Trial of the muti murderers of Gabisile Shabane, a young girl with albinism from Emalahleni (formerly Witbank) South Africa

The reader is being warned that the following articles contain graphic details of the kidnapping and murder of a young girl with albinism, Gabisile Shabane, who was killed for her body parts. The gruesome crime took place in Emalahleni (formerly Witbank) in South Africa in January 2018. The kidnapping of the young innocent girl of only 13 years old and her gruesome fate not only shocked the residents of Witbank, as illustrated by the tweet below, but shocked the entire nation and was widely covered in the press, as illustrated by the news articles below describing the related events in the past three years (2018-2021).

Screenshot for illustration purposes only (archives) – – No link included

I reported earlier on the murder of Gabisile Shabane, who was abducted together with her 15-months old cousin: on April 30, 2018 (South Africa: ‘Fake sangoma murderers’ target albino body parts for rituals) and August 23, 2019 (South African teacher admits to killing teen with albinism for ritual purposes). Again, I wish to commend the South African authorities for their swift action to apprehend and prosecute the suspects and also I wish to congratulate the press in South Africa for its extensive coverage of this important trial. Only by raising the awareness of the general public that these crimes have no place in the 21st century and a stiff warning to traditional healers, sangomas and others that their criminal acts will no longer remain unpunished can we end these barbaric crimes against humanity and the violation of peoples’ most sacred human rights: the right to live. (webmaster FVDK).

On January 28, 2018 Gabisile Shabane, a 13 year old teenager girl with albinism,  was brutally abducted by armed men and subsequently murdered for her body parts, in Emalahleni (formerly Witbank). File photo. Image: SAPS

South Africa: Blood of murdered girl with albinism used for ‘cleansing’, says state witness

Published: October 11, 2021
By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa

A state witness has given shocking testimony in the trial of three men implicated in the murder of Gabisile Shabane, a young girl with albinism from Emalahleni (formerly Witbank) who was abducted and murdered in January 2018, allegedly for her body parts.

The three accused are Thokozani Msibi — a traditional healer originally from Eswatini who lived and practised in Emalahleni and the alleged mastermind behind the plot — Knowledge Wezi Mhlanga and Mthobisi Brilliant Mkhize.

A fourth accused, Mfanasibili Gamedze, died behind bars while waiting to be extradited to SA from Eswatini, while a fifth accused, Josiah Thubane, pleaded guilty to his part in the murder in 2019. He is already serving his sentence. 

The state witness, who is not being named and is under witness protection, was present when Shabane was murdered, dismembered and buried in a shallow grave in Cullinan, near Pretoria.

TimesLIVE is referring to him as Mr X.

Delivering his testimony to the high court sitting in Middelburg, Mr X said he was there when Shabane was forced to drink a beer laced with brake fluid and also some dagga before her killing. Mr X said he had taken part in rituals which were performed using Shabane’s body parts and blood.

Mr X had begun delivering his testimony last week. Continuing on Monday, he told the court his version of the events that unfolded at a farm in Cullinan when Shabane was killed and buried.

“Mr Msibi closed the hole [shallow grave where Shabane was buried] while Mr Gamedze was busy with the plastic which contained the parts. It was then that Msibi said now is the time for us to do a cleansing ritual on ourselves,” Mr X told the court.

“I was told that it was time for me to cleanse, so my mom could get well and all our things could go OK. We then all took off our clothes. We cleansed with the contents of the bucket.” 

The bucket had contained a mixture of muthi, water and Shabane’s blood. Msibi took some muthi and sprinkled it onto the grave, speaking some words as he did this.

Mr X told the court that after dressing, as they were walking back to a house on the farm, Msibi stopped them and said, “Men, can everything that has happened here stay between us — no matter what the situation is, it should be kept between us.”

“He was referring to the killing of Gabisile and the removal of her body parts. He pleaded with me and also made reference to Mkhize [who allegedly had driven them from Witbank after Gabisile’s abduction], saying that even though we did not partake [in the killing], we should keep this secret to ourselves,” said Mr X.

