Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa: ‘Stop ritual killings!’

President Mnangagwa was speaking on the occasion of of the National Cultural Commemoration Day. He was accompanied by ZANU PF government officials and facing traditional leaders. Mnangagwa said the values of respect and honor must forever be cherished, but ritual killings and kidnappings have no place in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans are being confronted with a surge in ritual murders of both children and adults. People who believe ‘muti’ will bring them luck, power, prestige or good health, have been ruthlessly disregarding the sanctity of life for their own interests. 

It is seldom that presidents, other high ranking government officials or cultural end traditional leaders are speaking out against these gruesome and age-old practices which have no place in a modern society where respect of human life and the rule of law must be the cornerstones of everyday life (webmaster FVDK).

Stop ritual killings: President Mnangagwa

President Mnangagwa

Published: May 22, 2021
By: The Herald, Zimbabwe –  Fungi Kwaramba in Gokwe   

ZIMBABWEANS led by traditional leaders, as the custodians of the country’s culture, should shun ritual killings and live-in peace, unity and harmony enjoying the rich cultural diversity that the nation offers, President Mnangagwa said.

This comes as the nation has in recent months been witnessing a spike in gruesome murders of children with the murderers wantonly disregarding the sanctity of life. Apart from that cases of kidnapping of children are also on the rise.

However, such practices, the President said, have no place in Zimbabwe, a unitary state that values human life, tolerance, peace and unity which are all cornerstones of national development.

In his address on the occasion of the National Cultural Commemoration Day, that is marked globally on May 21, the President said the values of respect and honour must forever be cherished.

“The values of respect and honour must be promoted while our chiefs and traditional leaders must continue to dissuade our people to shun these so-called ritual practices. The killing of our children is not acceptable,” the President said.

He added that the convergence of people from all walks of life at Chief Njelele homestead is part of the African tradition of approaching life communally and must forever be observed as it defines, not only Zimbabweans but Africans at large.

“I want to express my profound gratitude to Mambo, Chief Njelele for allowing the nation to gather here at his homestead and to share this important day with the great people of this area.

“This tradition of communities visiting one another and celebrating important events is in keeping with our African culture and tradition. As a people, let us never lose our communal approach as we continue to build peace and cohesion among our communities and within the nation,” he said.

This year National Cultural Day commemorations were held at the homestead of Chief Njelele, under the theme “Resilience in safeguarding creativity and diversity,” an apt theme that speaks to the needs to preserve the country’s rich heritage.

The President who was accompanied by Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is also the ruling party Zanu PF national chairperson, Youth, Sport, Art and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry, Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu, State Security Minister Owen Ncube, Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo and other senior Government officials, toured colourful exhibitions, where traditional cuisine, medicine, and instruments were on display as Zimbabweans in their diversity showcased their creativity.

The day also saw traditional artistes entertaining the gathering that thronged Chief Njelele homestead to celebrate Zimbabwe’s culture.

“I want to commend stakeholders for the magnificent cultural exhibitions and displays we toured earlier. These demonstrate the universally recognised fact that as African people, we have rich arts, customs and practices. As we have seen today, these are expressed through crafts, clothing, cuisines, music, dance, folklore (ngano), religion and languages,” he said.

But such a history can only be preserved if it is passed from one generation to another because a people without a culture is like a tree without roots, the President added.

“In line with my Governments quest to build strong cultural identity, values and ethics, I challenge families, communities and institutions to diligently nurture a society that recognises our rich cultural heritage while embracing our diversity. These must be passed on from generation to generation.

“As one philosopher once said, ‘a people without the knowledge of their past history. Origin and culture are like a tree without roots.’ While another said, ‘to know your future, you must know your past’.”

The President also saluted First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa for the role she is playing in coming up with the National Dress Fabric and reviving the Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba.

“These programmes sustain our social cultural systems, a people premised on the African philosophy of Ubuntu/Hunhu which says, ‘I am, because you are’.

“I exhort families and communities to continue implementing these cultural practices towards protecting the youth from immoral vices and alien values,” he said.

In line with history and cultural preservation, Zimbabwe is in the process of honouring its heroes and heroines who sacrificed life and limb to defend the country’s traditional values.

“This year’s cultural commemoration entails that we also reflect on our liberation war heritage. The rich heritage interests. Research must consistently enrich studies in heritage, arts and culture with the view of informing the course for a more prosperous future. We can only ignore our history at the detriment of future generations.

“Meanwhile, I commend the youth for their determination, towards developing, publishing and broadcasting our rich liberation war heritage. This will go a long way in enriching the discussions around the country’s liberation heritage from our own.”

The President, who is also the Commander-in Chief of the Defence Forces, commended players in the arts sector for the broadcasting of the story of the iconic national heroine Mbuya Nehanda and the publication of the zography on Comrade Herbert W Chitepo, among other literal and artistic works.

“It is in this vein that on Africa Day, May 25, we will also honour and remember Mbuya Nehanda, who is one of the great authors of our revolution for national independence. I urge the youth, academia and professionals to be actively involved in the ongoing memorialisation of our heritage.

“Projects such as the establishment of the African Liberation War Museum, upgrading of our liberation battle sites, detention and restriction camps must interest our young people.

“These sites include Kamungoma in Masvingo Province, Pupu in Matabeleland North Province and Sikombela here in Gokwe District, among others.”

Meanwhile, the President promised the arts sector, which has not been spared by the crippling effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, that Government recognises the role that culture and heritage can play as a catalyst for sustainable socio-economic development, national, regional and continental integration.

“To this end, the creation of an enabling regulatory and policy framework for the development and growth of the cultural and creative sector is on-going. Cabinet has since approved the enactment of the Arts and Culture Bill which seeks to promote arts and culture as a vehicle for empowerment and employment.”

