By Leonard Ncube
Just a name and surname as well as a picture on WhatsApp is enough for Musawenkosi Vundla, a Victoria Falls-based prophet to “diagnose” and tell one’s problem or misfortune.
Vundla, who calls himself Thwasa Lodumo, is one of the few prophets who use herbs.
He however, says he is neither a traditionalist nor an inyanga and the name Thwasa Lodumo is only a unique brand as a prophet who also uses some herbs to treat his clients.
Vundla is registered as a prophet through the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe and is in the process of also registering with Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha).
He has taken his healing business to social media where he uses Facebook and WhatsApp platforms to attend to those seeking “divine intervention.”
While some people misuse social media platforms sending falsehoods, insults other violent content, Vundla has embraced the platforms for healing purposes and changing lives.
He operates from Chinotimba suburb as well as his rural home in Sizinda about 15km from the resort town where he has built a homestead.
“I started as a prophet but a vision from my ancestral spirits appeared to me instructing me to also use herbs. This is different from traditional healing or inyanga. When a person comes to consult, I pray for them and if the solution needs traditional herbs I prescribe and administer them the same way I do with anointed water and iziwasho (concoctions used by prophets). Thwasa Lodumo doesn’t mean I am an inyanga, it’s just a trade name for people to identify me. All it means is that I use both traditional herbs and prophecy.
“One can send his or her name and surname or picture on WhatsApp and I use the information to establish their problems. I then explain my findings to the client and if he or she is happy that’s when I prescribe a solution. I use Facebook to do live prophecy and link up with clients but then revert to WhatsApp platform for consultation for purposes of privacy,” he said.
Vundla says social media has kept him busy during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“I started attending to clients online even before the outbreak of Covid-19 as I considered the distance that people have to travel for consultation. Before lockdown I would have about 40 clients coming to consult and that has gone down to about 30 per day. On social media I attend to an average of 70 people per day. I have drawn a timetable of days when I attend to people on Facebook and WhatsApp platforms and physical consultation.
“It works as long as the client follows instructions as explained. The challenge sometimes is network and data but I make sure I have enough data to be reachable all the time,” said Mr Vundla.
His clientele has grown worldwide and he has been invited to Botswana, Germany, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia.
He said he should have gone to the UK had it not been for the lockdown.
“I have clients all over the world and these comprise Zimbabweans in the Diaspora and some foreigners who are mostly referred by those I have assisted before. So far I haven’t had complaints from any of my clients but have many who come back to express their gratitude,” he said.
Vundla says he uses isiwasho and some herbs to treat backaches, continuous hemorrhage, some sexually transmitted infections, sore feet, cancer of the stomach and some specific rashes as well as ukuxotsha umnyama and ithunzi, for inhlanhla (luck), ukugabha (gaggling), isichitha and to boost sexual performance.
For those outside the country, he says he packages the herbs and sends them via courier services.
“I prayed and also consulted spirits for the power to be able to remotely assist those far away. I have been sending herbs and anointments to those overseas,” he explained.
A news crew visited Sizinda village where he has built a homestead.
He said he attends to his clients free of charge.
“I get herbs locally but also travel to other parts of the country. That is when I ask a client to contribute towards transport fares so I can travel to get them the herbs. I had nothing when I started in 2014 but now I have built a nice home and bought cars from the benevolence of my clients. I have never been employed anywhere and at the same time I have never clashed with any of my clients. I say this because I am grateful for the support they give me,” he said.
The healing business is not without challenges.
Mr Vundla said he sometimes has to fight enemies or temptations.
“This is not a walk in the park. You need to be committed, dedicated and strong. There are many challenges and temptations and to overcome these one has to examine every client to see if their coming is genuine or a trap.
“There are people who would try to pull you down by bad mouthing you or use isichitha. Some clients are also not genuine as they are sent by enemies to test our powers. Usually I see a vision as soon as such a person arrives and I handle them with caution.
“Some, especially women, come specifically to tempt you and unfortunately some colleagues have fallen into the trap and are in jail or have faltered altogether. I have prayed about that and handled them politely. My message out there is that this healing job requires one to be alert to such temptations,” he warned.
Some of his clients have even inquired if he could treat Covid-19 to which he says he only prescribes some concoctions to treat known symptoms as there is no cure.
“I prescribe something closer,” he said.
Mr Vundla is grateful to his family especially his wife Ms Margaret Ndlovu whom he says is his a pillar of strength.
“I have trained her how to mix concoctions. Sometimes when I am not around and a client wants help I give her instructions and she assists. I know I have someone I can depend on,” he said.
Mr Vundla said a cross section of society including political, business and community leaders consult him.
He however said he is worried when some people seek his help to kill their competitors or spouses especially when infidelity is involved. The Chronicle