“Traditional medicine, not body parts, is the way to go” (South Africa)

A refreshing sound. An honest voice. Though Dr Mbaimbai Hlathi was speaking on the theme of the day, which was ‘Traditional Medicine is the Answer’, his speech was more than a plea for traditional medicine. It also was a speech against age-old practices such as human sacrifices and muti killings – muti murders!

There is no place in a modern society for muti murders. Using traditional medicine means killing two birds with one stone: ending cruel practices such as muti murders which constitute serious human rights violations and preserving indigenous plants at the same time (webmaster FVDK).

Dr Mbaimbai Hlathi (right) leads guests and traditional healers during the ceremony.

Published: September 9, 2019
By: Elmon Tshikhudo – ZoutNet

A well-known traditional healer and president of the SADC Unified Ancestors Practitioners Associations, Dr Mbaimbai Hlathi, has called on traditional healers “not to tarnish their God-given skills of healing people with the use of herbs by using human body parts”.

Hlathi, who made a name for himself by helping many barren people have children, was speaking during a function to celebrate traditional medicine. The event took place on Saturday at the Giyani Stadium and was attended by many traditional healers from around the country, officials from the Kruger National Park, government officials and many community members.

The theme of the day was Traditional Medicine is the Answer.

In an interview, Hlathi said that celebrating and preserving traditional medicine as it had been used by communities for decades as an effective treatment was important. He further indicated that traditional healers should stick to their traditions and desist from killing people for ritual purposes.

“Our gods gave us a whole land for herbs that are used to cure the different diseases. Why should we go out and kill others for their body parts? We are saying it here that those who use body parts are not part of us. They are fake healers who are tarnishing our noble profession of healing people.”

He described them as “fly-by-nights” and said that they should be exposed and punished by the law. “Ours is the task to heal people and not to kill others in order to heal,” he said.

Hlathi urged traditional practitioners to take an effective part in preserving indigenous plants. He called on traditional practitioners to help save the rhino by not working with criminals, giving criminals muti to go and kill rhinos and committing any other crimes in communities.

Source: Traditional medicine, not body parts, is the way to go

Ritual killings will never bring luck – Conference of Churches Swaziland (2018 article)

News from Swaziland, a tiny country in Southern Africa, surrounded by the republic of South Africa, seldom reaches the outside world. Yet it is one of the most amazing countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, not the least because the country is ruled by a king with absolute powers. Ritual killings occur frequently in Swaziland, sometimes during election campaigns, and the monarch has on more than one occasion spoken against these atrocious crimes. In this 2018 article the Swaziland Conference of Churches speaks out against ritual killings, condemns the barbaric act of killing innocent persons for muti purposes and has issued a stern warning (webmaster FVDK).

Published: June 8, 2018
By: Sifiso Nhlabatsi  (Swazi Observer)

Source: Ritual killings will never bring luck – Conference of Churches

Eswatini, officially the Kingdom of Eswatini and also known as Swaziland (officially renamed in 2018), is a country in Southern Africa. With 17,364 km2 and a population of roughly 1.5 million, Eswatini is one of the smallest countries in Africa. 

South African teacher admits to killing teen with albinism for ritual purposes

This posting contains not only the article announced in it heading but also many related articles, going back as far as February 1, 2018 when the news of the missing girl and baby first broke out. The gruesome crime got much attention in South African newspapers. It shows once again the vulnerability of people with albinism in South Africa. However, the South African judicial system is to be complimented this time for its swift actions and the punishment of the perpetrators.

Also see my November 5, 2018 posting with an article on this murder case plus the stealing of body parts from a 28-year-old albino man just hours after he was buried, and my posting of November 6, 2018, with a more general but highly recommended article, ‘Why Albions are being murdered in South Africa’, by Tom Head (webmaster FVDK).

Josiah Thubane who admitted to the killing of Shabane and baby Nkosikhona.. Middleburg high court, Mpumalanga PHOTO: THULANI MBELE

Published: August 22, 2019
By:  Etsey Atisu  (face2faceAfrica)

A 40-year-old South African teacher, Josiah Thubane, has admitted guilt to kidnapping and killing a 13-year-old girl with albinism, Gabisile Shabane, for a ritual referred to locally as muti. 

The man, who is only one of four men accused of the crime, also abducted a 15-month-old baby without albinism and later threw her alive off a bridge to drown in a dam near the N4 highway, reports the Sowetan Live

He pleaded guilty to all charges including two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to commit murder and one count of violation of a corpse.

Thubane, a teacher by profession and father of four, apologized to the family as he was escorted to the holding cells. 

According to the Sowetan Live, mother of Gabisile, Anna Shabane told the the Middelburg High Court in Mpumalanga that her family has had to beef up security at home since the incident that took place in 2018.

In January 2018, Gabisile was abducted by some men from her home at Hlalakahle in eMalahleni area of Mpumalanga in 2018 along with her 15-month-old baby cousin, Nkosikhona Ngwenya. 

The group of men allegedly wanted her body parts for muti purposes.

Police recovered the bodies of Gabisile Shabane and Nkosikhona Ngwenya in separate locations. 
Image: EMalahleni Residents/Community – Municipality via Facebook

In a statement read out in court, Thubane said that he was part of the plan to kill Gabisile and admitted that he knew she was being abducted to be killed for her body parts. He also admitted to killing baby Nkosikhona.

“I admit that on the 27-28 of January 2018 I did unlawfully and intentionally kill the baby by throwing him off the bridge of Zaalklap River. I admit that on the next day in Cullinan, I killed Gabisile Shabane, a 13-year-old,” reports the Sowetan Live.

Testifying in court, Anna Shabane said she still has flashbacks of the day she found her daughter’s headless and decomposed body with missing body parts.

Nompumelelo Shabane (mother of 15 month old baby) with Anna Shabane ( mother of Gabsile) at the Middleburg High court, Mumalanga.PIC: THULANI MBELE

“I was close to my daughter, and her twin sister Khanyisile has been more shattered by her sister’s passing. The manner in which she was killed makes me feel that they should have taken me and not her,” reports the Sowetan Live.

“I replay the vivid images in my head over and over again and I keep hoping she would come back. She was young and had a bright future ahead of her,” Shabane added.

The prosecutor on the case, Ntsika Mpolweni, told the court the victim’s report revealed that the mother of the murdered 15-month-old baby, Nompumelelo Ngwenya, had been psychologically affected since the mother was breastfeeding him when he was abducted.

The Sowetan Live reports that according to social workers, the family continues to live in fear and had become overprotective of the remaining child as they fear he could also be attacked and killed.

“The fear is so extreme that the [toddler] cannot even go and play outside with other children and that is as the result of the attack, abduction and killing of two of their children.”

The four men facing charges of two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to commit murder and one count of violation of a corpse | News24

Thokozani Msibi, a traditional healer; Brilliant Mkhize and Knowledge Mhlanga, the other three men who face the same charges, will however appear in court again on May 25 next year.

