Minister.

Samuel Sipepa Nkomo told a Zimbabwean parliamentary committee that terrified workers are refusing to return to the sites, near the towns of Gokwe and Mutare.

Minister Nkomo said the only way to solve the problem was to brew traditional beer and carry out any rites to appease the spirits.

‘All the officers I have sent have vowed not to go back there’, Minister Nkomo was reported as saying in Zimbabwe’s state-approved Herald newspaper.

Mermaids are mythological water creatures with a female body twinned with the tail of a fish.

Opinion about the existence of mermaids varies throughout Zimbabwe – some people are skeptical, but some firmly believe that mermaids exist in Zimbabwe.

Dating back centuries, many mermaid stories continue to make their rounds in Zimbabwe.

One tale says mermaids carry humans underwater, but if there is a public outcry their relatives might never see them again.

But another tale suggests victims can return as spirit mediums if their disappearance is not mourned.

The senior politician said that mermaids were also present in other reservoirs.

‘We even hired whites thinking that our boys did not want to work but they also returned saying they would not return to work there again,’ he added.

The two, long overdue reservoirs are considered essential if Zimbabwe is provide adequate water to its population and to boost its agricultural production.

Having once been the ‘bread basket’ of Southern Africa, the country’s farms have been laid low by lack of faith in government policy.

From 2000, President Robert Mugabe expropriated some 4,000 white owned farms and gave them to politically connected blacks.

Partly as a result, agricultural production is this year forecast to be at its second lowest level since Zimbabwe achieved independence from Britain in 1980.

The belief in mermaids and other mythical creatures is widespread in the country, where many people combine a Christian faith with traditional beliefs.

Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo said the government wants to give the population the water it needs, but cannot do so until the rituals are performed and necessary repairs can be carried out.

Three quarters of Zimbabwe’s population live on less than one US dollar a day.

16 January 2012, JellyBean @ 7:22 am

A female Zimbabwean nurse collapsed and fainted at local General Hospital after reportedly noticing what she described as a ‘witch’ sucking blood from a patient in a hospital ward.

The incident occurred while the nurse was carrying out routine checks on patients early on Wednesday morning. The nurse has now been admitted at the hospital, receiving treatment.

A hospital official said staff were now afraid to work nights following the incident which has become the talk of the city of Gweru.

“The affected nurse is still admitted in hospital where she is receiving treatment. Fear has now gripped the hospital staff following the incident as most nurses are now afraid to go on night duty,” the unnamed official said.

The incident took place as the nurse made her routine rounds in the female wards at around 3am in the morning.

“When she came across the witch, the drip had been removed from the patient. The witch was apparently busy sucking blood from the patient and the on-duty nurse immediately raised an alarm upon witnessing the shocking incident. She (the nurse) suddenly collapsed and fainted,” the hospital official said.

“She is still weak and is being attended to by a doctor. However, she is now able to narrate what really transpired on the fateful day.”

Hospital superintendant, Dr Fabian Mashingaidze confirmed that a nurse was being treated at the institution but dismissed as fantasy reports of a “witch” citing.

“Let me assure the general public that there is no incident of that sort which happened at Gweru Provincial Hospital. It’s a fabrication from some people who are fantasising,” Dr Mashingaidze said.

“The nurse is being attended to by one of the doctors but her condition and the nature of the aliment is confidential.”

12 January 2012, JellyBean @ 6:53 am

There may finally be proof that a big cat may be on the loose and killing deer in Gloucestershire, experts have warned.

Last week, dog walkers discovered the mutilated carcass of a roe deer on National Trust land near Stroud in England.

The experts believe that the injuries to the neck of the deer and the way the carcass had been consumed are believed to be highly indicative of big cat activity.

Experts have taken DNA samples from the remains of the deer to see whether a big cat, such as a puma or panther, could have killed it.

Local big cat expert Rick Minter, who has visited the site of the discovery at Woodchester Park, said: “It is very helpful to have this forensic study of the deer carcass.

“The consistent feedback I receive from people about possible big cats is that the animals should be studied, so we can learn about the subject.

“Studying likely evidence such as this will help us become more informed.

Mr Minter added: “Although people occasionally report a possible big cat from a distance, close up encounters with such cats are rare.

“Their hearing and movement are exceptional, which helps them avoid close contact with people.”

“In the event of a close-up encounter, you should stay calm and face towards the animal as you back off, but not threaten or aggravate it.

“The chances are it will have backed off very quickly first.”

David Armstrong, the National Trust’s head ranger for Gloucestershire, said: “There are some very occasional sightings of big cats in the Cotswolds, but they have wide territories, so are rarely present in one particular spot for long.

“We’d be interested to hear of any more sightings at Woodchester.”

Dr Robin Allaby, Associate Professor at the school of life sciences at the University of Warwick, visited to take DNA samples.

These are now being tested with the results due by the end of the month.

For centuries, there have been thousands of reported sightings of large felines on moorland and in woods and fields across the UK.

The animals – normally black or brown – are believed have been spotted in almost every county in Britain.

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