Source: Stop ritual killings: President

‘Sorcery’ still a motive for torture, killing in 21st century

It seems appropriate to start this introduction to the following article with a warning because of its graphic contents. Sorcery accusation-related violence (SARV) is sometimes too gruesome to tell or to read. I’ve read a lot of articles on ritual murders in recent years and ‘ve seen many pictures, yet my stomach was turning when I read the following report on sorcery accusation-related violence. It describes horrible acts of mobs or sometimes individuals which take place not only in Africa or Sub-Saharan Africa, but in countries and regions all over the world. Common characteristics are that people are ill-informed, not or poorly educated, and have limited opportunities and no perspectives for improvement of one’s lives, in combination with a weak rule of law and often a lack of political will, as one well-informed interviewee rightly stated (see below).

The article mentions a few countries in Africa, notably Central African Republic, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, but it does no require much imagination to add other African countries. The belief in witchcraft is widespread on the continent. This is not to say that everybody in Africa believes in witchcraft but the number of superstitious people and people who believe in witchcraft (juju, muti, money rituals) cannot be counted, that’s for sure.

It hurts me deeply to read about sorcery accusation-related violence. The majority of the victims are women and children, notably girls, but sometimes also boys and men are accused of witchcraft and sorcery. On March 20 this year, I posted an article on a gruesome incident which happened in Liberia where a school expelled a K-1 pupil for alleged witchcraft. In July 2020, a 90-year old woman accused of sorcery was lynched by a mob in Ghana. The gruesome torture and killing caused a nationwide outcry. More details in tomorrow’s posting.  
(webmaster FVDK)

In July 2020, a 90-year-old woman was lynched after a traditional priest accused her of being a witch. The deceased, Akua Denteh was slapped, kicked and caned at Kafaba near Salaga in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region, Ghana.
The picture is a screenshot from the video showing two women assaulting the old lady, a horrific and repulsive scene which is too disgusting to show or to watch (FVDK).  

‘Sorcery’ still a motive for torture, killing in 21st century

Published: April 28, 2021
By: CGTN – Sim Sim Wissgott

Two women were attacked and tortured in Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby on Sunday, accused of witchcraft. They were interrogated and burned with hot irons to get them to admit to killing a woman who had died earlier in the week, local media reports said.

One managed to escape and alert the police. But this was not an isolated incident in the Pacific island nation.

Local media reported in February that six women had been accused of sorcery. Police managed to free two women in July after they were held and tortured for four days, accused of killing a villager a week earlier by removing his heart.

Attacks like these are so widespread that Papua New Guinea (PNG) actually has a term and acronym for them: sorcery accusation-related violence, or SARV.

While authorities and politicians regularly condemn these as “barbaric acts” and “uncivilized” behavior, SARV continues.

This type of violence is not limited to PNG either. Accusations of sorcery remain a very real threat in many communities around the world and claim dozens – if not hundreds – of lives every year.

‘Ash and powder’

A 53-year-old widow was bludgeoned to death in India’s northeastern Assam state on Saturday in an apparent “witch-hunting” killing.

Other sorcery-related killings in recent months have included a 70-year-old man in eastern Jharkhand state who reportedly practiced exorcism and sold herbal medicines; a family of five, accused of black magic after several people in their village fell ill and died; and a middle-aged man who was beheaded “on suspicion of sorcery” in neighboring Odisha state in December.

Another elderly man in Odisha was killed last month after villagers accused him of witchcraft.

“The deceased used to throw ash and some powder in front of the houses of villagers which raised doubts that he was practicing some witchcraft. In a fit of rage, some youths of the village killed him with stone and hammer and fled the spot after dumping his body in the bushes near the canal,” a police officer told local media.

Reports have emerged in recent months from South Africa, Nigeria, and Nepal of people being beaten, tortured or killed on suspicion of witchcraft. Countries like Tanzania and Ghana have also been fighting SARV for years.

There are no definite figures on how many people fall victim to SARV every year around the world. In many cases, the crimes go unreported as victims fear retribution.

The problem is significant enough that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights held an experts’ conference in 2017 to discuss ways “to end harmful practices related to witchcraft.”

There were 372 anti-sorcery attacks reported between 2013 and 2016 in PNG, according to UK charity Oxfam. In India’s Assam state, a dozen are killed every year, according to local media.

Mob mentality

Although men can be targeted, victims of witchcraft-related violence tend overwhelmingly to be women and girls.

As a result, the issue is often paired with women’s rights and gender equality. Victims are generally among the most vulnerable members of the community. Mob mentality, lack of education and poor policing are also contributing factors.

“Sorcery-related violence stems from poor education, lack of awareness, limited opportunities coupled with deteriorating capacity for law and order and a lack of political will,” PNG’s Oro Province Governor Gari Juffa told The Guardian last year.

There have been reports of people accused of being witches after a member of their community fainted, suffered an epileptic fit, or died without warning.

A woman and her daughter were accused of sorcery in PNG earlier this month and were tortured by relatives after the woman’s husband died of COVID-19 .

Attacks are often brutal, with victims hacked to death, maimed, gang-raped, slashed with knives, burned with hot irons or hit with rocks, leaving them horribly scarred – physically and mentally – for life.

Relatives can also be targeted by association: in the case of the family of five killed in Jharkhand state in February, a middle-aged couple was suspected of witchcraft, but their son, daughter-in-law and five-year-old grandson were also murdered.

Children of alleged witches are especially seen as a threat, human rights campaigners say.

The perpetrators rarely act alone but attack their victims in groups: in the latest case on Sunday in PNG, the two women were attacked and tortured by up to 20 men.

Police often say the attackers’ identities are known to them but communities and survivors may be reluctant to come forward and cooperate with law enforcement, meaning many perpetrators get away with their crime. 

Taking action

Some progress has been seen. The Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act was passed in India in 2015, making it a crime to accuse anyone of sorcery. 

The Catholic Church’s Pontifical Mission Societies declared last year August 10 as World Day against Witch Hunts.

PNG repealed its 1971 Sorcery Act in 2013, which sanctioned sorcery-related violence. At the same time, it drafted a Sorcery National Action Plan to raise awareness about the issue and find ways to combat it.

The country even has a hotline now for anyone who may be the target of sorcery accusations. 

