In South Africa, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania, Mozambique, Burundi, in most countries in Southern Africa people with albinism are targeted, terrorized, attacked, mutilated, murdered, all for one purpose: muti. In recent years governments in some of these countries have taken measures to protect their albino-citizens. President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania pledged to crackdown on albino killings (2015), the Malawian government ordered police to shoot in a bid to protect albinos (2015). Prosecution of suspects have started in various countries. Yet it is not enough. The attacks and killings continue. More needs to be done: education – to teach people that superstition, the belief in the power of muti is misplaced and that one cannot get away with murder – and the rule of law are key to eradicate these heinous crimes against innocent people who are born with a disability and have to live with it: albinism. (webmaster FVDK).
Published: June 2, 2016 By: eNCA
JOHANNESBURG – with hate crimes against people with albinism still rife across the continent, the African Union and SADC have been urged to do more on their behalf.
In South Africa,a campaign has been launched to try and put an end to this human rights crisis.
“There is a lot of energy worldwide to protect the rhino, we expect the same if not more energy to protect people with albinism. If they are being hunted like the rhino, how much coverage do they get, one rhino killed in Malawi or in SA the while world will know about it. But people with albinism their story is not told aggressively enough as we hear stories about the rhino.”
*View the attached video for more on the plight of people living with albinism in Africa.
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).
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.
“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.
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 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.
Nino Mbatha and Lungisani Magubane sentenced to life for murder of woman
Zanele Hlatshwayo said to have been raped and murdered as part of ritual killing
Traditional ‘healer’ Mbatha said cannibalism would bring Magubane good luck
Members of small community of Esigodlweni dug up graves to give to Mbatha
Two cannibals, one of which was found carrying a bag with a human hand and a leg inside, have been jailed for life in South Africa.
One of the cannibals told officers when he turned himself into police that he was ‘tired of eating human flesh’.
Nino Mbatha, 33, and Lungisani Magubane, 32, were jailed for life today for the murder of Zanele Hlatshwayo.
Mbatha, said to be a ‘traditional healer’, was arrested after handing himself in at a police station in Estcourt, a town in KwaZulu-Natal province last year.
He was carrying a bag containing a human leg and a hand, telling officers he was ‘tired of eating human flesh’.
Police refused to believe his claims until he took officers to a house where more body parts were found.
Sitting at the Pietermaritzburg High Court, judge Peter Olsen, said the pair were guilty of ‘the most heinous crime’, the Witness newspaper said.
The court heard that Ms Hlatshwayo had been beheaded by Mbatha who, with the help of Magubane, removed her internal organs, hands and feet in order to gain luck through ‘muthi’ – a term for traditional medicine in parts of southern Africa.
Mbatha was said to have instructed Magubane to eat the 24-year-old woman’s flesh for ‘good luck’, before claiming he was forced into cannibalism.
At earlier hearings in Estcourt, angry residents gathered outside the courthouse to protest against the grisly murder.
South Africa has no direct law against cannibalism, but mutilating a corpse and being in possession of human tissue are criminal offences.
A third man was acquitted today, with seven people initially arrested during the investigation.
A fourth man arrested and charged, Sithembiso Sithole, 31, died in prison after apparently killing himself while awaiting trial.
The trio of men were arrested after Mbatha went to police and more remains were found in a nearby house, leading to the discovery of a woman’s mutilated body, who was also said to have been raped.
After a meeting was held in the village of Esigodlweni, home to just 971 people, it emerged almost a third of the population had been digging up graves or eating residents.
In the aftermath of the arrests, villagers gathered in the community hall allegedly admitted tasting human flesh.
Two of the men initially arrested were said to be witch doctors, or traditional healers, and a third was on parole from jail at the time of the killing.
Community members were also said to have dug up graves under the orders of Mbatha to give him the bones.
When police were investigating officers discovered eight ears in a pot, local councillor Mthembeni Majola told the media.
