Ngoni Dapira
AFTER two failed surgical operations and exhausting all medical options that money could buy to cure his perthes disease, 18-year-old Norman Sithole was miraculously healed by Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa on July 13 during a special healing service at the United Family Interdenominational Church in Mutare.

The Weekender got word of the news after last Sunday’s UFIC service when an over-elated Norman gave a touching testimony about his 10-year perthes disease (a childhood disorder that affects the hip joints) condition and right hip dislocation handicap and how Prophet Makandiwa healed him. While most miracles and prophecies by Zimbabwe’s famous prophets, Makandiwa, Uerbet Angel and others, have become a cesspool of controversial debate, The Weekender on Monday decided to do a follow-up on the Norman Sithole miracle.

Norman was featured in The Manica Post edition of December 31, 2005-January 5, 2006 with his mother Abigail Sithole, appealing for financial assistance for an expensive surgical operation to cure Norman’s perthes disease. In an interview with Norman on Monday, he said he dislocated his right hip in 2004 when he was 10 years old and doing Grade 3.

He fell down a slope on his way from Ndima Primary School in Rusitu on one rainy day.

He said he did not feel the pain instantly but felt it three days later. He went to Ndima Clinic and was referred to Chipinge District Hospital where he was further referred to Mutare Provincial Hospital.

It was at Mutare Provincial that he learnt he had perthes disease and that his right hip had dislocated. From that day his life changed from being a “normal” boy to being handicapped.

Between 2004 and 2007, Norman moved from hospital to hospital and from one doctor to another, but to no avail, as his parents tried to get him cured. “At one point I spent six months at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare. 2004 to 2006 was really a difficult time for me as my parents went all out to try and get me walking properly again. I was in and out of school a lot.

“We tried everything, but it all failed. Different orthopaedic surgeons gave different expert advice and would say I could only be cured by surgery, but the two surgical operations done were unsuccessful,” said Norman. Norman’s mother, Abigail, a vendor at Sakubva 2 High School, said she was in high spirits after the miracle. “I tell you this handicap that my son had was eating me alive each day. I have three children and he is the only son. So, I had many expectations from him as the only son.

“To be honest I had lost all hope after the surgical operations failed. We have endured so much as a family.

Norman’s father, James, passed away in 2006 while I was in Harare at Parirenyatwa Hospital with Norman.

“I only went to bury James and sadly was not around in his last days as he was also ill and hospitalised in Chipinge.

“We sold our car and grinding mills to cater for the medical expenses for Norman and his father, which is why we ended up visiting The Manica Post to appeal for financial assistance from well-wishers for Norman’s second operation, which cost a lot then, about 163,5 million Zimbabwean dollars, roughly over US$2 000 present-day,” said Abigail.

At St Joseph’s High School where Norman did his high school up to Ordinary level last year, teachers and headmaster confirmed his handicap.

His building teacher, Mr Goodwell Bvekerwa, said he knew Norman as a cheerful handicapped student since Form One up to Form Four last year.

“I saw Norman last Wednesday here at school where he was visiting a friend and called him after I noticed that he was now walking properly without a limp.

“He narrated how Prophet Makandiwa healed him and I could not believe it,” said Mr Bvekerwa.

The headmaster, Mr Vitalis Takarinda, said he was not sure whether it was a Prophet Makandiwa miracle or not, but all he knew was that Norman was handicapped throughout his four years at St Joseph’s High School. First Class Academy director Mr Stephen Mutsongodza, where Norman sat four subjects in June, confirmed that Norman was handicapped and was shocked to hear he had been healed.

Norman said he started attending UFIC in August last year after he was invited by their neighbour, Mrs Nhachi. Mrs Nhachi told him Prophet Makandiwa had healed a lot of disabled people and maybe he would heal him too. “I started going to UFIC in August last year and left my family church United Methodist.

“To be honest, I went to Judgement Night 2 in Harare in April with so much hope. My mother even escorted me hoping as well for a miracle, but nothing happened.

“I did not lose faith and continued attending church services at UFIC. On July 13 during the service we were told to pray against family curses that were blocking our success.

“Our pastor said the healing spirit of Prophet Makandiwa was in the midst and told us to pray against family curses from both the maternal and paternal sides.

“My friend Tanaka started manifesting and later joined him. I only woke up towards the end of the service and could not believe it when I stood up and walked without a limp.

“I started running praising the Lord and the pastor called me in front to give my testimony,” said Norman. An official comment could not be attained from Pastor Jacob Tembo by time of going to press. However, UFIC members said in their church they believe the anointing of Prophet Makandiwa works through his ministers, which is why all followers can be healed wherever they are, whether in Mutare, Gweru or Bulawayo.