boys and holding up construction work on a dam.

Believing in mermaids is very common in this part of Africa, and continue to this day, as recent events show.

Construction crews working in the Sengwa 2/Gwehava Dam stopped work after a series of mysterious machine failures that seemed to be sabotage. Traditional healers were brought to the construction site to perform rituals to appease bad water spirits, and then the work carried on without problem.

Then just two years ago, two boys were dragged under the water and drowned near the Pachemumvuri dam in the same Gokwe area of Zimbabwe. Witnesses said a mermaid had been seen on the banks of the river several times in the weeks before the tragedy. On that terrible day, the two schoolboys were herding cattle when they saw what they thought was a big fish. Friends said the boys jumped into the water to grab the fish, but the fish was actually a mermaid, who dragged both boys under the water.

Their friends ran off to get adults, and when they returned, the two boys were alive and on a rock. But then the mermaid reappeared, grabbed the two boys again and pulled them away. The boys’ bodies later floated to the surface, but they had both drowned this time.

Police investigated the drownings, but with no outcome. Meantime, the local people performed cleaning rituals and made an animal sacrifice, as this accident was the second time in recent years that two people had been dragged away by the mermaid and drowned.