The latest cases however have prompted concerns that sorcery-related violence may be once again spreading. While such cases are usually found in the more remote regions of PNG, last weekend’s attack occurred in the capital.

While action plans and strategies have been drafted, funding and effective implementation are still wanting, local officials say.

Source: ‘Sorcery’ still a motive for torture, killing in 21st century

Africa Map

Human sacrifices, myth or reality? – A viewpoint

On November 22, Blessing Mandabva, from Zimbabwe, shared with us his view on the history of human sacrifices as well as present-day practices of this age-old ritual. His contribution was published in The Standard, a Zimbabwean Sunday newspaper. Recently, I posted other articles with African voices protesting against this phenomenon of ritualistic murders, commonly called muti murders in Southern Africa. See the Op-Ed article in the online Namibian newspaper New Era Live, entitled: ‘Ritual killings: Cry my beloved humankind’, posted on October 27, 2020 and  an older article, dating from 2011, ‘Africa: Breaking the silence in ritual killings‘, written by Fanuel Hadzizi, also from Zimbabwe and posted on November 14, 2020.

The recent turmoil in Zimbabwe, following the death of a 7-year old boy, Tawire Makore, who was murdered for muti purposes, clearly shows that the gruesome practice of human sacrifices has not disappeared. See my October 26 posting on this ritual murder that shocked Zimbabwe.  

As Blessing Mandabva describes, more people have raised their voices against muti murders including Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) president George Kandiero who distanced his association and all members from all acts of ritual killings. George Kandieo, who also mentioned the ritual murder of Tawire Makore, confirmed what I have stated repeatedly on these pages: “These ritual killings are just a tip of the iceberg (…)“.

Also the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has denounced ritually-motivated killings and issued the following statement: “The ZHRC has noted with concern the alarming rise and high frequency of ritually-motivated killings in Zimbabwe, specifically targeted at children and young people.

What else can I add?? Read the following contribution and join the struggle against ritualistic murders and other acts based on superstition and motivated by the greed for power and/or wealth.

Warning: the following article contains graphic details of ritual murders (webmaster FVDK).

Human sacrifices, myth or reallity?

Published: November 22, 2020
By: The Standard, Zimbabwe –  Blessing Mandabva

Since time immemorial, human beings the world over have pursued answers to the puzzling questions of their origins, sickness, death and after death, poverty, power, the meaning of natural phenomena such as earthquakes, diseases and accidents, among others. They have also inquired on how to protect themselves from such mysterious events. Invention of personified deities, gods and the occult sciences, witchcraft, divination and soothsaying in order to seek the protection of supernatural powers has been the order of the day. Individuals used them for protection from their enemies, to dominate others in societies be it in business, politics, churches and other religious circles to gain power and to accumulate wealth. Human sacrifice has been a phenomenon which has been passed from generation to generation albeit it appearing in various forms.

Human sacrifice is defined as the ritualised, devotedly motivated killing of human beings. It is a fundamental which is not endorsed by any state, but was once practiced by societies across the globe in the past. In this landlocked country of Zimbabwe, there is a misconception on many deaths of humans, children, women and albinos being attributed to human sacrificial rituals which are said to bring quick wealth and fortunes. Human sacrifice, especially of children, occurs frequently despite the government’s efforts to stop it. Times are tough in Zimbabwe, and people are looking for sacrifices to improve their fortunes. Hunger and starvation coupled with the purported economic meltdown which has been attributed to the economic sanctions by the ruling elite whilst those in the opposition blame the ruling elite for poor governance.

Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) president George Kandiero distanced his association and all members from all heinous acts of ritual killings. 

He, however, said those ritual killings are mainly done by witches and witchdoctors. According to Kandiero, Zinatha has some specialists who could have been involved in the case of Tapiwa Makore to give guidance in finding a lasting solution. 

“It’s rather unfortunate Tapiwa is no more, but we believe the full wrath of the law will take its course. The perpetrators must be brought to book even if they are members of our associations,” said Kandiero.

”These ritual killings are just a tip of the iceberg since a lot of sacrifices in various forms are happening in the underworld. 

“Those who do such are everywhere including churches, homes and workplaces and this has to be addressed for people to live in harmony.”

Reverend John Makaniko, a United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe pastor, said: “Human sacrifice is a reality though in this contemporary world it’s now rare.

“The law has abolished human sacrifice and it’s now treated as murder.” According to him, in Christianity, only Jesus Christ was sacrificed for sins of all humanity. He becomes a sacrifice once and for all [Hebrew 10:10]. 

“Jesus Christ becomes a sacrificial lamb for salvation of all humanity. The human sacrifice done by individuals is for selfish reasons like riches and fame.
“This human sacrifice that is shedding blood of other people for selfish ends is evil, sinful and a serious crime.”

“As Christians, we are guided by the scripture’s teachings and commandments like: ‘Thou shalt not kill’ (Exodus 20:13) and our social principles say, ‘life is a sacred gift’; therefore, every human life should be treated with dignity and shouldn’t be sacrificed. 

“In short, human sacrifice is a devilish act that has no place in Christianity and progressive society.” 

Rev Makaniko added: “In contemporary society, faith in God and appreciating the dignity of hard work will result in success and prosperity.

“The core values of the United Methodist Church clearly state that, ‘we do good, do no harm and stay in love with God’; thus human sacrifice isn’t good because it brings harm to other people and breaks relationships with God.”

According to some South African media reports, body parts can be sold for as little as
R3 000 in that country. 

I recall vividly growing up in a township when public transport in the form of the commuter omnibuses had just been introduced. At that age, we were scared to death by the stories doing the rounds in the township of the disappearance of children. We were told how kids were being lured by strangers who promised them sweets. 

The next thing, their bodies would be found in the bushes with body parts missing. Rumours were that businesspeople were taking the children’s heads to Durban and were trading them off for taxis, kombis and grinding mills. Another unfortunate case is that of Given Flint Matapure who disappeared at Harare Exhibition Park in August 2011. The case took ages to be finalised.