People with albinism in some African countries are particularly at risk of ‘muti’ killings due to the belief held by some that their body parts impart power and health to those who eat them.
A man Durban was found with a human head in his backpack last July, as he was thought to be attempting to sell the head to a witch doctor.
Fortunately, I am not the only one worried or angry about the mutilating and murdering of people living with albinism in sub-Saharan Africa. We have people like Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the famous Ghanaian undercover reporter, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Overstone Kondowe, director of the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi, Richard Rooney in Swaziland, Kassim Kazungu, President of the organization Albinos without Borders in Burundi (‘Association Albinos sans Frontières de Burundi’) and – last but not least, the people running Under The Same Sun, an organization fighting for the rights of Persons with Albinism in Tanzania, headed by Peter Ash. And there is Tom Head.
I read his piece on ‘why albinos are being murdered in South Africa’ and immediately felt the need to share it with you, the reader of this blog on ritual killings in Africa. Tom Head is, according to his own writing, a 26-year old writer and English Teacher. ‘British by birth, South African by heart. His wife is definitely his better half. Known to follow rubbish sports teams. Writes mainly about current affairs, politics and sport.’ Unquote. Judge for yourself whether I took the right decision to include his article on this site. His article dates from the end of March, this year. Thanks Tom for your precious contribution!
A luta continua – the struggle continues!
Why are albinos being murdered in South Africa?
TOPSHOT – An albino model wearing a creation waits to access a private lounge during the fashion show at the 2017 Durban July horse race in Durban, South Africa, on July 1, 2017.
Myth and superstition threaten the lives of one of society’s most marginalised groups.
In 2018, it goes without saying that no-one should be fearful of their lives because of what skin colour they were born with. However, this is very much a reality for albinos in sub-Saharan Africa.
The UN state that people who live with albinism are treated “more like ghosts than humans”*, following years of ostracisation and a general lack of public understanding. Feeling marginalised by society is one thing. But being murdered because you’re different is a whole other, heartbreaking issue.
What causes albinism?
Albinism is hereditary. It doesn’t have to be passed on directly from an albino parent, but the mother or father must be a carrier of the gene for a child to inherit the condition.
When the human body fails to produce enough melanin, it affects the colourisation of the skin and its pigmentation. Around one in 20 000 people worldwide are albino.
Why are albinos murdered?
Their persecution is almost entirely based on myth and superstition. Witch doctors operating in southern Africa believe their body parts possess magical powers. Some think that possessing their limbs can ensure better health, and will bring good luck to the owner.
The idea is beyond ridiculous, but it is ultimately tragic. On the other side of the coin, some witch doctors also teach the idea that albinos are cursed. The crackpot theories range from the ideas that they are trapped spirits, to being the living souls of colonialist invaders.
Malawi has reported “at least 18” murders of albino citizens since 2014. However, Tanzania is where the most murders occur, and that’s due to the sheer size of their albino population. It’s estimated around 7,000 people live with albinism in the country.
Violence against albinos has never matched the same levels seen north of Mzansi. However, there have been some high profile cases in Mpumalanga this month that have forced South Africa to confront a horrifying reality.
A traditional healer who allegedly killed two children with albinism appeared in a Witbank court last month. Following that, the grave of an albino local was dug up in Pienaar near White River: His hands and right foot had been cut off.
Police in Mpumalanga have vowed to step up their attempts to protect the albino community. General Mondli Zuma stated this week that the “barbaric act” of dealing in body parts has to be stopped.
Misinformation and lies should never result in the death of a human being. But when they are systematically pedalled to target one specific community, something drastic has to change. Albinos can no longer be treated as ghosts, rather than people.
* – Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
‘Muti murders’ are typical for Southern Africa. ‘Muti’ is the Zulu word for ‘medicine’. These crimes are ritualistic murders. The murderers and the person(s) who requested the body parts thus obtained should be brought to justice. For how long people in southern African countries have been living in fear for these ‘muti murders’? It is estimated that the number of muti murders range from one per month to one per day in South Africa alone.
