A FAMILY from Ngotsha Village in Bulilima District is living in the open after some of the tents donated to it to provide shelter were destroyed by a mysterious fire.

The family recently lost three of its five homesteads to the fire in a suspected case of witchcraft. The fire, reported to be tormenting the Tshuma family in the area, started in August this year.

A family member who is also the area’s village head, Robert Tshuma, said three homesteads had been completely destroyed by the fire.

“We had five different homesteads which were housing five different families and they have all been damaged by the fire. The last two huts were destroyed last week on Monday.

This has brought the number of homesteads that have been completely destroyed to three.

“We were now relying on the tents which were donated to us by the District Administrator when the incident started but the fire is now moving on to destroy the tents as well,” said Tshuma.

He said the two tents were damaged by the fire last week.

“We are not able to live a normal life anymore because the fire is unstoppable. Two of the tents that we received caught fire on the same day that the two huts were destroyed. We do not have an option but to sleep in the damaged tents.

“Our fear is that all the tents will be completely destroyed eventually and the remaining huts. Our clothes are now stored haphazardly because once we put them in order the fire builds up,” said Tshuma.

He said the mysterious fire, which started in August, first destroyed property and then proceeded to destroy homes as well.

Tshuma said the fire moved from one homestead to another belonging to their family within the area.

He said the fire, whose source was unknown, could not be stopped once it started.

Tshuma said whenever the fire started a dark cloud of smoke would rise and then huge uncontrollable flames would build up forcing the family to watch in despair until the fire finally dies out.

He said the five homes housed 18 people while other family members were based in South Africa.

In an interview, Chief Madlambuzi said he had received a report that the fire was persisting and was now destroying the tents.

“The problem of mysterious fires which are affecting the Tshuma family in Ngotsha Village is still continuing and now it is has moved on to destroy the tents which are the only alternative which the family members have. This problem is affecting only one family out of the whole village.

“In most cases where such odd things happen there would be something fishy. It could be either one of the family members or the whole family wronged someone who is tormenting it as a way of revenge,” he said.

Chief Madlambuzi said members of the community were reluctant to assist the Tshumas as they were afraid that the “curse” might affect them as well.

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