A 62-year-old man from Muchatisi Village under Chief Tandi drowned in Rusape Dam on Sunday during a baptism ceremony.
Muzondiwa Jana, who was a new convert of the Nyenyedzi Nomwe Apostolic Sect, drowned while he was being baptised by Ashid Deda, a senior member of the sect.
Jana was a well-known cart-pusher in Rusape and was a member of the Guta RaJehovah (GRJ) church before he joined Nyenyedzi Nomwe Apostolic Sect.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) acting spokesperson in Manicaland Province, Assistant Inspector Wiseman Chinyoka, confirmed Jana’s death. He said:
The body of Muzondiwa Jana was retrieved with the assistance of the Sub-aqua Unit near St Joseph’s High School and it has since been positively identified. The matter is still under investigation and the body awaits a post-mortem.
The incident happened on March 13, around 12 when the Nyeredzi Nomwe Apostolic Sect leader, Ashid Deda (65) of Cheneka Village was baptising church members in the dam. Deda baptised Jana who afterwards tried to swim to the banks and drowned.
Efforts to rescue him were in vain. Sect members formed a search party but failed to locate him.
They later notified the police who attended the scene but failed to locate the body. The Sub-aqua Unit attended the scene on Tuesday and retrieved the body.
When Jana’s body could not be found on Monday, locals speculated that he had been taken by a mermaid, an imaginary supernatural creature that allegedly lives in water.
It is believed by some local people that there is a mermaid in Rusape Dam, known as Daniel, who sacrifices one person between March and August every year.