“I promised him that I would never disclose anything. He said if we ever spoke about this, we would get to see the full might of his muthi.” 

On the way back to the house, they covered their tracks and used soil to cover some blood spatter from Shabane that had been shed along the way.

Mr X said he had dug three holes and covered them again, which he hoped would act as a decoy to ensure that Shabane’s body would never be found.

The men went back to the house, where Mr X cooked a meal for them to eat. Mr X said it was during this time that he had told Msibi that he needed to go back to  Witbank because he was working from 2pm. He was employed at a petrol station.

“He said I should stop complaining and that there was no need for me to go back to my work because from then on, I was rich,” Mr X told the court.

Mkhize, who had earlier left the men at the farm, returned with plates of takeaway food, gave it to Mr X, Mkhize and Gamedze. They then packed their belongings, including a bucket that had contained the plastic bag with the body parts and a maroon traditional cloth, into the car.

They headed back to Witbank, where the men resided, but along the way an argument ensued.

“An argument ensued after Msibi said to Mkhize that my ugly face shouldn’t fool him into believing I was brave, because I had been so afraid and would not even come close when they were dismembering the body.

“I asked Mkhize whether he would have gone to that scene. He replied that I should ask Msibi what he did in Cape Town,” said Mr X, suggesting that he was capable of it.

“Mkhize made comments and asked what am I good at in life because I can’t even drive. This resulted in silence in the car. We proceeded with our journey back to Witbank. On our drive, Msibi opened the window and began speaking out that he is summoning all the sick to come to his place of practice.”

Mr X said once they reached Witbank, he headed to his brother’s house, leaving Gamedze and Msibi behind. Mkhize left the men at Msibi’s house and also went home. 

Mr X was asked to elaborate on how he knew the second accused in the matter, Mhlanga. He told the court that he had met Mhlanga with Mkhize one morning after he had knocked off from work.

“I went to Msibi’s house and found accused two there with other guys. They were travelling in a sky-blue Hyundai ix35. Msibi had called me to come and join them, saying they were having a traditional steam and had been steaming throughout the night. I went to take off my uniform and returned to the place where they were.

“I found them sitting in the indumba [traditional hut where healing and consultation is done]. They were speaking into emptied pumpkins while they steamed. They were talking [about] their dreams and wishes into these hollowed out pumpkins. That is all I know about him.

“Msibi once made mention of him in the past, referring to him as Knowledge, saying he is organising for him to get an albino in the Mhlanga area,” said Mr X.

Continuing his testimony, Mr X explained how days later, the police had descended on the premises where Msibi had practised. On this particular day, Msibi and another man had come to the garage and Mr X had asked for a lift from them back home. He said upon entering the vehicle, he was met by a putrid smell. When he opened the window, Msibi would close it.

“When we were about to arrive close to Msibi’s house, I asked if I could get out. We could see a lot of police there. Police were searching his yard and indumba. He went there and joined them and I watched from the street. They didn’t search his car and left soon thereafter,” Mr X said.  

Mr X said a few days later, he went to Msibi’s place to ask about what the police had wanted.

“On the smell in the car — Msibi said it was because they had been to Cullinan to fetch the body of the child [that day]. It was because they had been told by a traditional healer from KwaZulu-Natal that the rituals they had done would not work … The healer had said he wanted the skull of the child [to make their ritual work] and they went there to fetch the body and the rest of the skull.”

He told the court that on the day of the police search, they had neglected to search the car which had contained the girl’s body. Msibi said this was proof of the power of his muthi, he said.

Mr X was arrested and soon thereafter turned state witness, giving a voluntary statement where he confessed to his part in the killing.

Shabane was taken at gunpoint along with her 15-month-old nephew, Nkosikhona, from their home in Hlalanikahle in January 2018.