Source: South African teacher admits to killing teen with albinism for ritual purposes

Related: Teacher admits chopping up teen girl with albinism

Published: August 21, 2019
By: Promise Marupeng (Sowetan Live)

The family of a slain 13-year-old girl with albinism are so terrified of muthi killers that they have made their toddler a prisoner in his own home.

Yesterday, Anna Shabane – the mother of 13-year-old Gabisile – told the Middelburg High Court that the family has had to beef up security at home.

Gabisile was killed after she was abducted from her home in Hlalakahle in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga, last year by a group of men who allegedly wanted her body parts for muti purposes.

Gabisile’s 15-month-old baby cousin, who didn’t have albinism, Nkosikhona Ngwenya, was also abducted with her and later thrown alive off a bridge to drown in a dam near the N4 highway.

One of the four men accused of the double murders, Josiah Thubane, 40, pleaded guilty on all charges including two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to commit murder and one count of violation of a corpse.

Speaking in aggravation of Thubane’s sentence, Shabane told the high court that her family was living in fear and that her daughter’s killing has destroyed her family.

“I was close to my daughter, and her twin sister Khanyisile has been more shattered by her sister’s passing. The manner in which she was killed makes me feel that they should have taken me and not her,” she said sobbing.

Shabane told the court that she still has flashbacks of the day she found her daughter’s headless and decomposed body with missing body parts.

“I replay the vivid images in my head over and over again and I keep hoping she would come back. She was young and had a bright future ahead of her,” said the mother.

Shabane also revealed that after security was beefed up by installing CCTV cameras and building a high wall at her house, rumour swelled that she had sold her children.

“I was helped by the municipality after my family was attacked to build a wall around my home and to put in cameras, but my community accused me of selling my children for money to renovate my home,” said the mother.

Prosecutor Ntsika Mpolweni told the court the victim’s report revealed that the mother of the murdered 15-month-old baby, Nompumelelo Ngwenya, was psychologically affected. Mpolweni said when the child was abducted Ngwenya was breastfeeding him.

The prosecutor further said according to social workers, the family lived in fear and was overprotective of the remaining child as they feared he could also be killed.

“The fear is so extreme that the [toddler] cannot even go and play outside with other children and that is as the result of the attack, abduction and killing of two of their children.”

In a statement read out in court, Thubane said that he was part of the plan to kill Gabisile and admitted that he knew she was being abducted to be killed for her body parts.

Thubane also admitted to killing baby Nkosikhona.

“I admit that on the 27-28 of January 2018 I did unlawfully and intentionally kill the baby by throwing him off the bridge of Zaalklap River. I admit that on the next day in Cullinan, I killed Gabisile Shabane, a 13-year-old,” said Thubane.

Thubane, a teacher by profession and father of four, apologised to the family as he was escorted to the holding cells.

Three of his co-accused in the case – Thokozani Msibi, a traditional healer, Brilliant Mkhize and Knowledge Mhlanga – who face the same charges, will appear in court again on May 25 next year.

Mpolweni said that Thubane was not remorseful for the gruesome murder of the two children.

“He only cooperated after he was caught and nothing justified slaughtering Gabisile and chopping off her head, left arm, removing her heart, liver, genital parts that came as proof supported by the postmortem,” said Mpolweni.

Mpolweni further asked the judge to consider the fact that a baby was thrown off a bridge like a stone into a stream of water to die.

“Did he ever ask himself what trauma and pain the Shabane and Ngwenya families have gone through after their actions?”

Mpolweni further said the perpetrators deserved no lighter sentence than life imprisonment.

The matter was postponed to Friday for sentencing.

Source: Teacher admits chopping up teen girl with albinism

Related: Traditional healer to be sentenced for muti murder of albino teen, baby

A Mpumalanga traditional healer has admitted to killing two children for muti. File photo.  
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

Published: August 20, 2019
By: Nonkululeko Njilo  (Sowetan Live)

A traditional healer in Mpumalanga who admitted killing a teen who had albinism and her baby cousin for muti to boost his business will soon learn how long he will spend behind bars. 

Sentencing proceedings against Themba Thubane were expected to commence on Tuesday in the Middelburg high court.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed that Thubane pleaded guilty to seven charges.

Provincial NPA spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said the man admitted to killing Gabisile Shabane, 13,  and her 15-month-old cousin Nkosikhona Ngwenya in order to extract muti from them to revive his failing business.  

Thubane was arrested with co-accused Thokozani Msibi‚ Brilliant Mkhize‚ and Knowledge Mhlanga in 2018, after they allegedly broke into the Shabane household in Hlalanikahle‚ Mpumalanga.   

The three co-accused have pleaded not guilty and are expected to return to court on May 25, 2020.

The group was armed during the break-in when they kidnapped the victims and allegedly later murdered them.

Thubane will be sentenced on charges including murder, kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to murder, and the violation of a corpse, according to Nyuswa.  

More than a year since the tragic ordeal, the family expressed relief at the commencement of sentencing proceedings.

In an interview with eNCA, family spokesperson Chantel Ngwenya said the delays had caused unbearable pain to the family.  

“We’re really happy the trial has commenced because we have been waiting for a long time. The waiting was killing us as a family. We are happy even though the others did not admit to committing the crime. It’s painful to us, it shows that they are not remorseful for the pain they’ve caused us.” 

On Thubane’s guilty plea, Ngwenya said: “We hope that we will be able to find closure from the one that admitted to committing the crime. To us it shows he is remorseful, he has a conscience inside him, he regrets it.” 

The family hopes the sentence will take into account the immense pain caused to them by the killings.

Source: Traditional healer to be sentenced for muti murder of albino teen, baby

Related: Suspect pleads guilty to Mpumalanga ‘muti’ killings

To watch video click the source of this article (below)

Published: August 20, 2019
By: eNCA

JOHANNESBURG – One of the men accused of murdering 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane and her 15-month-old nephew has pleaded guilty.

He’ll go on trial on Tuesday. The three other accused will be tried separately next year.

The man said Shabane was killed for muti. The teenager was living with albinism.

Her headless body was found in a shallow grave last year.

Other body parts were also missing.

The body of her newphew Nkosikhona Ngwenya was discovered at a dump along a Mpumalanga highway.

Source: Suspect pleads guilty to Mpumalanga ‘muti’ killings

Related: DNA test delayed as murdered albino girl forced to drink brake fluid

JOHANNESBURG, 14 March 2018 – As three of the six suspects arrested for allegedly kidnapping and killing two Mpumalanga children are expected to appear in court on Wednesday, a relative of one of the suspects says the accused wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Published: June 2, 2018
By: eNCA

WITBANK – The family of 14-year-old Gabisile Shabane, one of two children who were kidnapped from their home in Hlalanikahle in Witbank in Mpumalanga in January and later found murdered, on Friday said that DNA tests on her body were delayed because she was forced to drink brake fluid mixed with dagga shortly before she was murdered.

Gabisile’s mother Annah Shabane said they have received the DNA test results for another murdered child, 15-month-old boy Nkosikhona Ngwenya, from the South African Police Service two weeks ago.

