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Scientifically, lightning (mheni) is the most spectacular element of a thunderstorm.
In western classical mythology, lightning was a feared thunderbolt that had supernatural origins.
Modern scientific views on lightning consider it as a discharge of electricity.
The study examines the socio-cultural and religious beliefs of the Shona people in Zimbabwe on the phenomenon of lightning.
It asserts that some Shona people claim to have the indigenous knowledge and power to manipulate nature to strike intended individuals or objects.
Consequently, some fears, deaths, injuries and damages to property, flora and fauna have been registered due to lightning.
The African perspectives on the nature and origins of lightning are mystical and mysterious.
The supersonic speed and damage associated with lightning justify the caption ‘African blitzkrieg’.
This ‘blitzkrieg’ is man-made in both cases contrary to the scientific explanation.
The study explores these contrasting perspectives on lightning and probes the claims of lightning-making.
In addition, it evaluates such beliefs within the framework of moral and social problems as they impact on contemporary society.
Fortune Sibanda is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo.
He holds a B.A, B.A (Hons), Grad.
CE, MA in Religious Studies and an MEd (Philosophy).
Sibanda is a registered PhD candidate with the University of Zimbabwe.
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