Nkosikhona had been mistaken for another child with albinism living in the same home. When the abductors discovered  their mistake, they tossed his body over a bridge along the N4. His decomposing body was found in a swamp. (Also see below, February 21, 2018 – webmaster FVDK)

The case continues. 

Source: Blood of murdered girl with albinism used for ‘cleansing’, says state witness

More background reports on the ritual murder of Gabisile Shabane

Warning:  Some readers may find the following articles disturbing because of their graphic contents (webmaster FVDK)

Albinism muti trial: Traditional healer’s second defence lawyer quits

The three men implicated in the killing of Gabisile Shabane and her nephew, Nkosikhona Ngwenya, in the dock of the high court sitting in Middelburg, Mpumalanga. 
Image: Naledi Shange/TimesLIVE

Published: March 3, 2021
By:  Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa

Whatever came out during consultations between a Legal Aid lawyer and the man alleged to have plotted and carried out the butchering of Gabisile Shabane was enough to make the lawyer make a U-turn on representing him in the case.

Shabane, a 13-year-old girl from Emalahleni (Witbank) with albinism, was kidnapped at gunpoint together with her 15-month-old nephew, Nkosikhona Ngwenya, from her family home in January 2018.

Her body was mutilated and some of her organs, including her genitals, ovaries, arms and head, were removed. Her killing was believed to have been muti-related.

Ngwenya was dumped in a swamp next to the N4 highway.

On Wednesday, following a two-hour consultation with traditional healer Thokozani Msibi, lawyer Werner Smit told the high court sitting in Middelburg that his mandate with Msibi had been terminated. He would not disclose the reasons for this.

Prosecutor Ntsika Mpolweni expressed his frustration.

Mpolweni told the court this was not the first time Msibi had changed a Legal Aid lawyer.

He said he was not sure whether this was a tactic being used by Msibi to delay the proceedings, adding that Legal Aid may not have another lawyer to offer him.

Judge Heinrich Brauckmann granted Smit’s application for withdrawal.

Msibi maintained he had not fired Smit.

“The first attorney I had, I did not terminate his mandate. At the last proceedings, he said he would attend to me after he had assisted someone else but he never came back to me,” said Msibi.

“With Mr Smit, I never terminated his mandate. We were just disagreeing on facts. I tell him this and he tells me something else. He is the one who I said he should tell the court he is not going to proceed with assisting me,” Msibi told the court.

Brauckmann said he hoped Msibi was not taking chances with the court.

“I am not going to take games. We are here to find the truth but if you are going to play games, this court is not going to take it,” he warned Msibi.

Outside court, a string of witnesses, including Gabisile’s mother and her sister, who is the mother of Nkosikhona, and a group of people from far as Swaziland had been waiting and hoping the matter would proceed.

Part of the prosecution team’s frustration stemmed from the fact that the witnesses from Swaziland had initially been scheduled to take the stand this week and return to their home country by Friday. The case, however, was postponed to Friday when it would be known whether Msibi would be granted another lawyer.

Mpolweni told the court Legal Aid had said the first two lawyers granted to him were his right but a third would simply be a privilege.

On Monday, the trial had also been delayed, but this was because the vehicle transporting Msibi to the court from Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria had broken down 40km from the court.

Msibi is an integral part in solving Shabane’s murder. Some of her body parts were allegedly found at his home days after she went missing.

He is set to be trialled alongside two other men, Knowledge Wezi Mhlanga and Mthobisi Brilliant Mkhize.

Another accused, Mfanasibili Gamedze, who like Msibi was originally from Swaziland, has since died. Gamedze was being held in police custody in Swaziland and died while awaiting extradition back to SA. The circumstances surrounding his death were not immediately disclosed but are expected to be addressed during the trial.

This matter has already seen two men jailed.

The first was Sabelo Khubeka. At the height of the search for Shabane and her nephew, after their disappearance in 2018, Khubeka had lied about having knowledge of the whereabouts of the children. He tried to extort money from their family when he demanded a ransom. He was traced to Vosloorus, arrested and upon questioning found to have no clue about the missing children. He was jailed for five years.

