The InDuna & witchdoctors of Bukalo (Zambezi Region, Namibia)
Written by Berrie Holtzhausen, 21st August 2014
Friday afternoon, 15th August, we (Susanne and I) arrive in Katima Mulilo. On the banks of the Zambezi is a beautiful overnight stop that we choose to stay in. Unfortunately for us, NWR (Namibia Wildlife Resorts) are busy taking it over and the Prime Minister and his crew checked in just before us. We therefore have to move as the chalets available have no water. However, the ladies at reception is very helpful and when they hear what we do and why we are in the Zambezi Region, they advise and direct us to the offices of NBC (Namibian Broadcasting Corporation). This would help us with the search for people that are bewitched. We have to leave quickly as we are told that the Zambezi Region is on Central African Time and not on Namibian Time and so we have lost an hour.
At the offices of NBC, we find two vehicles parked in length across the pavement. I decide to follow suit, but the security guard is quick to tell me that I have to park sideways to give other people space as well. Not sure why, I decide to quickly do this, as not to waste any more time. Inside, we are quickly helped and I quickly scribble an announcement on paper. The whole process takes us at most 15 minutes. Outside, Susanne and I wonder how we will ever know if they will actually broadcast this as we don’t understand a word Lozi – one of the five languages spoken in the Zambezi Region.
From the offices to the car it took us about five minutes and then we immediately dialed into the local NBC station and were just in time to hear an announcement of which we understood nothing but my cellphone number. I started to drive immediately as Susanne got into trouble for trying to take a photo of the NBC offices?! My phone started ringing and the first calls came in. Two cut the line when they realized I am no Lozi-speaking-witch. Another one told me very clearly he didn’t want to speak to me.
After that first call from a woman in Windhoek who told us about her brother who desperately needed help, we didn’t have another quiet time again. The woman on the phone asked me whether I was a traditional healer (black African) or a psychologist (white African)? The next morning we met her brother, Love More, at the filling station in Bukalo. Love More had only one eye – the other he lost in January after being attacked in Windhoek.
On our way to Love More’s village, he told us that his dad’s sister bewitched their family and in that way, acquired the whole village. According to him, his sister, Ofelia, is also mentally disturbed or bewitched. And so Love More and Ofelia were the first interviews we had in the Zambezi Region.
To be continued…