Syumbesa, the witch who killed white missionaries using bees

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Kalamba AIC church which was constructed by the first missionaries

At Kalamba, Nzaui in Makueni County, here stands the first church constructed over a century ago.

Peter Scott and his two missionary friends constructed this church when they landed at the place from the Coastal region in a bid to preach the gospel in remote areas in the 1890s.

The missionary (Peter Scott) is said to have died here following Blackwater fever.

It is also said Scott was generally weak throughout his life after he was run over by a curt while he was three years old.

But the Kamba’s have a different story on the cause of Scott and his other two friends’ deaths.

While at Kalamba, the missionaries started converting area residents and managed to have other centres at Sakai, Kilungu and Kangundo.

This is said not to have gone well with a witch doctor in the area who opposed the existence of the missionaries at the place.

Syumbesa, the witch is said to have killed the missionaries by attacking them with a swarm of bees.

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According to area residents, who believe in the story of Syumbesa’s witchcraft, it is said she was angered by the fact that the missionaries were now interfering which her business and she feared that if people adopted the missionaries way which was Christianity, they would turn against her thereby losing customers.

The mission of Peter Scott which started at Kalamba giving birth to the Africa Inland Mission Church which later changed to Africa Inland Church today boasts of over 3,000 churches in the Ukambani region.

However, some religious leaders in the area dismiss the story that the missionaries were killed by Syumbesa through witchcraft.

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