Ritual killings, or human sacrifices, are committed for the purpose of taking human body parts which are said to be used to prepare charms and other traditional medicines for spiritual fortification. In some instances, ritualists and occults target vulnerable members of society such as the poor, women, children and albinos whose families often do not have the resources to demand justice. 

In some African countries there is a belief that female body parts possess supernatural powers that bring good fortune or make criminals invisible to police and other authorities. Children and young people are mostly preferred since they will be having a whole lot of life to live than the elderly. 

All the success which could have happened to them will now be transferred to the ritualist as the children continue to live in the underworld. It is time governments turned up the heat on culprits and put an end to this violation of human rights. 

Heavy sentences should be given to those who commission and carry out the ritual killings.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) denounced ritually-motivated killings.

“The ZHRC has noted with concern the alarming rise and high frequency of ritually-motivated killings in Zimbabwe, specifically targeted at children and young people,” the ZHRC statement read. 

“The heinous murder and mutilation of innocent people is disheartening and should be denounced in the strongest terms by our society and nation as a whole.”

ZHRC also stated that participation in ritual killings violates Sections 48 (1), the universal human right to life, of the Constitution and other sections of international agreements on rights to human life, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 

The rights body called for a collective effort among authorities to end the ritual killings and urged police to undergo further training to adequately deal with issues of human rights violations.

In July 2015, a four-year old pupil from St Lucy Primary School in the Kombo area of Insiza district in Matabeleland South province was found dead with her lips, liver and other body parts missing in a suspected case of ritual murder. Her body was found mutilated in a pond. The incident struck fear into villagers who indicated that they suspected the child was killed for ritual purposes. They started escorting their children to and from school. 

Legislator Pupurai Togarepi has moved a motion on the proliferation of chilling incidents of murder indicating that victims of such heinous crimes are the vulnerable and unsuspecting members of society, mostly women and children. 

In another bizarre suspected ritual killing in June 2020, a 25-year-old woman, Thabelo Mazolo, had her body mutilated and stashed into a drum filled with acid in Bulawayo. Part of the body, from the waist going down, was missing while breasts and palms appeared to have been sliced off. The ritualist murder had message from a sangoma with instructions to perform on the body, it reads “you must cut yourself and spill your blood onto a mirror. Gaze into the mirror and say out loud that you are selling your soul for riches.” 

The practice of ritual killing and human sacrifice continues to take place in several African countries in contravention of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and other human rights instruments. In this 21st century, human beings are still being hunted down, mutilated, murdered or sacrificed for ritual purposes across the region. 

Several cases of kidnapping and disappearance of persons are traced to the vicious schemes and activities of ritualists. Ritualists hunt for blood and harvest human body parts to prepare charms and magical concoctions. In some cases desperate ritualists invade cemeteries and exhume dead bodies to extract body parts, said one anonymous source.

Many cases of ritual sacrifice take place in secret locations. They are largely unreported, not investigated and go unpunished. The perpetrators and their collaborators capitalise on the prevalent irrational fear of the supernatural among Africans, and the poor and corrupt policing and justice system, to get away with these egregious violations. 

Victims of ritual sacrifice are mostly minors nd vulnerable individuals who do not live to seek justice or redress or who lack the resources to seek redress if ever they survive the ordeal. 

Human sacrifice is real, it is neither fallacious, frivolous nor fiction. It is a cancer which needs urgent attention and collective efforts by all stakeholders from grassroots level before it is normalised by satanic and evil forces in our societies.

Source: Human sacrifices, myth or reality?

Luanda – Angola: mother kills her daughter in ritualistic act (2019 article)

The ritual murder case reported in the article below is the first one related to Angola posted on this site. This is not to say that in Angola no or only a few ritual murders are committed. In fact, little is known about the frequency of ritual or muti murders in this country. The reason for it’s under-reporting is most probably linguistic. In general, events in lusophone countries are only occasionally covered by anglophone and francophone press agencies. This does not mean that nothing noteworthy happens in these countries, on the contrary – as the case below illustrates.

The ritualistic killing took place in the nation’s capital. As described in the article below, in July 2019, a mother (32) killed her 11- year old daughter in a gruesome ritualistic act. I must apologize for presenting the article in Portuguese. Unfortunately, no translation is available though the essential message of the article is clear: a ritual murder was committed. More details will be published on this site as soon as they become available (webmaster FVDK).

Uma criança de 11 anos morreu, na terça-feira, depois de ter sido queimada por uma mulher, de 32 anos, que praticava um ritual de ocultismo, no município de Belas, em Luanda.

Em ritual de ocultismo mulher mata criança de 11 anos em Luanda

Published: July 24, 2019
By: Angola 24 horas

Uma criança de 11 anos morreu, na terça-feira, depois de ter sido queimada por uma mulher, de 32 anos, que praticava um ritual de ocultismo, no município de Belas, em Luanda.

O oficial de informação do comando provincial da Polícia Nacional, inspector Euler Matari, disse à Angop que a mulher levou o menino até a sua residência, por volta das 10 horas da manhã, no distrito da Vila Verde, bairro das Tendas, onde cometeu o homicídio.

Euler Matari disse que a criança ficou queimada quando a mulher acendeu velas vermelhas e brancas e com um liquido inflamável, ainda por se identificar, atirou para o corpo do menino, resultando em morte imediata.

“Momentos depois tentou desfazer-se do cadáver, depositando-o num contentor de lixo, mas fruto de denúncia pública e do trabalho de investigação policial foi possível a identificação e detenção da mulher”, disse Euler Matari.

A vítima não tinha qualquer grau de parentesco com a mulher e a polícia desconhece ainda se a criança morava nos arredores ou não.

Source: Em ritual de ocultismo mulher mata criança de 11 anos em Luanda

South Africa: traditional leaders urged to stop ritual killings (2016 article)

Speaking at a traditional medicine day held in Giyani in 2016, the President of traditional healers association in SADC region, Dr Sylvester Hlathi, urged local traditional healers to stop ritual killings. Isn’t this remarkable – and courageous? On the one hand one could argue that apparently his appeal hasn’t prevented muti murderers in the northeastern part of the country to continue their ugly practices, on the other hand it is promising and encouraging to realize that voices are raised against these heinous crimes based on superstition and a repulsive greed for money and/or power.

