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INYANGA IN DESIGNER SUITS – Meet Zim’s charismatic traditional healer

WITH a sizeable entourage trailing behind him, which includes a bulky bodyguard that acts as his shadow, the man known as Sekuru Banda did not look out of place as he mingled with his suit-wearing counterparts at the recently-ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

Giving a nod or handshake where necessary, few could have guessed that this courteous, smartly-dressed man who seems at least a decade too young to be called sekuru is a traditional healer.

But Sekuru Banda is a man of contradictions. As international companies showcased their wares, he was in their midst ready to break down the science of herbs and bones.

In Harare Banda has become a celebrity of sorts, gaining popularity for not only his ability to pull off miraculous feats of healing but also for his flamboyant lifestyle which mirrors that of Zimbabwe’s numerous prophets.

“The spirit that operates through me does not want me to be dirty,” said Banda when quizzed about his flamboyant lifestyle and sizeable entourage by Sunday Life.

“We encourage people to be clean. In addition some people were afraid to go to herbalists because of the way we carried ourselves but now we even have people from churches coming to see us,” said the soft-spoken traditional healer.

Born Kamwelo Banda in Malawi, the story of how Banda, whose father was also a n’anga, became a healer is as amusing and fascinating as his persona. Like other healers, he claims to have received his awe-inspiring powers after a brief adventure in a supernatural world.

“It happened when I was around seven years old. I found myself in this world under water for about two weeks and when I came back I had the gift to see things and heal people,” he said

Sekuru Banda at one of the stands at ZITF

As odd and empowering as that adventure was, it is not the only source that Banda derives his power from.

Hailing from Mangochi in Malawi, Sekuru Banda claims he refined his healing skills at the Ghana Herbal Medical Students’ Association (Ghemsa) institute in Kumasi.

Although it is alleged that he went to school only up to Form Three, the traditional healer has in the past claimed that he is a qualified medical doctor.

Like the current wave of prophets that dominate the country, Sekuru Banda is highly visible on social media, while he calculates his rate of success and failure with mathematical precision.

According to him, 70 percent of his clients’ problems are solved instantly, with 20 percent of the problems getting solved after a short period. The man who claims he is visited by at least 500 people a day pegged his failure rate at 10 percent. Included in that list of success and failure are church leaders who visit him under the cover of darkness.

“They usually come at night. Of course when they get on the pulpit they preach against my practices but I don’t mind helping them. Their usual complaint is that they want to increase the membership in their churches and I help them with that,” he said.

A man whose wardrobe is dominated by expensive designer suits, shoes and glasses also needs businesses to show his true worth and Banda is determined to match the country’s more prosperous prophets dollar for dollar.

“I have a number of businesses that I run but I will never leave healing despite my success elsewhere,” he said

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