The second is Josiah Thubane, a qualified teacher-turned-struggling businessman. Thubane, who claimed to be haunted by his deeds, confessed to his part in killing Shabane, admitting it was a muti killing. He had allegedly been told that getting the body parts of a person with albinism could assist in boosting his struggling business.

He 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. He was handed two life terms for the killings.

Thubane said Ngwenya was an unintentional casualty in the matter. The 15-month-old was mistaken for another child in Shabane’s home who also had albinism. Once they had noticed their error in taking Ngwenya, he was dumped over a bridge on the N4 where he drowned in a river.

Shabane and Ngwenya’s bodies were found on February 20 2018.

Ngwenya’s body had already decomposed in the water. The post-mortem report said “no anatomical cause of death found”.

With Shabane, her post-mortem report concluded “cannot [be] determined” because of her missing organs.

Source: Albinism muti trial: Traditional healer’s second defence lawyer quits

Accused in case of murdered teen with albinism dies before trial

Published: March 1, 2021
By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa

Gabisile Shabane and her 15-month-old nephew were kidnapped and murdered in a muti-related killing in January 2018.  Image: SAPS

One of the people implicated in the murder of Emalahleni (Witbank) teenager Gabisile Shabane and her cousin Nkosikhona Ngwenya has died before going on trial.

“There was a fourth accused who we were hoping and praying we could extradite from Swaziland. But his counsel has since indicated that he passed on. He is the fourth accused in the matter,” said prosecutor Ntsika Mpolweni.

The circumstances surrounding Gamedze’s death were not immediately disclosed but are expected to be addressed during the trial.

Only two of the remaining three accused stood in the dock on Monday.

Mpolweni told the court the vehicle which had been transporting Thokozani Msibi to court from Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria had broken down about 40km from court.

Proceedings were postponed in his absence, with a new trial start date set for Wednesday.

Msibi, a traditional healer, was believed to be the mastermind behind the killing of Shabane. Some of her body parts were found at his home. Like Gamedze, he was originally from Swaziland but has since resided and practised in Emalahleni.

The other accused are Knowledge Wezi Mhlanga and Mthobisi Brilliant Mkhize, both from Emalahleni.

This matter has already seen two men jailed. The first was Sabelo Khubeka. At the height of the search for Shabane and her nephew, after their disappearance in 2018, Khubeka had lied about having knowledge of the whereabouts of the children. He tried to extort money from their family as he demanded a ransom.

At the time, Brig Leonard Hlathi said a team investigating the matter turned their focus to tracking down Khubeka who was traced to Vosloorus in Gauteng. He was arrested and upon questioning found to have no clue about the missing children. He was jailed for five years.

The second is Josiah Thubane, a qualified teacher-turned-struggling businessman. Thubane, who claimed to be haunted by his deeds, confessed to his part in killing Shabane, admitting it was a muti killing.

He 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. He was handed two life terms for the killings.

He clarified that Ngwenya was an unintentional casualty in the matter. The 15-month-old was mistaken for another child in Shabane’s home who also had albinism.

Once they had noticed their error in taking Ngwenya, he was dumped over a bridge on the N4 where he drowned in a river.

The state’s case is that Thubane had been introduced to the so-called powerful muti-man Msibi by Mhlanga, along with his business partner.

Thubane and his business partner were accompanied by Mhlanga to go for a consultation with Msibi. At the time, Gamedze was also present.

In his confession, Thubane told the court he was advised by Msibi to bring him a person with albinism to boost his struggling rental property business.

Josiah Thubane who admitted to the killing of Shabane and baby Nkosikhona in the dock in Middleburg.  Image: File/Thulani Mbhele  

Msibi had known of Gabisile and another child living in the same home who had albinism and apparently informed them of this.