Dr. Hlathi’s remarks gave me goose pimples, he spoke openly and publicly, and didn’t beat around the bush. “We as traditional healers must stop using human parts to make medicine, we must stop ritual killings as we are called to heal people not to kill people,” he said.

Kudos for Dr. Hlathi! I wonder what has become of him. (webmaster FVDK).

Traditional leaders urged to stop ritual killings

Dr Sylvester Hlathi addressing local traditional healers during the traditional medicine day. Photo by Tony Myambo.

Published: September 8, 2016
By: Letaba herald – Tony Myambo

The President of traditional healers association in SADC region Dr Sylvester Hlathi has urged local traditional healers to stop ritual killings.

Hlathi was speaking during a traditional medicine day held in cheapside complex outside Giyani on Wednesday.

“We as traditional healers must stop using human parts to make medicine, we must stop ritual killings as we are called to heal people not to kill people,” said Hlathi.

He also urged traditional healers to stop raping patients telling them that they will get healed if they sleep with them.

“We must stop sleeping with our own patients telling them they will be healed only if they sleep with us, this will weaken our traditional medicine not to work as it is not human and ancestors will punish us,” he said.

He also encouraged them to go test for HIV/AIDS. “You must also go get tested, you must stop this thing of saying I don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend you must get tested so that you can also encourage your patients to go for tests because using only traditional medicine to cure this disease is not good,” he explained.

He also told them to stop giving medicine to criminals to come out of prison or charms to do crime but work with police in order to fight crime.

He however pleaded with traditional leaders to chase away fake traditional healers in their villages.

“Traditional leaders you must demand certificates of practice from these traditional healers, if they don’t have any – chase them away,” said Hlathi.

Hosi Edward Chauke, Congress of traditional leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) in Malamulele secretary, applauded local traditional healers for coming together to celebrate traditional medicine day and uniting with one another.

“As traditional leaders we would like to acknowledge you for coming together and for celebrating our traditional medicine. I would like to assure you that as traditional leaders, we recognize you.”

Source: Traditional leaders urged to stop ritual killings

South Africa: life sentence for ritual murderer (2015 article)

Yesterday I posted an article on the sentencing to life imprisonment of four people found guilty of ritual murder in Limpopo Province, South Africa. It is not the first time that the rule of law was applied by prosecuting and sentencing a ritual murderer in Limpopo Province, a region which unfortunately is notorious for the occurrence of muti murders. In October 2015, a Mocambican man who had been apprehended in possession of body parts was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Limpopo High Court at Makhado (webmaster FVDK).

Life sentence for ritual murderer

Life imprisonment for a Mocambican man found guilty by a Limpopo Province Court

Published: October 29, 2015
By: Letaba Herald, Matome Maila

A Mocambican man who was found in possession of body parts last year was sentenced to life imprisonment during a sitting of the Limpopo High Court at Makhado last Tuesday.

Nkovani Samson Majoko (36), originally from Mocambique, but residing a Xiphuraphuleni Settlement in Malamulele, outside Giyani was arrested in June last year after he was found in possession of a bag containing two hands and male sexual organs

The court heard that he lured the victim, John Miyambo (35), from Mocambique to South Africa with the promise of a job and then killed him and cut off the body parts to sell as muti.

He was arrested after information was received of a man trying to sell body parts in the Malamulele area.

He was found guilty on a charge of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Source: Life sentence for ritual murderer

South Africa: relatives sentenced to life for ritual murder

Is it possible to something positive in the area of ritualistic killings? Maybe yes, read the following case, reproduced below. In Limpopo province, South Africa, where ritualistic murders aka muti (muthi) murders are rampant, a court has found four people accused of ritual murder guilty and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The Thohoyandou High Court found guilty and convicted Christinah Mhlongo (56), Solomon Mqengeni Mahumani (67) and Amos Mafemani Chuma (51) for the barbaric, gruesome ritual murder of their-in-law, Hlayisani Hlungwani (26), at Hlomela village in Giyani three years ago. A fourth convict, Daniel Dzambukeri was sentenced to life imprisonment after he pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial.

I must commend the police department, the investigators, and the court judges for their work and I am happy with the outcome of their work. I will not give my opinion on the sentences, in this case life imprisonment. Judges must work independently and objectively, one must be very prudent to comment or to interfere with their work. However, I am very positive about the fact that the rule of law has been upheld. in South Africa, notably in Limpopo Province, muti murderers terrorize the population and violate people’s human rights, notably the right to live without fear and the right to live. To prosecute and sanction perpetrators of these cruel crimes is a sacred duty of the state which has an obligation to protect its citizens. Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is essential to educate people telling them that killing other people motivated by superstition as a means to become rich or famous is outrageous and not acceptable.   

Warning: the article below contains graphic details (FVDK).

Relatives senctenced to life for ritual murder

Published: November 18, 2020
By: Letaba Herald

Four relatives were last Thursday each sentenced to life imprisonment for the ritual murder of their in-law at Hlomela village in Giyani three years ago.

Thohoyandou High Court found guilty and convicted Christinah Mhlongo (56), Solomon Mqengeni Mahumani (67) and Amos Mafemani Chuma (51) for the murder of Hlayisani Hlungwani (26) in Nsavula village.

The fourth convict, Daniel Dzambukeri was sentenced to life imprisonment after he pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial.

The judge found that the four accused intentionally killed Hlungwani by cutting off her lips, breasts and private parts.

The heinous crime which sent shock waves in the Hlomela and Nsavula villages was found to have been motivated by greed and the love of money. All accused pleaded not guilty and showed no remorse, the judge found.

The court heard that on 17 April 2017, Daniel Dzambukeri lured his sister-in-law to get into Chuma’s Honda Ballade in order to fetch her child from her grandmother. Dzambukeri testified that when the vehicle reached Hlomela village they drove into the bushes where Hlungwani’s legs were tied to a tree.