“It’s very painful to wait for months to bury our children,” Shabane said speaking to reporters outside the Witbank Magistrate’s Court, shortly after four men – Thokozani Msibi, Brilliant Mkhize, Themba Thubane and Knowledge Mhlanga – appeared in connection with the kidnapping and murder.

“The DNA tests must be completed so that we can bury those children. Our lives are very difficult. We often think and talk about this matter.”

Provincial spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, Monica Nyuswa, told the African News Agency that the DNA tests were delayed because Gabisile’s body was contaminated with brake fluid.

“The DNA tests will still be completed,” Nyuswa said.

On 4 April, State Prosecutor Fanie Mavundla told the same court that Gabisile was forced to drink brake fluid mixed with dagga, allegedly by one of the accused, shortly before she was murdered.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Leonard Hlathi said Friday officials were ready to give the Shabane family Nkosikhona’s body if they wanted it.

The children were kidnapped from their home on28  January, allegedly by three men who entered the house through a broken window.

Gabisile’s headless body was found buried in a shallow grave in Cullinan in the east of Pretoria in the third week of February with some body parts missing.

The body of Nkosikhona, who is not an albino, was found on the side of the N4 freeway in Mpumalanga in the same week.

The case was postponed to 14 August for further investigations.

Source: DNA test delayed as murdered albino girl forced to drink brake fluid

Related: Nine months after she was mutilated and killed‚ 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane will finally be laid to rest

Published: October 11, 2018
By: Naledi Shange  (Sowetan Live)

Symphathizers singing in support of the Shabane family who daughter Gabisizele who was living with albinism was brutally murdered in January along with 15 month old Nkosikhona Ngwenya. Photo Thulani Mbele. 05/04/2018

Almost nine months after being abducted from her home and killed for her body parts‚ 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane who had albinism‚ will finally be laid to rest.

The Mpumalanga Community Security Department has announced that she and her one-year-old nephew Nkosikhona Ngwenya will be buried in Witbank next week.

Their burial had been delayed for months on end as DNA tests had yet to verify that the mutilated body parts found in different areas all belonged to Gabisile. The tests have since been concluded.

Gabisile’s headless body had been found buried in a shallow grave in Cullinan‚ east of Pretoria. It was understood that some of her other parts were found in premises belonging to one of the accused in the matter‚ while Nkosikhona had been thrown into a swamp.

It is believed that the attackers had stormed into their home in January and had mistaken the light-skinned Nkosikhona for another albino child who was in the house.

“Four suspects were arrested in February and were charged with kidnapping and murder‚” said department spokesman Joseph Mabuza.

Amongst those arrested is a traditional healer. During their bail application‚ the court had heard horrific details of how Gabisile was forced to drink brake fluid and beer and also smoke dagga shortly before her mutilation.

The suspects on Wednesday returned to the Witbank Magistrate’s Court‚ where their case was postponed to August 2019 for trial. They remain behind bars.

Meanwhile‚ Mpumalanga’s MEC of Community Security Pat Ngomane was on Thursday expected to unveil the Shabane home‚ which has been renovated to tighten security.

“During his visit to the family earlier this year‚ MEC Ngomane‚ the eMalahleni Local Municipality and some stakeholders such as Highveld Steel pledged to assist the family by enhancing the security features of their house in order to prevent further break-ins‚” said Mabuza.

“Through donations‚ the MEC and the stakeholders managed to refurbish the house. The roof of the house has been redone‚ the house plastered and painted and the floor tiled. A security wall and a gate have also been completed‚” he added.

Source: Nine months after she was mutilated and killed‚ 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane will finally be laid to rest

Related: 
‘Let’s burn this court!’ Outrage as alleged killers of albino girl is postponed again

Angry residents outside a Witbank court wanted to set the court house on fire after another delay in the murder case of an albino girl. 
Image: Thulani Mbele 

Published: August 14, 2018
By: Naledi Shange (Sowetan Live)

Residents of Witbank expressed outrage on Tuesday after hearing the case against four men accused of abducting and killing an albino girl and her nephew was postponed yet again.

“Let’s burn this court!” the 150-strong crowed chanted as they gathered outside the Witbank Magistrate’s Court.

The four accused appeared via satellite from the Witbank Correctional Services Centre‚ where they have been kept since their arrest.

Tensions flared outside the court behind the rolls of police tape used to keep the crowds away from the building.

“The family has stayed with a cloud of death over them for seven months and‚ according to our customs‚ this is not done‚” Taylor Pookgoadi‚ the district secretary of the SA Communist Party in Nkangala told the crowd of supporters.

While‚ the family and scores of other supporters had arrived at the court hoping for the matter to commence‚ it became apparent that the matter was not quite ready for trial.

“It doesn’t seem like there will be much progress when we come back on October 10‚” Pookgoadi told the crowd. “We want the case to simply be moved to a bigger court.”

The case had been postponed after it was found that a fifth suspect was yet to be extradited from Swaziland‚ where he also faces other charges.

Also‚ the DNA results‚ which would determine if the body parts found in different locations were that of 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane‚ who had been mutilated‚ were yet to be obtained.

Gabisile’s 15-month-old nephew‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ was abducted with her.

It is believed that the attackers who had stormed their home in January and had mistaken the light-skinned toddler for another albino child who was in the house. His remains were found dumped in a swamp near the N4 highway.

Trudy Xhala-Mavimbela‚ from the office of the mayor‚ said the family had found themselves in a tricky situation because not all of Gabisile’s body parts had been found.

“We can’t bury them until the suspects [hand over] the rest of the body parts‚” Xhala- Mavimbela said.

“This matter has been dragging on since January. Government needs to speed things up so that the family can find peace. This has been traumatic for the family‚” she added‚ addressing the crowds.

On Tuesday‚ two of the alleged killers bowed their heads‚ avoiding contact with the camera that showed their faces to the court. The third beamed his bright smile as he saw the crowds of people seated in the court gallery‚ while the fourth accused simply stared straight forward.

Gabisile’s sister‚ the mother of Nkosikhona‚ stared at the screen‚ glaring at the men accused of taking her son and her sister’s life.

After proceedings‚ she‚ her mother and other relatives who had packed the court stood outside‚ where they briefly spoke to the media.

They expressed concern at the delay in the case.

“We are not happy with how things are progressing‚” said Sibongile Shabane.

They expressed their displeasure at how abruptly court proceedings had ended as one of the accused had raised his hand‚ requesting to speak to his lawyer.

The lawyer stepped out of the courtroom to give his client‚ who was at the prison‚ a call.

The matter was temporarily adjourned but minutes later the lawyer returned and left the court‚ leaving the court orderlies to explain that‚ as previously stated‚ the matter had simply been postponed to October.

Meanwhile‚ a source close to the family spoke to the trauma that the family faced as they frequently went to the mortuary to check on the corpses of the children‚ adding that the body parts were wilting away in the ice.

The worst part‚ however‚ was that even as court proceedings were scheduled to continue in October‚ there was no guarantee that the DNA tests would be ready and the bodies would be released for the burial‚ he said.

