Eat your heart out, Indiana Jones – and all those others who have been searching for the Ark of the Covenant for the last 2,700 years.  It’s been found in a small museum in Harare, Zimbabwe.  “I felt a shiver down my spine… a strange sanctity seemed to shine from it…”

The hero who claims to have found the Ark is a lecturer in Hebrew at the University of London, one Tudor Parfitt.  His search took him “from Zimbabwe to Papua New Guinea, Israel, Egypt, and Ethiopia via the dusty Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford” (Daily Mail).  His search began in a cave in the Dumghe Mountain, which is the spiritual home of the Lemba people.  (The Lemba people are known as the “Jews of Africa” and live among the indigenous African tribes of Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa.  They avoid intermarrying, are proud of their Jewish origins and live according to ancient Jewish lore.  They also refer to themselves as the “children of Abraham” and are thought to have left Israel over 2,700 years ago – they have DNA that is remarkably similar to other Jewish groups.)

Against the advice of the Lemba people, Parfitt first entered the cave in 1987 but was frightened off by a deafening animal roar.  He spent the next twenty years researching the subject, and on expeditions following up leads as far afield as Papua New Guinea.  He eventually came across a reference to a “drum-like object” called “the ngoma” that had been photographed 60 years ago in the Bulawayo Museum of Southern Rhodesia.  It had been discovered by a Swedish missionary called Harald Von Sicard in a cave near the Limpopo River during the 1940s.  But the object had disappeared from the Bulawayo Museum in 1949…

Twenty years after he began his odyssey, Parfitt learned that some of the Bulawayo Museum’s collection had been moved to the Victoria Museum in Harare, Zimbabwe and he went there in March 2007.  What Parfitt saw when he got there convinced him that he’d found the Ark; “I felt a shiver down my spine.  Without a doubt this was the Von Sicard ngoma.  Everything in the room suddenly took on a hard-edged radiance… A strange sanctity seemed to shine from it…”  He took a sample of the wood for carbon dating, but was disappointed to learn that it “only” dated from around 1350AD.  Bearing in mind that the original Ark – wood covered with gold – was unlikely to have survived for over 3,000 years, he believes this 700 year old “Ark” in Zimbabwe is “the last thing on Earth in direct descent from the Ark of the Covenant.”  Tudor Parfitt has written a book of his adventures: The Lost Ark of the Covenant.

Meanwhile the present home of this ancient relic, Zimbabwe, is “in the custody of a dictatorship,” according to one presidential hopeful, Morgan Tsvangirai.  He said, “We’re all bleeding, but we’re marching on. We’re weak and with hunger, but we’re stronger with anger.”  Mugabe, another ancient relic, has ruled Zimbabwe for 28 years and remains confident that he will be victorious.


Author, Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists.  His novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesia’s war on terror, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.

Readers who would like to make a contribution to help innocent pensioners, who are unable to buy food and other basic necessities in Zimbabwe, should please contact Patricia Williams by email

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