Madzibaba Aaron (40), leader of the Johane Masowe Yenyenyedzi Nomwe sect, is a tormented soul.


Upon meeting the man for the first time, one might easily conclude that the sect leader is either a vagrant or mentally-challenged.

Born Justin Makuba, Madzibaba Aaron’s decided to desert his congregation and family to live as a vagrant in the mountains of Makande Village in Magunje. His story leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

Madzibaba Aaron’s relationship with Sekuru Nyanehwe (Innocent Chipeneti), a spirit medium, further complicates his unusual story.

The man of cloth’s involvement with the spirit medium brings into the spotlight the relationship between Christianity and African traditional beliefs.

The Sunday Mail Society recently caught up with Madzibaba Aaron at Sekuru Nyanehwe’s homestead, where he has been staying for the past one month.

The dreadlocked Madzibaba Aaron, who has vowed that he will never take off his apostolic faith regalia, chronicled how he casually walked away from his family in 2012.

Leaving behind a wife and four children in Chinhoyi, he wandered from one cave to the other as he turned the Majunje mountains into his new home.

Since then, he has neither communicated with his family nor visited them.
Madzibaba Aaron said at one time, he lived off water and mushroom after having received “a special instruction from God.”

For six years, the cleric says he has been celibate and has not taken a bath.
The circumstances that led him to abandon his family is the stuff often plucked from stranger-than-fiction narratives.

“I got an instruction to leave my family in 2012. Since then, l have been conducting my prayers and living in the caves. That is how l met my new congregation, they would come and join me for prayers.

“Then when we were in a mountain in Chinhoyi and conducting an all-night prayer session in a cave, we discovered that we were surrounded by strange snakes.”

“After praying, I went into a trance and I heard a voice directing me to Sekuru Nyanehwe’s homestead. Eleven of my congregants decided to abandon their homes and join me. Since then, we have been living in caves,” narrated Madzibaba Aaron.

The group, which includes six children aged between six and eleven years, made the 80 kilometre journey from Chinhoyi to Magunje on foot.

Since then, the roving congregants have been moving from one cave to the other, surviving largely on wild fruits, roots and handouts from well-wishers.

Amongst the followers is a couple with three children, a father with his two children and another man with his younger brother.

Madzibaba Aaron explained his mission. “Last month, the Holy Spirit directed me to Sekuru Nyanehwe’s homestead and I was instructed to stay at the spirit medium’s residence as a form of punishment for defiling the sacred shrine in Chinhoyi.”

According to Madzibaba Aaron, the ancestors are not happy with the way Christians are conducting their prayer sessions in sacred caves. He said he will only leave Sekuru Nyanehwe’s homestead after he has been “cleared” by the angry ancestors.

“The ancestral spirits are angry and must be appeased, lest calamities such as droughts befall the nation. We will be here until we are told we have been forgiven and the rituals are conducted,” Madzibaba Aaron said.

He said the instruction to leave Magunje will be communicated to them through Sekuru Nyanehwe.
The traditionalist confirmed Madzibaba Aaron’s story.

“I was notified by the ancestral spirits of their coming to my home a long time ago. We are helping them and will only act on instructions from the spirits,” Sekuru Nyanehwe said. But whilst Madzibaba Aaron claims that he is on a mission to rescue humanity, his sect is violating children’s rights.

By moving with six children from one cave to the other, the sect is denying the children their rights to education and shelter.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe, under Section 81 (1), states that every child should have access to education, health care services, nutrition and shelter.


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