Source: ‘Let’s burn this court!’ Outrage as alleged killers of albino girl is postponed again

Related: Body parts found at home of muti-murder accused

Thokozani Msibi (L) and his co-accused Brilliant Mkhize in the dock inside the Witbank Magistrate’s Court. The two are accused of killing two children, one of whom was an albino.

Published: March 7, 2018
By: eNCA

WITBANK – Police found a human head and other human body parts at the home of traditional healer Thokozani Msibi in eMalahleni in Mpumalanga last month.

Msibi was arrested in connection with the kidnapping and murder of two children, one of whom was living with albinism, the eMalahleni Magistrate’s Court&39;s heard on Tuesday.

State prosecutor opposed bail,  who appeared with his co-accused Brilliant Mkhize. He said Msibi also showed the police a shallow grave in Cullinan, east of Pretoria, where the body of a 14-year-old girl with albinism, Gabisile Shabane, was found buried last month. 

“Our witness said he was there when Gabisile was chopped off,” said Mavundla, which led to Gabisile’s mother Annah Shabane, who was sitting in the public gallery, to sob loudly.

“That witness said he carried that girl on his back. The accused (Msibi) then went to a traditional healer in Swaziland and asked him to cleanse him of bad luck. He was going to pay that traditional healer with a vagina of a girl, but the traditional healer refused. That traditional healer is also a State witness.”

Gabisile and a 15-month-old boy, Nkosikhona Ngwenya, were kidnapped from their home in Hlalanikahle in eMalahleni on January 28, allegedly by three men who entered their home after breaking a window. Nkosikhona’s body was found on the side of the N4 highway last month.

Mavundla told the court that the same state witness told the police that Gabisile’s body parts were chopped off by a “Mr Gamede” from Swaziland, who was alleged to be with Msibi and others. He said some of the missing parts from Gabisile’s body were not found.

Msibi’s lawyer, Zamo Sibisi, earlier argued that his client was tortured and forced to make statements after he was arrested.

“The accused stated that whatever statements or pointing out (of crime scenes) he made was not done voluntarily,” said Sibisi.

Magistrate Darleen Venter denied Msibi bail and postponed the matter to March 13 so that Mkhize could get a legal representative.

Source: Body parts found at home of muti-murder accused

Related: Three in court for albinism murder

File: The child was killed last week and her body found decapitated and with the right foot amputated.

Published: March 1, 2018
By: eNCA

WITBANK – Three men facing charges of murder and kidnapping of two children are expected to appear in the Witbank magistrate&39;s court on Tuesday.

Police have beefed up security ahead of their court appearance.

They allegedly targeted a 13-year-old girl, living with albinism, and her 15-month-old brother.

The children were abducted from their home in Vosman in Mpumalanga.

Their bodies were found weeks later.

Source: Three in court for albinism murder

Related: Policeman reveals horror he found at sangoma’s premises

The little albino girl and her one-year-old nephew who were kidnapped last month. Image: Missing person alert poster

Published: February 28, 2018
By: Naledi Shange (Sowetan Live)

A police officer has described the trauma that he and other officers experienced when they discovered remains believed to be those of Gabisile Shabani‚ a 13-year-old albino girl who was murdered‚ allegedly as part of a muti ritual.

The premises in Emalahleni in Mpumalanga belonged to a traditional healer‚ who was arrested last week.

“The dog was first put in there‚ but it came out with nothing‚” said the officer‚ who asked not to be named.

“The dog seemed weak and disorientated as it came out of the room. The dog handler asked [the traditional healer] what he had done to his dog and he said there was strong muti in there‚” the officer said.

Inside the room‚ police officers found muti‚ buckets and bags with various substances‚ and what appeared to be body parts.

“He was telling us what was in each thing. He was speaking like a normal person‚ like you and I. It was really disturbing‚” said the officer.

Gabisile’s beheaded body was found in a shallow grave in Cullinan near Pretoria last week. This was three weeks after she and her 15-month-old nephew‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ were taken at gunpoint in the middle of the night by three men who broke into their home in Hlalanikahle.

It was alleged that the gunmen had mistaken Nkosikhona for another toddler in the house‚ who also has albinism.

The badly decomposed body of the little toddler was recovered on the same day Gabisile’s body was found. He had been thrown into a swamp along the N4.

The officer said he was disturbed to learn from pathologists conducting the post-mortem how Gabisile’s body had been mutilated.

Meanwhile‚ two other people have also been arrested in connection with the incident‚ said the officer. They were arrested in Swaziland and are yet to be brought back to South Africa.

The 32-year-old traditional healer remains in police custody. He appeared in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday as a group of residents gathered outside the court to protest against his release. The father of four will return to court on March 6‚ when his formal bail application is expected to continue.

Source: Policeman reveals horror he found at sangoma’s premises

Related: Suspect arrested in connection with albinism murder, kidnapping

Published: February 22, 2018
By: eNCA

VOSMAN – The suspect arrested in connection with the murder and kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl and a toddler is expected to appear in a Mpumalanga court on Thursday.

The community said the teenager was targeted because she was living with albinism.

It’s believed the kidnappers mistakenly believed the toddler also had the condition. 

Police found two bodies matching the description of the children, who were reported missing in January.

They were taken at gunpoint while sleeping in their home in Vosman. 

Source: Suspect arrested in connection with albinism murder, kidnapping

Related: 
Bodies believed to be those of two children snatched from their home in Witbank last month found

The little albino girl and her one-year-old nephew who were kidnapped last month. Image: Missing person alert poster.

Published: February 21, 2018
By: Naledi Shange  (Sowetan Live)

Two bodies believed to be those of a little albino girl and her one-year-old nephew who were snatched from their home in Hlalanikahle‚ Witbank‚ last month were found on Wednesday.

Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said one of the corpses was found in Cullinan while the other was found in a swamp on the N4 en route to Pretoria.

“The bodies were in a bad state‚” Hlathi said.

“A postmortem needs to be conducted to determine the cause of death and DNA tests to also confirm it is them‚” he said.

Gabisile Shabani‚ 13‚ and her 15-month-old nephew‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ were kidnapped last month by armed gunmen who broke into their house in the middle of the night.

Relatives said they believed Gabisile had been taken because she was an albino. They also told TimesLIVE they believed Nkosikhona had been mistaken for another toddler who was in the house at the time who also lived with albinism.

Hlathi said one suspect had since been arrested.

“He will be appearing in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court today‚” Hlathi said.

Source: Bodies believed to be those of two children snatched from their home in Witbank last month found

Related: Search for missing Mpumalanga children continues

Nkosikhona Ngwenya was abducted on Sunday.

Published: February 6, 2018
By: eNCA

VOSMAN, Mpumalanga – Two Mpumalanga children abducted at their Vosman home are yet to be found.

A 13-year-old schoolgirl and a one-year-old boy were abducted on Sunday.

Three gunmen entered their house by breaking a window.

They then trashed the bedroom where some family members were sleeping, taking the two at gunpoint.

There are fears that the girl may have been targeted because she is living with albinism.

It’s believed the kidnappers mistakenly thought the toddler also had the condition.

