Update: River where mermaid was sighted near Ladysmith has dried up

Questions are being asked if a river mermaid can survive a drought? Way back in October 2013, a Zulu-speaking river mermaid  was sighted in Waaihoek. Since then, there have been no more sightings of the mythical creature and the water has dried up in the river.

Locals question if the mermaid could survive!

Councillor Abbas Warasally visited the area recently and asked a few people if they have seen the mermaid, but nobody seems to have seen her. They also pointed out that the river was dry and the mermaid may have died.

In 2013, a woman from Waaihoek, outside Ladysmith, claims she saw the mermaid and not only that, also saved its life. Fisani Duma shared her magical encounter with the Ladysmith Gazette.

The meeting with myth happened on a Saturday afternoon when Fisani was on her way to a local shop to buy cool drink. When she reached the bridge that runs over the Madazane River, she saw four young boys throwing rocks at something. She asked them what they were doing and “the boys told me they were killing a snake that could speak”.

Also read: Where have the mermaids gone?

Upon closer inspection, Fisani saw something that was half woman and half fish. The creature screamed at her in isiZulu, pleading with her to help it. This really frightened Fisani and she took off running. “I ran away really fast, but I could still hear the thing’s screams for help. It was like it was talking to me specifically. It told me it wouldn’t hurt me and to please help it.”

The ‘mermaid’ was stuck in the sand and couldn’t make it back into the water. It had also sustained injuries from the rocks thrown by the boys. “I went back to where it was, and I went to it.”

“It said it wouldn’t hurt me, so I helped it back into the water. Then it raised its arms and thanked me.” After this, it disappeared into the water.

Fisani immediately went home and relayed the stranger-than-fiction tale to her mother. When asked to describe the creature, Fisani said the top half was human and the bottom half fish. She claimed it was Caucasian with blonde hair, and cried real tears. “It was the size of a baby, but had fully-developed features.

“It was small and only came up to my knee, but it was clearly something out of the ordinary.”

“At night, I can feel things crawling all over my body and I get so scared,” said Fisani after the encounter. When shown a cell-phone picture of a mermaid that was taken off the Internet, she became hysterical, crying and screaming.

Since that incident, there has been talk about the mermaid, with many people going to the same river in the hopes that they too may see the mermaid. However, no further sightings have been reported.

South African anthropologist Penny Bernard, who has studied water spirit lore and traditions in that part of the world, has found that many of the traits of the Native American river mermaids also exist in South African tribal beliefs. These water spirits are referred to as the “River People” and are believed to live in certain deep pools of water, especially below waterfalls. Bernard notes “some informants say they are fair skinned, with long dark hair, are naked and some have half-human, half-fish physical attributes. SOURCE

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Nameera Sarjoo

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