Herbert Wants To Come Home
by Masimba Musodza
A blend of two mythologies, two fears; the African fear of an ancestral spirit aggrieved at being shut out of the family home…and the European fear of deceased kin who rise as vampires and knock on doors, demanding, pleading to be allowed in. When Herbert Mutsepe suddenly dies of anaemia in the United Kingdom, his family have his body brought back to his native Zimbabwe for burial. A year later, they gather from the four corners of the globe to conduct the kurova guva ceremony-evoking his spirit to return home to the family homestead to join the pantheon of vadzimu, the family ancestral guiding spirits. This, despite the influence of Christianity, is at the heart of the beliefs of a large number of southern African peoples. James Muramba, a homicide detective investigating the presumed death of a customs officer at Harare International Airport who vanished the day Mutsepe’s body was brought in is beginning to see a dark and disturbing picture. It seems that all is not well with Herbert’s soul, and perhaps it would not be a good thing at all to let him come home. He suspects, nay, fears, that Mutsepe is no longer the person he was, that exile has mutated him in to a monster.