Source: Search for missing Mpumalanga children continues

Related: Abducted Mpumalanga teen, boy (1) still missing

Published: February 1, 2018
By: eNCA

JOHANNESBURG – A Mpumalanga schoolgirl and a one-year-old boy, abducted at their Vosman home on Sunday, are yet to be found.

There are fears that the girl may have been targetted because she is living with albinism.

It is believed the kidnappers mistakenly thought the toddler also had the condition.

Three gunmen broke a window and entered the house.

They then trashed a bedroom where some family members were sleeping, taking 13-year-old Gabisini Shabani and Nkosikhona Ngwenya at gunpoint.

Nomthandozo Ngwenya says the men took the young boy by mistake.

“She was sleeping on the floor and they grabbed her and left with her. Then the other men, also armed, went to the next room and took the little boy, thinking he too had albinism but he doesn&39;t&39;,” Ngwenya said.

She says the family fears for the two kidnapped children.

“People have always said to us, we are staying with money at this house, pointing to our children, saying we could cut their hair and sell it for thousands of rand,” explained Ngwenya.

Residents took part in a march, attended by many schoolchildren, calling for the return of the children.

Reshoketsoe Malekame, who also lives with albinism, says she fears for her life and is always on the lookout.

Most residents in the area called for an end to the targetting of albinos.

Police confirmed they were still searching for the pair and attempts to find them in the area resulted in no progress.

“We have also alerted all other nearby police stations to be on the lookout for them,” police spokesperson Leonard Hlathi said.

Two cases of kidnapping have been opened.

Hlathi urged anyone with information to contact police on 082 372 2195.

Source: Abducted Mpumalanga teen, boy (1) still missing

Related: 
Man seen loitering outside house before young girl snatched from her bed

Published: February 1, 2018
By: Naledi Shange (Sowetan Live)

A 13-year-old girl who was snatched from her bed in Hlalanikahle‚ Witbank‚ two days ago may have been the victim of a calculated‚ well planned abduction.

Anna Shabani said she had noticed a man watching her daughter Gabisile‚ as she walked back from school for several days in a row.

She had never seen the man in the area before this‚ neither had she bothered to ask why he was loitering close to her home‚ Anna’s nephew Simon‚ told TimesLIVE.

“I was told that this person would stand facing the door of the house‚” Simon said.

Now the family is wondering whether the same man could have been involved in the kidnapping of the little girl as well as her one-year-old nephew.

In the early hours of Sunday morning‚ 50-year-old Anna woke up to the sound of glass shattering.

She went to check and found that the one window which did not have burglar bars had been broken and before she knew it‚ there were three men inside her house.

“I tried to scream and ask for help but they came in and pointed a gun at me. I ran back into my room and tried to close the door but they shoved it and overpowered me‚” Anna said.

One of the attackers pointed a gun at her and covered her mouth while the other headed to the bed and grabbed Gabisile‚ who is a twin.

Gabisile had lay sleeping on her bed while her sister slept in another room with Anna’s grandchild.

Unlike her twin sister Khanyisile‚ Gabisile was born with albinism.

“I’m not sure whether she was still asleep at the time [she was taken] because the light was still off‚” Anna told TimesLIVE.

“But she didn’t scream or cry.”

The SA Community Crime Watch’s Maureen Scheepers said her group had been circulating pictures of the missing girl and working with police in their investigation.

Scheepers said the little girl had been wearing only her underwear when the assailants fled with her.

As the attackers rushed out of the house‚ Gabisile’s 18-year-old sister Nompumelelo‚ who had been sleeping in a separate bedroom with her 15-month-old son‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ emerged from her room.

“I told her that these men have taken Gabisile. She said ‘they took my child too’‚” said Anna.

The family called out to neighbours for help and a manhunt ensued.

Two days later and they still have no leads.

Anna said she had no idea why her daughter and grandson were taken.

Simon said it had crossed their minds that Gabisile was taken because of her albinism.

Colonel Mtsholi Bembe said they were investigating housebreaking and kidnapping cases.

“We have just finished compiling the identikit and we will be releasing it soon‚” Mtsholi said.

Scheepers said when she asked the family to describe the suspects‚ they said they were not South African.

Nompulelo said the abductors were speaking in English and had told her to “freeze” and give them the baby.

The family was patiently awaiting any news.

“Everyone [in the community] is shocked by this. You hear of children going missing but this is something else‚” said Anna.

Source: Man seen loitering outside house before young girl snatched from her bed

South Africa: dead man’s ‘missing private parts’ spark riot

The article presented below does not represent a firm case of a ritual killing – or muti murder, as these crimes are called in southern Africa – but illustrates the daily fear of residents of countries in the region and the reaction of the population when suspecting another case of muti murder in their neighborhood.
Mob justice means that the rule of law is absent. Governments must protect its citizens and punish perpetrators of heinous crimes like muti murders. People have a right to live without fear.
For his reason, the article has been included here (webmaster FVDK).

One of the three houses which were torched by residents on the witchhunt for suspects following the suspicious death of a local.  Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Published: August 14, 2019
By: Peter Ramothwala  

The death of a man has sparked a vigilante attack after his family members found he had body parts missing.

James Makhubele, 69, from Blinkwater village outside Giyani in Limpopo, was meant to be laid to rest on Sunday, but his family were shocked to discover his private parts were missing during a body viewing.

Makhubele was believed to have died in an apparent hit and run. But his family claimed he was killed and his body thrown on to the road to look like he was hit by a car.

Enraged community members, who were at the funeral, torched three houses belonging to three people they suspected of killing him and cutting the deceased’s body parts.

According to relatives, Makhubele’s body had deep cuts on the thighs and had his penis cut off.

Police spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe said investigations have been broadened and a second postmortem would be conducted.Ngoepe confirmed the family had registered a complaint, regarding missing body parts of the deceased.

Makhubele’s niece Sophie Maluleke, 42, said her uncle was last seen at family gathering on August 3 when he retired for the night.

“When we got home we found that he wasn’t there. While we were still worried about where he could have went, somebody came to inform us that my uncle was hit by a car and he is dead,” Maluleke said.”We found him dripping blood from his pants, but his trousers were still intact.

Sophie Maluleke ,43, R, and Tsakane Baloyi. PHOTO: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

“We didn’t check what caused the bleeding because we immediately called the police to the scene,” she said.

The family could not see Makhubele’s body for a week at the government mortuary in Elim because of a service delivery protest.

She said on Sunday during the funeral, rumour swirled that her uncle may have been a victim of ritual killings.

“Two men from the community volunteered to inspect the entire body during the funeral proceeding and found his private parts missing.”The deceased’s brother Rexon said they immediately called off the funeral and called the police to do further investigation.

“We were shocked. What they did to my brother is inhumane and I want whoever did this to pay.”We had already spent R20,000 for funeral costs. We had no choice, but to allow the mourners to feast,” he said.

RIP

Source: Dead man’s ‘missing private parts’ spark riot

Related articles: 

Deceased’s missing penis sparks rampage in which angry Limpopo mourners torch 3 houses

Published: August 14, 2019
By: Staff Reported (News 24)

Mourners at a funeral of a 69-year-old man in Blinkwater village outside Giyani in Limpopo went on a rampage on Sunday when they discovered that his private parts were missing, Sowetan reported. 

