By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK A self-acclaimed traditional healer has performed a disappearing act with a stash of jewellery belonging to an unspecified but large number of people who deposited it purportedly for cleansing rituals. The ill-gotten jewellery, comprising of gold-plaited wristwatches, bangles and neckpieces and other goods, are said to be worth a small fortune. The suspect, who is believed to have skipped the country, is a certain Joe Zumruu, a 28-year-old man who promised his clients magic remedies to their problems. He said he honed his skills as a traditional healer in his native country Djibouti in east Africa. The seemingly bogus healer sweet-talked unsuspecting locals, saying unlike other traditional healers who ask hefty prices for their services, he only charges 20 cents and that clients could deposit jewellery with him for later return. Of late there has been a proliferation of all sorts of herbalists hailing from neighbouring countries who claim they can make their clients wealthy. They also say they can enhance one's prospects for securing a well-paying job and that they can smear traditional herbs on houses to make them burglar-proof, or enlarge the sexual organs of the under-endowed while at the same time bring back a lost lover, among others. These herbalists come from all walks of life promising perfection to people that seemingly have problems in their lives. They compete with conventional doctors as more and more people look to them to solve their many 'secret' problems. New Era came to know about this latest and trendiest crime initiative yesterday when one of Zumruu's victims stated she wanted to warn other Namibians about these conmen and con-women. It unfolded that roughly two weeks ago, this young woman approached Zumruu for treatment for bad luck and marital problems. She related that the so-called healer asked her to bring N$650 for the treatment. Later, he asked for her wedding ring valued at between N$2 500 and N$3 000 giving the reason that it was to be cleansed for good luck. The victim was asked to return for her ring after two days but to her surprise, Zumruu disappeared and his whereabouts remain unknown. "I do not know what to do. I do not know what to tell my husband, I am scared. If only he could bring back the ring," she agonized. The only medication she received were some dried roots to add to her bathing water, which she confessed have so far not made any impact on her fortunes. According to this source, there are many other people who have fallen victim of this 'healer's' bag of monkey tricks. A male victim who approached Zumruu for luck was also left dumbfounded after learning that a young man who seemed innocent and god-sent to solve the secret problems of many had turned out to be a swindler. "No one would have suspected any crooked intentions from this young man," the victim narrated. In his case, he was asked N$940 and a bottle of lotion before the healing process could commence. At what seemed to be his tactic, the healer asked for the young man's ring said to be valued at N$1 500. "After a day, I went to ask for my ring but he said I should come again the following day. He kept on postponing and before we knew it, he was gone," he said. The bogus healer initially announced he did not ask for any substantial amount of money or any other material things as form of payment, but a mere 20 cents. He presented himself as one of the reputable healers on the continent and that he has been to African countries, such as Egypt, South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania and Mozambique where he claims he was highly regarded.
2006-10-12 00:00:00 11 years ago