Saved from Zombiedom?

Jane Nalwimba, 90, was arrested on suspicion of trying to turn Matthew Brown, 11, into a zombie. She was to be charged with practicing witchcraft. Her alleged doings were one of many witchcraft-related happenings claimed to have occurred in the Mbeya region of southern Tanzania.

Elias Saanya, the regional police chief, stated that Brown was going home from mango picking when set upon by an unidentified male assailant. The unconscious boy was brought to a graveyard. Three days later, according to the police chief, he was taken to the home of Nalwimba. Washed with some substance, the boy was put under the bed.

On February 8, the alleged plan had been to cut off Brown's tongue, but Nalwimba's arrest supposedly prevented that step of the zombie-making process.

A local sorcerer was said to have come up with the location of Brown, allowing the rescue.

While the above story is interesting, its accusations seem debatable. In rural Tanzania, many accused witches are actually elderly women whose covetous relatives want their property. Such motives and actions are also well known in the northwestern area of the country.

Source:, 2/9/00 (from Associated Press); also Associated Press, 8/2/99