Thubane, Mhlanga, Msibi and Gamedze later met to hash out and execute the kidnapping plan. They broke into the Shabane household in Hlalanikahle in January 2018, pointed firearms at the family and fled with the children.

Gabisile’s body was later found in a shallow grave in Cullinan, Pretoria. Several of her body parts, including her genitals, heart, liver and left arm had been dismembered.

Delivering her judgment back in 2019, judge Segopotje Mphahlele said the crimes were clearly planned.

“He admitted that when they finally found the children, he … knew his dream of having a flourishing business was about to be realised,” she said of Thubane.

Mphahlele said the children had suffered a gruesome death at the hands of unscrupulous men who were blinded by greed and the love of money.

“People living with albinism face discrimination and stigma. They face a more severe form of violence. The attacks have several root causes, including ignorance, long-standing stigma and the most disgusting is the harmful practices emanating from manifestations in some beliefs in witchcraft,” ruled Mphahlele.

On counts of housebreaking and kidnapping, Thubane was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on each. On the double murder charges, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for each and to three years for possession of a firearm.

The now deceased Gamedze had also played in integral part in Shabane’s killing. She had been kept at his home after her kidnapping and it is believed that it was he, Msibi and another person, Thulani Thobela, who butchered the girl. 

Thobela turned state witness after his arrest.

The state says that after Shabane was dismembered and buried, Msibi had performed rituals on Mhlanga, Mkhize — their driver, Thubane and his business partner Fantjie Khumalo.

Mkhize was alleged to have been brought on board after Shabane’s kidnapping.

Days later, Msibi, Gamedze and another national from Eswatini returned to the plot where Shabane’s body was buried in a shallow grave. This time, they removed her head and arms and reburied her in the same grave.

After an extensive search, Shabane and Ngwenya’s bodies were found on February 20 2018. Ngwenya’s body had already decomposed in the water. The postmortem report said: “no anatomical cause of death found”. 

With Shabane, her postmortem report concluded “cannot [be] determined” because of her missing organs.

Source: Accused in case of murdered teen with albinism dies before trial

And:

Double life sentence for teacher who killed teen with albinism for muti

Published: August 23, 2019
By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa

A man with a degree in teaching who admitted to abducting and killing a teen living with albinism, believing the deed would boost his business, was handed two life sentences by a Mpumalanga court on Friday. 

Themba Thubane appeared in the Middelburg High Court after pleading guilty to seven charges.  

Thubane and accomplices broke into the Shabane household in Hlalanikahle‚ Mpumalanga, in 2018.   

The group kidnapped Gabisile Shabane, 13, and her 15-month-old cousin Nkosikhona Ngwenya. Both children were then killed and Gabisile’s body was later found with body parts missing. Her killing was muti-related.

Judge Segopotje Mphahlele said, in handing down judgment, that the crimes were clearly planned.

“The accused and … the others took a decision to travel to Witbank to the house where they could find a person living with albinism. [An accomplice] provided them with the layout of the house. They further knew that the people who were living in that house were the most vulnerable. It was an old lady, her daughter and some children,” she said.

Mphahlele revealed that an axe was used to break the windows to gain entry into the house. The judge said Thubane, in his plea, claimed he had forgotten some details of the robbery, but recalled some. 

“He admitted that when they finally found the children, he … knew his dream of having a flourishing business was about to be realised,” she said.

Mphahlele said the children had suffered a gruesome death at the hands of unscrupulous men who were blinded by greed and the love of money.

“The people living with albinism face discrimination and stigma. They face a more severe form of violence.”  

“The attacks have several root causes, including ignorance, longstanding stigma and the most disgusting is the harmful practices emanating from manifestations in some beliefs in witchcraft,” ruled Mphahlele.  

On counts of house breaking and kidnapping, Thubane was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on each. On the double murder charges, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for each and three years for possession of a firearm. 

Mphahlele said the behaviour of the accused showed a lack of remorse.

“The behaviour of the accused at all material times is indicative of the lack of repentance. Genuine remorse must be distinguished from self pity…” added Mphahlele. 

