A Zimbabwean soccer player drowned earlier this week during a ritual swim in a raging river that was supposed to cleanse his team of evil spirits. These things never work. Didn’t they see the Cubs try this by holding hands while wading chest deep in Lake Michigan to ward off their curse? They even ritually sacrificed Micah Hoffpauir. The spirits always win, man.
While backward beliefs in underdeveloped countries can seem quaint and innocent on the surface, they sometimes lead to trying some really, really dumb things, like attempting to swim in a dangerous river infested with unfriendly animals. The unlucky player apparently didn’t have much of a choice either, as the players were instructed to enter the water by team officials.
The river chosen for the spirit-squashing dip was the mighty Zambezi near Victoria Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the world. While the loss of a life is always a tragedy, it’s miraculous that 15 of the 16 players emerged from the river alive.
REUTERS reports on the story, which was originally covered by one of Zimbabwe’s state newspapers, the CHRONICLE.
The paper quoted local police commander Peter Rodzi as saying that after the swim, the other players had noticed that one of the team was missing.
“The area where the team was swimming is prohibited as the current is strong. The river is also infested with crocodiles and hippos,” said Rodzi.
The player’s body was not recovered. I guess I should say that it’s “assumed” that the player drowned, since “eaten by hippo” is still on the table.
This is the second incident in a month where the worlds of soccer and witchcraft have collided in Africa. A few weeks back, 11 people died in a riot in Congo that erupted after one team put a spell on the other team.
Please, Africa, start warding off curses like the rest of us. Get a lucky shirt or a couple of troll dolls or something.