Later all of the accused went to the scene to perform their rituals before removing some body parts.

During the ritual, the victim’s mother-in-law, Mhlongo, burned herbs naked while calling Hlungwani ancestors to accept her spirit. Dzambukeri told the court that he had committed the crime with all three accused.

He told the court that he and Mahumani held the victim down while Chuma cut the body parts with a knife. Chuma handed the parts to Mhlongo who wrapped it in a red cloth.

The killing angered villagers who vented their anger by burning down three houses and other properties belonging to the convicts.

Other family member fled the area to other provinces. In mitigation of sentence Mhlongo asked the court not to sentence her for a murder she didn’t commit.

“There was no way I could have joined men to commit such crime,” said Mhlongo.

Mahumani and Chuma also asked the court not to sentence them, they accept no responsibility for their action.

In aggravation of sentence the state advocate, Absah Madzhuta, called the elder brother of the deceased, Richard Hlongwani who testified about the impact the killing had on her child and her grandmother.

Hlungwani further said that the family was shocked, in pain and living in fear.

The death of the deceased has affected the child of the deceased in that she failed her grade.

He said that she knows that her mother was killed by a woman and men and she is now afraid of her father and visitors.

The court remarked that the crime was barbaric, where the victim fought for her life with all her energy, screaming and kicking.

She suffered a painful death, with her body parts removed whilst still alive (italics added by the webmaster).

The body parts were destined for sale.

“Although every case is decided according to its merits, this crime is very serious. The family had to bury their loved one with some of her body parts missing. The aggravating circumstances outweigh by far the mitigating factors of the accused. This type of murder is a classical barbaric one without respecting the deceased and her right to life in terms of Section 11 of the Constitution,” remarked Justice Khami Makhafola before sentencing the convicts to life imprisonment.

The director of public prosecutions, Adv Ivy Thenga welcomed the sentence and commended the investigation team together with the state Adv Absa Madzhuta for the work well done.

Source: Relatives senctenced to life for ritual murder

Below follows the link to another article related to the same barbaric crime. The graphic details of the crime committed being so shocking I have decided not to reproduce the full text here. If readers are still interested, they may click the link below but they are warned that the contents of the article are shocking and repulsive. The article describes in full detail how the victim’s body parts were cut off while she was still alive (webmaster FVDK). 

The faces of evil
Published: November 20, 2020
By: Zoutnet, South Africa – Andries van Zyl

The faces of evil. From left to righ are ritual murderers Solomon Mqengeni Mahumani (67), Christinah Mhlongo (56) and Amos Mafemani Chuma (51). 
Photo’s: NPA Limpopo.

Africa: Breaking the silence in ritual killings (2011 article)

Browsing on internet I found this 2011 article written by Fanuel Hadzizi from Zimbabwe. The article could have been written in the year 2000, or much earlier, and even nowadays, in the year 2020 !

I find it encouraging reading this article on a topic which it too often swept under the carpet although its main message is a sad one. The author pleads to break the silence on ritual killings in Africa and points to several cases of ritual killings in Southern Africa to warrant his plea. He concludes “It is time governments turn up the heat on culprits and put an end to this violation of human rights.”

What else can I say? Highly recommended – read ‘AFRICA: BREAKING THE SILENCE IN RITUAL KILLINGS’ by Fanuel Hadzizi, Gender Links Justice Program Officer of PeaceWomen. Peacewomen is the Women, Peace and Security Program of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the oldest women’s peace organization in the world. 

Warning: The following article contains graphic details of ritual murders (FVDK)

Africa: Breaking the silence in ritual killings

Published: September 26, 2011
By: Peace WomenFanuel Hadzizi

Ritual killings and human sacrifice happen in many, if not all countries in Africa. Cases have been reported in such countries as Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In Zambia, there have been cases whereby people’s heads were found in Asian owned shops whilst in Swaziland, some politicians commissioned ritual killings so that they could win elections. The grossness of the ritual murders is quite scary to imagine as victims’ bodies are mutilated and certain body parts go missing. Needless to mention that in South Africa for instance, body parts can be sold for as little as R3000.

On 24 September, South Africa celebrated Heritage Day under the banner “celebrating the Heroes and Heroines of the Liberation Struggle in South Africa.” According to the Department of Arts and Culture, the theme allowed the nation to “celebrate the lasting legacy of the national liberation struggle.”

Most importantly, Heritage Day provides an opportunity for South Africans to celebrate their cultural heritage and diversity of beliefs and traditions. As a concerned resident, I also feel that this is an opportunity for us to break the silence around the negative cultural practice of ritual killings that is prevalent in society and yet violates the basic universal human right to life.

During the course of Women’s Month in August, South Africa became the ninth Southern African Development Community (SADC) country to ratify the Protocol on Gender and Development. This brought to two thirds the number of countries that have done so, and means that the Protocol is now in force.

As we also celebrate the coming into force of this crucial instrument, let us ponder what is meant by the provision that all states adopt laws and policies to protect the girl and boy child from “harmful cultural attitudes and practices in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.”

I recall vividly growing up in one township in Zimbabwe. This was just when public transport in the form of the Toyota Hiace taxi had just been introduced in the country. At that tender age, we were scared to death by the stories doing the rounds in the township of the disappearance of children. We were told how kids were being lured by strangers who promised them some sweets.

The next thing, their bodies would be found in the bushes with some body parts missing. Rumours were that business people were taking the children’s heads for instance to Durban in South Africa and were trading them off for the taxis. Weren’t we all scared!

Ritual killings or muti killings are committed for the purpose of taking human body parts which are used to prepare charms and other traditional medicines. These charms are believed to have supernatural powers which are greatly enhanced if the organs are removed whilst the victim is still alive.

In Southern Africa there is a belief that female body parts possess supernatural powers that bring good fortune or make criminals invisible to police and other authorities. Research has shown that in other countries, especially in East Africa, the breast and a woman’s private parts enhance business success, a man’s private parts are believed to increase virility whilst a tongue can smooth one’s path to a lover’s heart.