Clapping and joyful cheers could be heard moments after the judgment was handed down.  

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

Source: Double life sentence for teacher who killed teen with albinism for muti

And:

Teacher to be sentenced for muti murder of albino teen, baby

A Mpumalanga teacher has admitted to killing for muti. File photo.  
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

Published: August 20, 2019
By: Nonkululeko Njilo  – TimesLIVE, South Africa

A teacher in Mpumalanga who admitted killing a teen who had albinism for muti, as well as her baby cousin, will soon learn how long he will spend behind bars. 

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

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

Provincial NPA spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said the man admitted to killing Gabisile Shabane, 13, for muti purposes, along with her 15-month-old cousin Nkosikhona Ngwenya.

The two children were abducted from a home in Vosman near Emalahleni on 28 January 2018.

The toddler did not have albinism and was killed by drowning after being thrown into a river.

Police said in a statement the court heard through Thubane’s guilty plea that Gabisile was killed before being decapitated and chopped up for her body parts. Her remains were  buried in a shallow grave at Cullinan in Gauteng.

Thubane’s co-accused, Thokozani Msibi‚ Brilliant Mkhize and Knowledge Mhlanga, have pleaded not guilty and are expected to return to court on May 25, 2020. The case is set down until June 12. The trio remain in custody.

More than a year since their 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: Teacher to be sentenced for muti murder of albino teen, baby

And:

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

Gabisile Shabani and her 15-month-old nephew were taken from their home in Witbank at gunpoint. File Photo  Image: SAPS

Published: October 11, 2018
By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa

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

And:

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

Published: August 14, 2018
By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa

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 he‚ 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

And:

‘They know where her mom lives’ – Trio linked to murder of albino girl denied bail

Published: April 17, 2018
By: Tankiso Makhetha – TimesLIVE, South Africa 

The three men accused of the kidnapping and murder of a 13-year-old girl with albinism have been denied bail in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court.

Thokozani Msibi‚ Brilliant Mkhize‚ Themba Thubane and Knowledge Mhlanga allegedly broke into the Shabane household in Hlalanikahle‚ Mpumalanga‚ on January 28‚ where they kidnapped and later murdered Gabisile Shabane and her 15-month-old cousin‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya.

Msibi was arrested in February and denied bail in the same court on March 6.

A fifth suspect‚ Thulani Thobela turned state witness following his arrest.

In an affidavit he drafted‚ Thobela alleged that Gabisile was kidnapped and murdered with the purpose of harvesting her body parts by Msibi‚ Thubane and Mhlanga.

Magistrate Darleen Venter said by granting bail to the trio‚ it could jeopardise investigations as Shabane’s missing body parts are yet to be discovered.

“Insofar as the intimidating witnesses‚ the court knows that the mother of the deceased‚ who is also an eyewitness in the matter‚ has been attending court proceedings and has been seen by the applicants. They know where she lives and that could endanger her life‚” Venter said.

“If indeed the applicants know where the remaining body parts are‚ they may go back and destroy them‚ rendering the state’s case weak and interfering with investigations.”

She said the applicants failed to show the court that the state’s case was weak in light of the evidence brought against them.

Venter postponed the matter until June 1 for further investigations.

It was heard in court that Thubane and Mhlanga‚ who allegedly run an illegal private college‚ sought the help of Msibi – traditional healer – in making their business flourish.

Shabane’s remains were found in a shallow grave in Cullinan‚ east of Pretoria‚ while Ngwenya was found on the side of the N4 Highway where he was dumped after being killed.

Source: ‘They know where her mom lives’ – Trio linked to murder of albino girl denied bail

And:

Three more suspects arrested for abduction, murder of Witbank children

Published: March 1, 2018
By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa

Police have arrested three more people in connection with the kidnapping and murder of two children in Witbank‚ Mpumalanga.

