The Mukuvisi River in Harare is one of the most polluted water bodies in the country, with human and industrial waste in abundance.

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Death trap . . . . The bridge where mysterious accidents have occurred — Pictures by Kudakwashe Hunda

Death trap . . . . The bridge where mysterious accidents have occurred — Pictures by Kudakwashe Hunda

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With its source near Cleveland Dam in the east, the river cuts through Msasa’s industrial sites and snakes its way to the Manyame River via Graniteside, Mbare, Highfield and Waterfalls.

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But the river is not just a water body.

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Mysterious things are said to happen at several points along its course.

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Mermaids and happenings associated with the mythical creatures have reportedly been sited, and dead bodies — apparently the victims of murder – are often found.

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However, of all the river’s “cursed” spots, none is as infamous as “Pa 11 months”, where inexplicable road traffic accidents happen at or near the bridge between Msasa and Mabvuku along Mutare Road.

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According to police, an average two accidents are recorded here weekly. Several cleansing ceremonies have been held here, and the road has been dualised to make it safer for motorists.

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Companies operating in the vicinity conduct safety awareness campaigns, alerting workers and passers-by of the dangers associated with the spot.

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But the accidents keep happening. And they have been happening since the 1980s.

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It has been said that those driving past the bridge at night can see a woman in white robes standing right in the middle of the road.

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‘‘A child is also seen crawling across the bridge at odd hours.

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When drivers try to avoid hitting these people, they plunge into the river. Few live to tell the tale. Locals say a couple driving across the bridge one night witnessed one of these beings, panicked and plunged into the pool below the bridge.

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Their remains and the shell of the car were only discovered by fishermen after 11 months — hence the area became known as “Pa11 months”.

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Older residents say what motorists see is the ghost of a woman who was struck and killed by a car as she crossed the road near the bridge.

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The unidentified woman was holding her baby when she met her fate. While some genuinely believe that the spot is cursed and needs exorcism, others maintain that these tales are the fabrications of the superstitious.

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Mr Daniel Mhlanga, who has lived near the bridge for over 30 years, says the accidents are the result of human error.

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“There is no evidence to prove that the accidents are being caused by ghosts,” Mr Mhlanga says.

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He says because the accidents usually happen late at night, drivers might either be exhausted or under the influence of alcohol resulting in bad judgement.

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Mr Mhlanga, however, concedes that the frequency — and the manner in which the accidents happen — leaves many questions unanswered.

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“A 7-tonne truck with its trailer was totally submerged under the bridge and I am still wondering how that could have happened.

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‘‘Another vehicle was badly damaged and appeared as if that car had clashed head-on with another car.

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‘‘But only one car was involved in this accident and questions have been raised (about this),” Mr Mhlanga says.