James Makhubele was reportedly believed to have died in a hit-and-run on August 3, but family members now believe he was the victim of a ritual killing and that his body was thrown on to the road to create the appearance that he had been hit by a car. 

At the funeral, family members inspected Makhubele’s remains and reportedly discovered that body parts were missing. 

This sparked a vigilante attack during which mourners burnt down three houses, one belonging to a man whom they believe to be the suspect and those of two of his employees. 

According to Sowetan, police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said a second post-mortem would be conducted. 

However, a policeman at the local police station reportedly told the newspaper that the first post-mortem did not find that any body parts had been removed. 

Incidents of mob justice continue to flare up throughout the country. 

Last week, News24 reported that two men estimated to be around 30 years old were murdered by groups of people in separate vigilante attacks in the Eastern Cape.

In July, 14 people were arrested in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, for stoning a murder suspect to death.

In the same week, two women were stripped naked and set alight in the Ha-Mashau village in Limpopo. They were suspected of murdering a 12-year-old boy. Two suspects, aged 16 and 17, have been arrested.

and:

Alleged ritual motivated killing sparks violence in Giyani, Limpopo (tv news broadcast – YouTube)

Blinkwater village outside Giyani in Limpopo, South Africa

Zimbabwe: life in jail for 24yr old man who murdered fellow villager for body parts

There is a difference between ritualistic murders which are intended to gain more wealth and/or prestige or increase one’s chances to win elections and the cold-blooded murdering of people to sell their body parts. However, both types of crime have in common that the murdering of innocent people is based on the superstition that the juju or muti which result from these heinous practices works. The following example illustrates this.
(The editor FVDK).

Published: July 5, 2019
By: ZimEye

A 24-year-old man from Chimanimani who killed a fellow villager and harvested body parts for ritual purposes has been slapped with a life jail sentence after he was found guilty of committing murder with actual intent.

The suspect, Victor Dinga of Munaka Village under Chief Chikukwa, showed no remorse since the trial began. He struck the victim with a machete, took several body parts which he then placed in a bag and later asked his brother-in-law to refrigerate.

While reading out the sentence, Senior Mutare High Court Judge, Justice Hlekani Mwayera, said Dinga was supposed to hang for committing the crime and was only lucky due to the ongoing debate around the death sentence.

During trial Dinga left court officials in a state of disbelief as he gave a chilling account on how he committed the grisly murder.

He told the court that he planned the murder because he wanted to sell the body parts in South Africa and then buy a house and a car from the proceeds.

However, his plan hit a brick wall after his brother-in-law refused to refrigerate the body parts and subsequently sold him out to the police.

Ms Jane-Rose Matsikidze prosecuted.

“Dinga and the deceased Cephas Mubarenyana lived in seperate villages and the deceased stayed alone,” she said.

“On September 24 last year in the morning, the accused person approached the deceased at his home and asked him to help carry some planks from Martin Forests for a fee. Unknown to the deceased, the suspect had a machete hidden inside his pair of trousers.”

On arrival in Martin Forest, the accused suddenly pulled out the machete and struck the deceased on the neck and above the left ear, killing him instantly.

He then dragged the deceased’s body into a bush before proceeding to harvest certain body parts. He took the body parts to Chikukwa Business Centre where he asked his brother-in-law, Aaron Mashava, to refrigerate them for him.

“Having refused to refrigerate the human body parts, the brother-in-law later mobilised other villagers leading to the recovery of the body parts and the arrest of the suspect. A post-mortem examination concluded that the death was as a result of severe head injury and exsanguinations,” said Ms Matsikidze.

Mashava told the court that he was inside his shop when the suspect approached him asking him to refrigerate the bag containing the body parts.

He became curious when the suspect told him that the bag should not be opened. On being asked about its contents, the suspect told him that it contained human body parts.

Suspecting that the accused person had killed a person, Mashava informed his neighbour who in turn called the councillor and the trio then approached Constable Blessing Muroda.

The quartet went to the suspect’s house where he led them to a disused toilet where the bag and its contents were hung.

Source: Life In Jail For 24yr Old Man Who Murdered Fellow Villager For Body Parts

Provinces of Zimbabwe

South Africa: ritual murder at Madabani?

It is important to note that the case presented below is not a firm case of ritual murder.  However, the firm belief that “(….) we do not have any doubt that they killed him for muti (….)” as one of the community-member said, speaks for itself. This statement does not replace the coroner’s work, but is an indication of the daily fear of people living in South Africa where muti murders are no exception. We will follow related events en revelations and keep you informed on this place. (webmaster FVDK) 

The victim Johannes Khangale.

Published: April 27, 2019
By: Kaizer Nengovhela – Zoutnet (South Africa)

Unrest yet erupted once more in the Madabani area, this time because of a suspected ritual killing. The body of Mr Johannes Khangale (66) was discovered by his nephew on the night of April 15. He was found in his room in a pool of blood, with a piece of rope around his neck. Some of his body parts had allegedly been removed, causing all the blood.

News of the murder spread like wildfire, with hundreds of people streaming to the scene. Angry community members blocked the road to Kutama last Wednesday night (17th) with branches of trees and various other objects. They accused the police of not doing their job to arrest the suspects.

The nephew of the deceased, Mr Bally Rambau, said that he had last seen his uncle on the 13th and had tried to phone him several times, but his phone had kept on ringing. When he visited him on the 15th, he found him in a pool of blood with the rope around his neck. He said that he had shouted for help and other community members had alerted the police.

Rambau said that the family members were devastated by the news of the murder. “How can they do this? They deserve to be punished; this is cruelty at its worst,” he said. “Breaking the news about his death was a mammoth task for me, and it was so difficult for them to accept,” he said.

Khangale was not working and survived on his grant, his nephew said. “My uncle was a loving person who made sure that we were all raised well, irrespective of his not working. We will always think of the good he did for the family. He was such a wonderful person; we are totally devastated by his death,” he said.

Rambau said that they were still waiting for the results of the post-mortem. Khangale was buried last Friday.

Mr Sy Mukhuba, a community member, said that they were deeply shocked by the incident. “We do not know exactly what had happened, and all we have here are rumours doing the rounds,” he said.

“We are now living in fear and we do not know who will be the next, as these people never seem to get enough of our family. Look, they killed a defenceless elderly [person] and we do not have any doubt that they killed him for muti,” he said.

Mukhuba said all indications made them believe that foul play tainted the whole incident. “We are very worried and saddened about the whole incident, and we are waiting for answers to unravel the mystery. Police should do their best to dig deep in this case and the culprits should be brought to book,” he said.

Brig Mojapelo of the SAPS confirmed the case and said they had opened an inquest docket. “We are busy with investigations and we will get to the bottom of the case,” he promised.

Mojapelo added that they did not have conclusive evidence linking it to a ritual murder, but if the post mortem pointed to the contrary, the case would be changed. He cautioned community members to desist from spreading rumours and to give the police a chance to do their work.

Source: Ritual murder at Madabani?