The 13-year-old girl Gabisile Shabani was an albino and was believed to have been murdered for her body parts. Her 15-month-old nephew‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ was allegedly mistaken for another child from the same household who also has albinism.

The arrests happened on Wednesday‚ bringing the total number of suspects to four‚ said Brigadier Leonard Hlathi. He said the trio‚ Thulani Thobela‚ aged 26‚ Donie Cavin Boshielo‚ aged 22‚ and Mthobisi Brilliant Mkhize‚ aged 26‚ had already appeared in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court.

“Police have previously reported that certain men broke into a house on 28 January 2018‚ and kidnapped the above-mentioned children. A manhunt for the suspects and a search to locate the children were instituted‚ which led to the arrest of the first suspect‚ Thokozani Msibi‚ aged 32‚ who has already appeared at the same court‚” said Hlathi.

“Through further probe‚ police also managed to locate the lifeless bodies of the two children at Cullinan and along the N4 Highway respectively.”

Gabisile’s mutilated body had been buried in a shallow grave while Nkosikhona had been thrown into a swamp. The trio will be joining Msibi in the dock on March 6. They face charges of murder and two counts of kidnapping.

Source: Three more suspects arrested for abduction, murder of Witbank children

And:

Policeman reveals horror he found at sangoma’s premises

Published: February 28, 2018
By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa

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

And: 

Suspect appears in connection with kidnapped and murdered Witbank children

Published: February 21, 2018
By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa

On Wednesday morning‚ police discovered the bodies of two children in separate locations‚ believed to be those of the missing children‚ Gabisile Shabani and Nkosikhona Ngwenya. 
Image: EMalahleni Residents/Community – Municipality via Facebook

The suspect arrested in connection with the kidnapping of two children who were taken from their home in Hlalanikahle and later found dead appeared in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

“He was remanded in custody pending a bail application which is scheduled for February 26 2018‚” said Brigadier Leonard Hlathi.

“Thokozani Msibi was not asked to plead. The investigation regarding further suspects is underway‚” he added. Msibi was arrested on Tuesday night and charged with kidnapping.

Additional charges of murder could soon be added‚ Hlathi said.

On Wednesday morning‚ police discovered the bodies of two children in separate locations‚ believed to be those of the missing children‚ Gabisile Shabani and Nkosikhona Ngwenya.

They were reported missing on January 28 after three armed gunmen broke into their home and forcibly removed them.

At the time‚ Shabani’s mother told TimesLIVE that she believed the people who took her daughter and grandson were not South African nationals because of their accent when they spoke English.

Another relative said they believed Gabisile had been taken because she was an albino. They also told TimesLIVE they believed the toddler‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ had been mistaken for another toddler who was in the house at the time who also suffered from albinism.

Hlathi said one of the children’s 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.

Hlathi would not immediately confirm whether any of the two bodies had been mutilated.

Msibi lives in the same neighbourhood as the children.

As news of his arrest and the discovery of the children’s bodies spread‚ community members gathered at his house‚ wanting to torch it.

“We spoke to the community members and told them that destroying the house will amount to destroying evidence‚” said Hlathi.

Meanwhile the community began to mobilise in support of the family‚ arranging a protest ao the courthouse for Msibi’s next appearance.

How many will take part in a peaceful march when the suspects who murdered Gabisile Shabani and Nkosikhona Ngwenya…Posted by EMalahleni Residents/Community – Municipality on Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Source: Suspect appears in connection with kidnapped and murdered Witbank children

Note of the webmaster: Also see my post dated August 23, 2019, South African teacher admits to killing teen with albinism for ritual purposes

And: 

Bodies found believed to be those of abducted Witbank children

Published: February 21, 2018
By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa

Two bodies believed to be those of a little 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.

This is a developing story.

Source: Bodies found believed to be those of abducted Witbank children

And:

Identikit released of alleged Witbank child-snatcher

Published: February 1, 2018
By:  Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa

Gabisile Shabani and her 15-month-old nephew were taken from their home in Witbank at gunpoint. Image: SAPS

Police have released an identikit of one of the men suspected to be behind the kidnapping of two children in Witbank at the weekend.