In fact, ritual killing is perceived as an act of spiritual fortification.

In an article titled New Magic for New Times: Muti Murder in Democratic South Africa, Louise Vincent (2008) says that “the use of human body parts for medicinal purposes is based in the belief that it is possible to appropriate the life force of one person through its literal consumption by another.” The victim is thus carefully chosen.

The Sowetan reported in July this year that the brother of Gladys Mogaramedi (61) killed her for her body parts. Police discovered the badly mutilated body without the private parts. I felt a very cold chill down my spine as I read through the story with shock and disbelief. Even after reading it twice I still found myself at a loss for words, trying to comprehend how a person could execute such a diabolic act moreover to a sibling without any conscience.

The South African case highlighted above is but the tip of the iceberg to some of the cultural problems that our society is still grappling with in relation to gender based violence. More often than not, these crimes evade the spotlight because they are largely unreported or recorded merely as murder. Ritualists target vulnerable members of society such as the poor, women, children, people with disabilities and albinos whose families often do not have the resources to demand justice.

It is time governments turn up the heat on culprits and put an end to this violation of human rights. Heavy sentences should be given to those who commission as well as carry out the ritual killings. It is heartening to note that in a July 2010 ruling, the High Court of Mwanza region sentenced 50 year old Kazimiri Mashauri to death. The Tanzanian court convicted him for hacking to death a 5 year old girl for muti-related purposes.

Fanuel Hadzizi is the Gender Links Justice Program Officer of Peace Women,

Source: Africa: Breaking the silence in ritual killings

The Oluwo of Iwo (Osun State, Nigeria): ‘Ritual killing deadlier and more devastating than SARS’

The Nigerian authorities have been facing nation-wide protests against the human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, intimidation and harassment of citizens, of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Despite its dissolution by the Inspector-General of Police, the protests haven’t waned. On social media the hashtag #EndSARS has become trending. However, on this site we are not dealing with the abuse of power by public authorities, unless it relates to ritualistic acts, muti murder, witchcraft practices, superstition or a cover-up of high-placed individuals implicated in these outdated practices.

In Nigeria, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, recently again raised his voice publicly. The monarch is a well-know fighter against ritualistic murders. On several occasions he has criticized the federal government for doing too little to fight these ugly crimes which are nicknamed ‘money rituals ‘ in Nigeria. Last year, the monarch even accused some traditional rulers of being involved in ritual killings. Also see my postings dated January 30, 2020 and August 21, 2019.

Recently, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi challenged the #EndSARS protesters to focus on ritual killing, cultism and other social vices which terrorize the Nigerian people. According to the monarch, ritual killing was deadlier and more devastating to the youth than SARS could be. 

The monarch is to be commended for his outspoken position in the fight against ritual killings. Let’s hope that his outspokenness helps in eradicating ‘money rituals’ in Nigeria (webmaster FVDK).

The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi

The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, speaks out against ritual killings

Published: October 12, 2020
By: Punch, Nigeria – Friday Olokor, Deji Lambo, Daud Olatunji, Wale Oyewale, Olaide Oyelude and Armstrong Bakam

Despite the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Sunday, protests against the unit for gross human rights abuse, including extrajudicial killings, intimidation and harassment of citizens, have continued.

However, the police authorities also received support from some Nigerians, who kicked against the scrapping of the unit.

Some protesters, on Sunday, stormed the head office of PUNCH Newspaper to demand the scrapping of the unit.

One of the protesters, Damilola Ayanniyi, said it was to demand the scrapping of SARS, adding that the policemen working under the unit had harassed him on three different occasions.

23 Ogun protesters arrested with guns, charms

In Abeokuta, Ogun State, 23 protesters were arrested by the police with guns and assorted charms.

They were arrested on Saturday during a protest that turned violent.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, stated this in a statement on Sunday.

According to him, after the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, and the Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, had addressed them, the protesters headed for the palace of the Olowu of Owu, Oba Adegboyega Dosunmu, where the Owu Day was ongoing and violently disrupted the ceremony, which had former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Deputy Governor of the state, Noimot Salako, in attendance.

The PPRO added that the protesters damaged the back windshield of the deputy governor’s official car and later went to the SARS office at Magbon, Abeokuta, fired some gunshots at the men and injured one Sergeant Akabudike Augustine.

Oluwo advises protesters

Meanwhile, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, has challenged the #EndSARS protesters to channel their energy into kicking against ritual killing, cultism and other social vices in the land.

The Oluwo spoke on Sunday in response to calls on Instagram that he should lend royal in support of the protests.

The monarch said ritual killing was deadlier and more devastating to the youth than SARS could be.

Oba Akanbi, who lamented the increasing cases of ritual killings, said it was disappointing that despite the high level of crime in the land, Nigerians had not protested against ritual killings.

Campaign’ll ensure respect for human rights – Catholic Secretariat

Source: Despite dissolution, youths protest against, for SARS

From Namibia: “Ritual killings: Cry my beloved humankind”

A few days ago my attention was drawn by an Op-Ed article in an online Namibian newspaper, New Era Live. The article was entitled: “Ritual killings: Cry my beloved humankind“. It is a cry for attention, a cry for vigilance, a cry for leadership and for stiffer sanctions for those who are responsible for these heinous crimes, including traditional healers and – too often – relatives of the innocent victims, in many cases young children.

The anonymous author (a staff reporter) starts his or her plea stating “I want to share with you the excruciating pain that stabs my heart every time I read or hear about the senseless loss of life due to ritual or muti killings.”

I was shocked reading this. Is the present situation that bad? How frequent are ritual murrders (‘muti murders’) in Southern Africa?

I monitor relevant events in African countries with particular interest, as this site also demonstrates. Whereas I feel a kind of pride or joy when confronted with readers and/or reporters rejecting the repulsive practices of ritual or muti murders, it also hurts to see a confirmation of the plague that terrorizes too many people in too many African countries.