Fancy satellite location map of Madabani in DZANANI, Northern Province, South Africa.

South Africa: Two witch doctor cannibals jailed in grisly dismemberment murder

Published:  December 13, 2018 9:40 PM EST
By: Brad Hunter

Witch doctor Nino Mbatha, 33,  was jailed for life for murdering and eating a young woman

Two cannibals have been jailed for life after one was busted carrying a bag with a human hand and a leg inside.

When one surrendered to cops in South Africa, he told stunned detectives: “[I’m] tired of eating human flesh.”

Nino Mbatha, 33, and Lungisani Magubane, 32, were jailed for life Thursday for the murder of Zanele Hlatshwayo.

According to the Daily Mail, it was Mbatha — a self-proclaimed ‘traditional healer’ — that served up the sinister duo’s unappetizing antics to cops.

At first, cops believed Mbatha was pulling a sick joke on them.

But when he took detectives to a nearby house, they discovered more body parts.

Cops say Hlatshwayo was murdered and decapitated as part of a ritual killing performed by witch doctors to bring good luck.

Judge Peter Olsen described the murder as “heinous.”

The court was told that the female victim was beheaded by Mbatha who, with the help of Magubane, removed her internal organs, hands and feet in order to gain luck.

Mbatha told Magubane to eat the 24-year-old woman’s flesh for “good luck,” before claiming he was forced into cannibalism.

Another witch doctor killed himself before he could be brought to trial.

Source: Two witch doctor cannibals jailed in grisly dismemberment murder

South Africa: ‘Fake sangoma murderers’ target albino body parts for rituals

South Africa: ‘Fake sangoma murderers’ target albino body parts for rituals

Published: April 30, 2018
By: Cynthia Maseko

Albino body parts are used to make ‘muti’.

It is believed that the body parts of albinos are wanted by sangomas who make money out of them and use them for healing.

The murder of a 13-year-old albino girl and the stealing of body parts from a 28-year-old albino man just hours after he was buried has Mpumalanga residents angry and fearing for the lives of other albino people.

Hands and a foot chopped off

Fear has been spreading following the recent abduction and brutal killing of 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane, who had with albinism. And then body parts were removed from 28-year-old Xolane Mkhize from Msogwaba after he was buried.According to Mkhize’s family, the young man passed away on 3 March this year after months of battling with skin cancer. His hands and a foot were chopped off his body less than 24 hours after he was buried at the Tekwane North grave yard.

Phumzile Ndlovu, a community member in Msogwaba, said people were battling to make sense of the two events.

“We grew up believing that when it was time for person with albinism to die, he or she would go far up in the mountains and get between big rocks where no-one would ever find them and die there. But today we know fully that persons with albinism are buried at the public grave yards,” she said.

Albinism is an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair and/or eyes. Most children with albinism are born to parents who have normal hair and eye colour for their ethnic backgrounds.

So-called sangomas

Sam Zitha, a worried father of Ndabezitha, said, “Even though my daughter may not fully understand, we no longer allow her to go anywhere without any supervision after hearing the news about the abduction and brutal killing of the 13-year-old girl who lived with albinism. As a father with a child living with albinism, it is my responsibility to always make sure she is always sheltered and protected from these rituals.”

Zitha believes that the body parts of albino people are wanted by people who make money out of them and use them for healing. He believes sangomas are the people who use the parts.

“People must be careful of these fly-by-night so-called sangomas (who buy the body parts) because your desperation will make you a murderer and put you in prison,” said Ntombifuthi Zitha who is Ndabezitha’s gogo.

“Now our brothers and sisters with albinism are living in constant fear because they are being brutally killed for ritual purposes. The disturbing issue is that some of these fake sangomas are living among us in society,” said Sam Zitha.

There have been no developments in either of the two cases. – Health-e News.

Source: ‘Fake sangoma murderers’ target albino body parts for rituals

Mpumalanga Province (former East Transvaal) in South Africa

BBC crew mistaken for ritual killers in Malawi – narrowly escapes death

BBC crew mistaken for ritual killers in northern Malawi, narrowly escapes death (Click link at bottom of this page to watch film)

Investigation by: Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Henry Mhango and Darius Bazargan
Published: August 13, 2018

“BBC journalists investigating a series of mysterious murders in Malawi have narrowly escaped death.
The team were working undercover to expose men who claim to suck the blood of children to make get-rich amulets when they were attacked by a crowd of furious villagers.” – BBC Africa Eye

Anas Aremeyaw Anas, a well-known Ghanaian undercover journalist, and a BBC team composed of Henry Mango and Darius Bazargan, were investigating a series of mysterious murders in northern Malawi. The victims had been beheaded, certain body parts had been removed.
Mr and Mrs Moyo, the parents of one of the victims, are interviewed in the film (shown below). Investigative journalist Anas disguised as a rich businessman looking for witch doctors who allegedly use body parts as charms for wealthy clients. When filming secretly a witch doctor called Kamanga in Karonga, in norther Malawi, the villagers mistook the BBC crew for ritual killers and nearly killed them in an act of mob justice. Fortunately, the crew was saved by community police and a local chief.

Warning: the film contains disturbing images.

Source: BBC crew mistaken for ritual killers 
(click link to watch film)

Ghanaian undercover investigative reporter, Anas Aremeyaw Anas nearly died with his colleagues during his latest undercover piece “Malawi’s Human Harvest.”

Related articles:

How Anas nearly died in fresh Malawi exposé
GhanaWeb
August 13, 2018

Anas and colleagues escape lynching in Malawi in latest undercover job
GhanaWeb
August 2018

Anas Nearly Lynched in Malawi Whilst Investigating Ritual Murders
Ghafla!
August 14, 2018

Albinism in Tanzania: slow progress in combatting violence and discrimination

In 2008 a wave of murders of albinos in eastern and central Africa attracted worldwide attention and condemnation even though it wasn’t the first time albinos were targeted in countries like Tanzania, Burundi and Malawi.

In June 2008, a New York Times online edition aired a news brief on albino killings in Tanzania, which caused a sensation. In July 2008, a BBC journalist, Vicky Ntetema, posed as a businesswoman who wanted to get rich quick and consulted 10 witchdoctors in Tanzania. Several witchdoctors promised to get her a magic concoction mixed with ground albino organs. The starting price was $2,000 for the vital organs. Later she had to go in hiding after receiving death threats because of her undercover work. A BBC video on the horrifying spate of killings of albinos in Tanzania, broadcast in August of the same year, was later taken off the air. Also in July Al Jazeera presented a video on the fate of albinos in Tanzania (Part 1 and Part 2). The European Union condemned the ritual murdering of albinos (September, 2008), followed by UNICEF (December, 2008). By then, according to the Tanzania Albino Society (TAS), more than 35 albinos had been killed in 2008 alone, with many other such cases unreported. For more cases, covering the 2003 – 2010 period, you’re welcome to visit my archives. Unfortunately, many links have expired. (For this reason I copy all articles and publish them on the present site while acknowledging their origin).
It’s important to mention that ‘Under The Same Sun’ founder Peter Ash estimates the total number of deadly victims to be twice the official figure in a December 3, 2008 interview. Viewers are warned that the interview can be shocking because of the graphic nature of the story.

