In 2007, the government of Zimbabwe was so overjoyed at the prospect of purified diesel miraculously oozing from rocks that then president Robert Mugabe sent senior ministers to check out what would have been the world’s greatest modern-day miracle. The ministers, the story goes, lined up barefooted before self-proclaimed spiritual healer Rotina Mavhunga in the Maningwa Hills in Chinhoyi.

Before Mavhunga would unveil the "miracle", the government had to meet her demands: Z$5bn, 100 cattle, three buffalo and a car. The desperate administration — struggling under economic sanctions due to human rights abuses and bad politics, racked by fuel shortages and with a local currency that had become worthless due to hyperinflation — apparently did just that. (It didn’t take long for the lie to be revealed, and Mavhunga sent to a maximum-security prison for fraud.)

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