Dr Morris Mlambo
Stories of demons, vampires, goblins, ghosts, weird zombies, and extraterrestrials are as old as hills.
Notwithstanding countless chronicles about the dark world and space invaders, little inquiry has been steered close to the demon around the Mabvuku turn-off along Mutare road.
Mabvuku and Tafara are some of the oldest suburbs in Harare, after Mbare, Highfield and Mufakose.
Some old folks account that during the colonial era, the twin suburbs were initially earmarked for low-density developments, as in most eastern suburbs around the globe.
When driving to and from work, motorists, who were at that time predominantly Caucasian, did not want to face the sun’s rays. Due to air pollution emanating from the Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers Limited (APCM), now Khaya formally Lafarge Cement a company whose history spans back to 1900, the affluent whites refused the offer to reside in this eastern side of Harare.
Ultimately, Mabvuku-Tafara developed into a high-density suburb, isolated from the rest of the old western and southern suburbs.
Mabvuku and Tafara were residences of VaShawasha people before the advent of the white settlers.
The Shawasha community of the Soko Mbire clan was established in this space about three centuries ago. Rock paintings dotted in Chizhanje areas near Old Mabvuku testify that Mabvuku-Tafara was once inhabited by past old generations.
The progenies of the Shawasha folks are remembered in the street and road names of Mabvuku, namely Marembo, Godzonga, Chauruka, Chaitezvi, Shambare, Nyamare, Tingini, Nyahuni and Nzvere, to mention but a few.
Growing up in Mabvuku, one would hear several diaries about mysteries surrounding Mabvuku turn-off. Each week would scarcely pass without earshot of fatal accidents around the place.
With the increase in traffic, it is now the order of the day.
It is sometimes improbable to see the sunrise and sunset without witnessing mishaps and police officers busy attending to accident scene at the Mabvuku turn-off.
Some motorists would shout at each other, defending their actions of trying to manoeuvre against the busy and dangerous Mutare road as they link to and fro Donnybrook Drive. While survivors, both drivers and passengers, had the opportunity to tell their stories about the accident, others died and could not.
Over decades, several of our relatives, friends, and neighbours have lost their lives due to this vampish corner.
Families have been robbed of their breadwinners, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters.
I was touched when I listened to Chaplain Phiri explaining how she lost her first husband at the Mabvuku turn-off due to an accident. She only enjoyed marriage for only four months and was left with a three months pregnancy. Mabvuku Turn-off is one of the surviving demons of our time. The major question however is, for how long? People have attributed all this to ghosts that operate around this place.
Stories of both female and male spooks have been told.
Some believe that the spirits of the victims of accidents cause mishaps around this turn-off.
Several stories have been told recently of a lady ghost carrying a baby who transverse along Mutare Road and Mabvuku turn-off; some eyewitnesses say the countenance is always hidden no matter how one tries to visualise the face of the lady and the baby.
Others believe this lady was a seduction luring some men into adultery, like what used to be done by the famous old spook by the name of Peggy in Highfield.
Some also believe these dark spirits have caused accidents around the famous Eleven Months bridge near the Cleveland Dam entrance along Mutare Road.
So they say if one survives the Eleven Months trap incredibly late at night, the Mabvuku turn-off set-up is waiting for a victim to devour.
Are we not blaming demons over our lack of responsibility or substituting duty for prayer?
It is clear from the sacred writings that these demons are fallen angels.
Suppose the victims of hundreds of accidents returned for revenge at the Mabvuku turn-off; it could be a no-go area.
Nonetheless, sometimes the devil transforms himself into a victim of accidents to deceive humanity and cause more harm.
The Bible accounts for several stories of how Jesus and his Apostles exorcised demons.
In one instance, Jesus said some demons are expelled only by prayer and fasting (Mathew 17:21).
How can the demon at Mabvuku turn-off be exorcised?
Are the conditions around Mabvuku turn-off conducive for Satan to plant his angels and cause havoc?
Is there anything humanity may do to avert the accidents? Mabvuku Turn-off is dark and strange; having a breakdown around it is like declaring oneself a death sentence.
Connecting from Donnybrook Drive to Mutare Road or Mutare Road to Mabvuku, especially from Zimre-Ruwa, is also a nightmare.
Approaching the corner, drivers experience some stress; they think twice about how to juggle and negotiate past the hectic Mutare road, and sometimes impatience by motorists causes unnecessary accidents.
Mabvuku turn-off is a bustling intersection, connecting residents of Mabvuku, Tafara, Chizhanje, Eastview, Chikurubi, Support Unit, and low-density suburbs that link Donnybrook Drive and Arcturus Road.
One wonders how that busy corner, that connects so much traffic, could be neglected for decades.
Is it due to demons or humans’ negligence or what?
Exorcising the demons around Mabvuku-Turn-off requires the collective effort of everyone.
The ultimate purpose of development is to develop and protect human beings.
Humans are at the centre of any development.
Development that does not promote or enhance the quality of life is futile.
Justice for innocent souls that perished for decades around Mabvuku Turn-off is crying for action, be it a robot, grids, speed humps, a roundabout, or solar lighting.
The melody of this grim durge must be abated.
Too many have sung their durge as they buried their loved ones.
We can do something about it! This nemesis can and must be exorcised! Demons hate lights! Switch in the lights; switch on traffic lights at the intersection and exorcise this demon.
We have theorised for too long; it is time for meaningful action.
They say prevention is better than cure. It is better to prevent than be called to attend accident scenes, give death and accident reports, and cover lifeless bodies with blankets along the road.
Exorcising this demon requires the efforts of relevant authorities, maybe well-wishers or you and me.
For how long shall we lose lives when we are bestowed with the capacity to save lives? Life is precious.
Dr Morris Mlambo is an academic, social commentator and devout Christian.
He writes in his personal capacity.