The NGO Under The Same Sun helps people with albinism overcome often deadly discrimination through education and advocacy. UTSS was started by Peter Ash, a former pastor and Canadian businessman with albinism, and Vicky Ntetema, mentioned earlier, Tanzania’s BBC bureau chief whose report in July 2008 broke the story to the world of the gruesome murders of persons with albinism in Tanzania. UTSS was founded in 2008. Visit the impressive site of Under The Same Sun, a comprehensive site about Persons with Albinism in Tanzania.

Under The Same Sun helps people with albinism overcome often deadly discrimination through education and advocacy

The following article dates from 2015 but as forthcoming posts will also demonstrate, the fight against discrimination of people with albinism is far from over, and therefor I want to congratulate Under The Same Sun, the Tanzania Albinism Society, and other organizations supporting the same cause for their valuable work and wish them success in the future. May their work soon be no longer needed! (webmaster FVDK)

Published on May 13, 2015
By Daniel Wesangula
The Guardian

Around 30,000 people with albinism are thought to be living in Tanzania. Photograph: Ana Palacios

Albinos live with the risk of being killed, their body parts fetching high prices for witchcraft – but NGOs hope that change is coming.

“This is possibly the worst time to be a person living with albinism in Tanzania,” says Amir Manento.

In October, citizens will go to the polls to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections. “Every election period brings with it a new cycle of killings. In between we have other smaller elections translating to more abductions, more killings.” Manento, a retired judge and human rights activist, has been at the forefront of campaigning for the rights of people living with albinism for decades. “We see an increase of witchcraft and the use of human body parts, particularly albino body parts, in the run-up to the general elections.” Albino body parts are associated with good luck, and as the country gears up for the elections, the demand for good luck charms goes up. Sacrifices during this time are thought by some to be a sure way of guaranteeing victory in the polls.

“Albino hunting came into the limelight around 10 years ago, particularly within the fishing and mining communities,” says Dr Benson Bana, a political science and public administration lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam. Bana believes that some of the roots of the problem lie in the financial downturn in the area around Lake Victoria, one of the regions where there have been the most killings and abductions.

“A certain poverty touched our people after the privatisation of fishing activities in Lake Victoria,” says Bana. “Everything was being controlled, from where one could fish to the size of the holes in his fishing net. The result was diminished harvests. Every above-average catch by the little guys was then attributed to superstition. This is when witchdoctors started peddling the belief that people living with albinism or their body parts, most of whom coincidentally live in these regions, could be used as good luck charms.”

Bana believes that this devastating association was then passed on to neighbouring mining communities. “Eventually it caught wind and was looked upon as a legitimate way of acquiring riches and power by some individuals. Hence the association with politicians.”

Tanzania is thought to have one of the world’s largest populations of people living with albinism, a congenital disorder that robs skin, eyes and hair of their pigment. But for years this population of about 30,000 people has existed under the threat of abductions and ritual killings, and in recent years the situation appears to have worsened.

According to a report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a complete set of Albino body parts – including all four limbs, genitals, ears, tongue and nose – can fetch up to $75,000 (pdf).

The Tanzania Albinism Society says it is almost impossible to know the numbers of those abducted or killed since the beginning of the year. What they are sure of, though, is that the number of victims will be higher than the two cases that made it into police records in 2013.

“Even last year the numbers might have been higher because these crimes are very intimate. Mostly a close family member, even a father, is involved in the killings and abductions. In such cases silence wins; his wife will probably be an accomplice in the crime. Nothing will be said of the matter again and the police will have no chance of prosecuting anyone,” says Severin Edward, programme coordinator for the Tanzanian Albinism Society.

A total of 155 cases of violation of albino rights have been reported to Tanzanian authorities since 2009, according to a study (pdf) released in March by Under The Same Sun, an NGO working to combat discrimination against people with albinism.

“Of these cases, 75 were deaths. We have also received 18 reports of grave violations,” said Don Sawatzky, director of operations for UTSS. The study, which gathered together data from 25 different countries in Africa, found reports of 145 albino killings, in addition to 226 violations that include mutilations, other forms of violence, and kidnappings.

UTSS has been actively pushing the United Nations for four key resolutions aimed at ending all forms of discrimination of people living with albinism.

A total of 155 cases of violation of albino rights have been reported to Tanzanian authorities since 2009.
Photograph: Ana Palacios

However, Sawatzky argues that to describe the killings as a phenomenon propelled by recent economic hardship would be “to accept the easy answer”.
“Nobody really knows the origin of the killings, since documentation in Africa is not common other than through oral tradition. All we know for sure is that albinism has been ‘mythologised’ since time beyond memory. Muti murders, or ‘medicine’ killings, have a deep, longstanding history, and are a familiar concept to most Africans,” he says. In Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, the nation’s first albino member of parliament, Isaac Mwaura, says it is time measures are put in place to end these killings and abductions, and that existing laws need to be adhered to by all affected countries.

“Kenya has strict trafficking laws, the same as Tanzania. What makes it possible for criminals to take our children, mothers, fathers or brothers across borders and sell them off like commodities to witch doctors? Enforcement of laws is one of the weakest links in this war. We have become the hunted. Neither we nor our children are safe. Fathers are betraying their children’s trust and selling them off like unwanted baggage. Mothers are conspiring to traffic their own flesh and blood to senseless deaths.”

In Tanzania the government has been working with NGOs and civil society, and results are now being seen. “Never before have we seen so much effort from the government and the general public. At least we are now getting convictions, primarily because investigations are more thorough and new laws are being set up,” says Manento. “Although no executions have taken place, a total of 17 individuals have received the death sentence, some of them as recently as March, when four individuals, including the husband of the murdered victim, were convicted,” he said.

To win this war, NGOs at the forefront believe collusion within the community must come to an end. “We must educate families to understand that having such a child is not a gateway to quick riches. We then encourage the rest of the community to speak up,” says Edward. “The society needs to be more empowered and supported to co-operate. For instance, when family members are involved in killings or abductions it is quite difficult to get witnesses, because even they are not assured of their security.”

Sawatzky also believes that the war will be won, just not in the near future. “Like all forms of discrimination, it will take several generations to achieve. I will not see the war won in my lifetime. The youth and future generations are the best answer to this war,” he said.

More community sensitisation needs to be achieved, says Justus Kamugisha, regional police chief in Shinyanga, in the north of the country. “We need to make our people understand that there are no shortcuts to prosperity. Only hard, honest work pays. Taking the life of someone else, regardless of his condition, is simply murder, for which you will be charged.”

Source: The Guardian, May 13, 2015

More:

Albinism in Tanzania: safe havens in schools and support centers – in pictures
Photographs by Ana Palacios – May 13, 2015

Tanzania bans witchdoctors in attempt to end albino killings,
The Guardian, January 14, 2015

Tanzania albino murders: ‘More than 200 witchdoctors’ arrested
BBC, March 12, 2015

Witchcraft and the law in Tanzania
The Guardian, September 26, 2008