A few days ago, a case of a (suspected) ‘muti murder’ was reported in the city of Polokwane, also known by its former name Pietersburg, the capital of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Ordinary crimes may be disguised as a ‘muti murder’ in order to mislead the police, but isn’t it already quite revealing that as soon as a mutilated body is found, one thinks of a ‘muti murder’? (webmaster FVDK)
Mutilated body found on the Onverwacht Road, outside Polokwane
Published: May 29, 2018
POLOKWANE – Police have launched a manhunt for unknown suspect(s) following the discovery of a mutilated body on Monday afternoon, 28 May.
According to police spokesperson, Lt Col Moatshe Ngoepe, police received a tip off from the community about a body that was dumped in the bushes near the Onverwaght road, a few kilometres outside Polokwane.
“Upon their arrival, the mutilated body of a man in his forties was found with some body parts missing. The motive for this killing is still unknown at this stage but ritual murder cannot be ruled out,” he said.
Anyone with information which can assist the police in arresting the suspect(s) involved in the murder and who can assist in the identification of the deceased, are to contact Captain Richard Boshomane at 079 894 5501; the crime stop number 0860010111; the crime line sms 32211 or the nearest police station.
When I read this newspaper report on a gruesome ritual killing case in Zimbabwe, I remembered what my Zimbabwean friend Muchaneta Nyambuya had told me in Monrovia in the late 1970s.
We were then both teaching at the University of Liberia and we were discussing the wave of ritual killings in the country. I asked him about these horrible practices. ‘Did they only happen in Liberia?’ ‘Did they also happen in other African countries?’ Mucha looked at me, paused, and when he spoke again he didn’t give me a straight answer, but instead returned my question: “Do you think it’s different in other countries?”
It was only much later that I became familiar with the phenomenon of ‘muti murders‘.‘Muti‘ is the Zulu word for ‘medicine‘. ‘Muti murders’ are ritualistic murders and occur not only in the Republic of South Africa, but in other countries in Southern Africa as well. So, also in Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia, as Mucha’s country was then still called. Forty years after Mucha and I spoke about these age-old practices, apparently, some people in Zimbabwe still believe in the power of ‘muti’. (webmaster FVDK)
Homicide detectives in Mutare, Zimbabwe, are battling to put pieces together and solve how a man who was initially believed to have been killed in a hit-and-run accident ended up with some of his body parts missing. The mysterious incident which happened in Zimunya on Monday has left villagers with their mouths ajar with many now pointing to ritual murder.
In a bid to conceal the heinous crime, perpetrators of the ritual murder dumped the body of the deceased man in the middle of the road along the Mutare-Masvingo highway.
They wanted it to be overrun by vehicles, conceal evidence and subsequently put traffic cops on a wild goose chase. Indeed some vehicles ran over the body.
Naturally, traffic police officers attended the scene, believing it was a genuine matter that falls under their purview, but they soon raised their homicide counterparts upon realising that they have been sold a dummy.
The corpse had some body parts missing around the private parts area and finger nails.
When The Weekender attended the scene, traffic police officers had moved the body of a man, who is yet to be identified to the roadside where they conducted further examinations.
The cops, who refused to talk to the Press citing protocol, quickly contacted the homicide section and advised them that they suspected murder.
From the crime scene investigations, the road traffic incident was a decoy.
Villagers quickly gathered at the scene and they told horror cases of ritual murders that have ravaged their community in recent months.
Murder victim – Zimbabwe
They said they were now living in constant fear while some were now escorting their children to school. Walking at night in the area is now considered dangerous.
An elderly villager who only identified herself as Gogo MaSibanda said the area was now a hunting ground for criminals. She said most of the murders were being perpetrated in Chigodora and bodies were being dumped there to cloud police investigations.
“I suspect that this man was killed for ritual purposes. Whoever did it went on to dump him on the road so that the body would be run over and destroy evidence. The plan has evidently failed,” she said.