Cryptomondo has a wonderful history of modern sightings of “Merbeings” that is perfect summer reading. This story from 1951 Zimbabwe is a perfect example. The comments for the article are just as interesting.
“…16-year old Cleo Rosin had gone to her mother to the Zambezi River in order to collect some drinking water. When they arrived at the river there was a canoe anchored along the bank, and Cleo climbed inside in an adventurous way. When she sat down, she noticed that there was a small round island in the middle of the river, which was especially wide at this point. And sitting on the island, near its edge, with her lower body partially in the water, was a particularly beautiful woman with long black hair. To Cleo’s surprise, the woman was naked and she was white. At this stage, Cleo’s mother was still filling the buckets with water. She called out to her mother: “Mommy, just look at that woman over there.” Her mother looked up and said, “Sh…Sh…you’d better keep quiet.” And then she added, “Look away.” But Cleo had already seen the bottom part of the woman’s body and it was like a fish and the woman was looking directly at them. But as her mother advised, Cleo looked away, and when she looked up again, the woman was gone. Her mother told her not to tell anyone about the encounter or else the “mermaid” would return and take her….”