“One shudders to think about the many muti killings of people, young and old, that are happening almost on a daily basis in Southern Africa in particular, (…)”, the anonymous author continues. 

Also revealing is the following statement:

“A study carried out in South Africa by scholars Randitsheni, Masoga and Madzusi (2017) revealed that “[some] pastors, businessmen, traditional leaders and leaders are involved in ritual murders”.  The three scholars give more details of their research findings in their paper titled “Some perspectives on the impacts of ritual murders in the Vhembe district of South Africa: An interpretive phenomenological approach” which was published in the Journal of Social Sciences (Volume 48, Number 3).  This is not to give an impression that ritual murders occur in South Africa only. Other scholars who have conducted researches in this area have revealed similar results in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Eswatini, Uganda, and Namibia, just to mention a few countries. “

I am flabbergasted. At the same time I am proud of the author and everyone who thinks alike. It strikes me that this cry for justice, for the eradication of this scourge in our contemporary societies, comes from Namibia. Apparently, much more occurs beneath the surface in this Southern African country than one would think at first glance. The ‘New Era’ newspaper which published this op-ed is a leading source of community and national news in Namibia. Its owners and editors are to be commended for their courageous decision to publish this view. May many more newspaper owners, editors and journalists join the war against ritualistic murders in Africa.

Together it will be possible to eradicate this medieval belief in superstition. Nothing is impossible. “You never fail until you stop trying.”
(webmaster FVDK)

“Ritual killings: Cry my beloved humankind”

Published: October 22, 2020
By: New Era Live, Namibia

If you are reading this article, wherever you are, prepare to shed tears. Prepare to travel with me on this emotional journey, as I interrogate the evil that men do, that of ritual killings, which have left people questioning the essence of life, since some people can take it away from you or someone at once, just like that. I want to share with you the excruciating pain that stabs my heart every time I read or hear about the senseless loss of life due to ritual or muti killings. 

The world has turned topsy-turvy, completely upside down, and everyone’s life is at risk, either directly or indirectly. People fear for their lives and the lives of their children and loved ones. Everyone’s life is in danger as there are some immoral people who have taken the law into their hands, and can decide how many more days you are left with alive on this earth. It is horrendous.

The stonehearted murderers can be anyone ranging from, paradoxically, people closest to you, to complete strangers. The love of riches and fame, the eagerness to get rich quickly without working for it, and the love of power and fame have led people to involve themselves in atrocious, inhuman activities. One shudders to think about the many muti killings of people, young and old, that are happening almost on a daily basis in Southern Africa in particular, and elsewhere in the world. Research reveals that ritual killings are so rampant in Africa that some researchers have described ritual murder as a pandemic. The grisly killings of innocent victims, especially children and women, have shocked communities, societies and the whole world. 

Many unsuspecting victims have been lured by people they know and killed for ritual purposes. We have read and heard about small children and teenagers who have been brutally murdered by their close relatives. As you read this article, or as you sit there at home or in a classroom  – wherever you are  – always bear in mind that you may be a candidate for ritual murder. Many victims have lost their lives through the involvement of their close relatives or loved ones. In these cases, it becomes tricky for the law enforcement agents to prevent such murders as relatives and loved ones are supposed to take care of the children, and not to kill them.

The belief that a human being’s body parts or limps bring luck, riches and power to people has fuelled the crime of ritual killing. Corpses have been discovered without heads, private parts and internal organs, suggesting that these are the most sought-after parts to be used in muti or medicinal concoctions.  As the evil men harvest human body parts for their benefits, societies are traumatised, yet it is in these societies that we find the perpetrators of this heinous crime. It is in these societies that most of the killings are secretly planned and executed. The irony is that some respectable members of these communities promote these ritual murders for various reasons. Some of them are leopards clothed in sheep’s skins.  

A study carried out in South Africa by scholars Randitsheni, Masoga and Madzusi (2017) revealed that “[some] pastors, businessmen, traditional leaders and leaders are involved in ritual murders”.  The three scholars give more details of their research findings in their paper titled “Some perspectives on the impacts of ritual murders in the Vhembe district of South Africa: An interpretive phenomenological approach” which was published in the Journal of Social Sciences (Volume 48, Number 3).  This is not to give an impression that ritual murders occur in South Africa only. Other scholars who have conducted researches in this area have revealed similar results in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Eswatini, Uganda, and Namibia, just to mention a few countries. As I write, the Zimbabwean community is failing to come to terms with how a man could have allegedly taken part in the planning and ritual killing of his brother’s seven-year-old son. The account of the cold blooded murder of the fateful boy by the co-accused man, in this case, is available on Youtube for those who have the guts to listen to such a chilling narrative of a despicable act. 

 The ubiquity of ritual murders in Africa proves that the crime is a scourge in our contemporary societies. The crime is a cancer that is spreading in our societies at an alarming rate. The belief in supernatural powers and superstition are the driving forces of ritual murders and sacrificial killings in our societies. Traditional healers tell you, for example, that in order for you to be successful in life, you must kill your son or daughter, or someone you love dearly like your wife. Foolishly, some people believe this and they murder their loved ones for nothing. 
 It is also true that the moral fabric of our societies is decaying at a fast rate. The African concept of Ubuntu seems to be melting away fast, leaving a culture of violence in our societies. One result of the loss of Ubuntu is that the sanctity of human life is no longer respected; this is why some people can be hired to kill for money. 

Concerned researchers on ritual murders have gone to the extent of studying ancient civilisations. They have revealed that the bible is replete with sacrificial killings or offerings of human beings. In some religions, sacrificial killings happen today. 
In order to curb ritual murders, families should be vigilant and protect their children. Community leaders and politicians must denounce these killings at gatherings. Stiffer sentences must be imposed on criminals convicted of ritual murders.  Let us teach the love of one another as humans in our homes. Ubuntu teachings should find a place in our homes. Let us be exemplary to our children since psychologists have proved that children learn what they live. Say no to ritual killings and save lives.

Source: Opinion – Ritual killings: Cry my beloved humankind

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