The man was believed to have been part of a three-man gang that forcefully entered a house in Hlalanikahle‚ Witbank‚ and made off with Gabisile Shabani and her 15-month-old nephew at gunpoint.

An identikit of a man suspected to be involved in the kidnapping of two children in Witbank
An identikit of a man suspected to be involved in the kidnapping of two children in Witbank 
Image: Supplied 

TimesLIVE had on Wednesday spoken to the family who said they believed that all three attackers were foreign nationals.

By Thursday‚ the police investigations were yet to lead any results.

Community members‚ mostly comprising of school children embarked on a march calling for the release of the two child

“Gabisile is living with albinism and it is suspected that the three men who broke into their home in Hlalanikahle‚ also targeted Nkosikhona (the toddler) whom they misttok for another baby in the family who also lives with albinism‚” she said in a statement.

“Cases of kidnapping of people living with albinism are rife in Tanzania‚ and lately in KwaZulu-Natal – and there has been a surge of cases of kidnapping in general here in Emalahleni. But we suspect that the kidnapping of these two children is related to superstitious belief. I hope that police will apprehend those behind the kidnapping‚” Ntshalintshali said.

“The false belief that their body parts have extraordinary powers must be eradicated‚ albinism is a genetically inherited condition‚” she added.

Anna said she had noticed a man watching her daughter 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 and her one-year-old nephew.

In the early hours of Sunday morning‚ the 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 been sleeping on her bed while her twin sister‚ Khanyisile‚ slept in another room with another of Anna’s grandchildren.

“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.”

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 if 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.

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

Source: Identikit released of alleged Witbank child-snatcher

And:

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

Published: February 1, 2018
By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa

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.”

Image: SA Community Crime Watch 

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

And:

Witbank cousins snatched in armed attack

Published: January 31, 2018
By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa

A pair of cousins from Hlalanikahle in Witbank were kidnapped during an armed attack at their home at the weekend‚ police said on Wednesday.

The two are still missing. According to police‚ a 13-year-old girl and her 15-month-old cousin were taken by a three-man gang in the middle of the night on Sunday.

“According to information at police disposal‚ the trio broke a window and gained entry into the dining room of the house‚ where a 50-year-old woman is staying with her children and grandchildren‚” police said in a statement.

“Upon hearing the noise of the breaking window‚ the woman and her 18-year-old daughter came out of their rooms to investigate what was happening. They were threatened at gunpoint to be silent. The men then took two children from different rooms and vanished into the darkness.”

After the gunmen left‚ the two women headed out of their house‚ trying to raise the alarm with their neighbours.

Community members searched the area while the police were called.

“Nothing else was taken from the house except the two children whose whereabouts still remain unknown‚” said police.

A case of housebreaking and kidnapping has been opened.

Source: Witbank cousins snatched in armed attack

Zimbabwe – Editorial comment: combined effort needed to thwart ritual murders

A recent surge in ritual murders of children has shocked Zimbabwe. Within a short period, three children were murdered for ritualistic purposes: Tapiwa Makore (7) of Murehwa and the two Benza cousins Delan (7) and Melissa (7) of central Mutasa. I have extensively covered the murder of Tapiwa. The following days I will provide more details about the murder of Delan and Melissa.

The child sacrifices have led to many reactions. One of these comments follows here. It contains a plea for tougher measures for the culprits, even the capital punishment. There is much to say about (and against) the death penalty but let us know focus here on the editorial comments. 
To be cont’d.
(webmaster FVDK)

EDITORIAL COMMENT : Combined effort needed to thwart ritual murders

Published: April 27, 2021
By: The Herald, Zimbabwe

The murder of three children for what appears to be ritual purposes in just seven months is a worrying dark cloud over Zimbabwe and requires action at both community level and among a number of sections of society.

These are not the first such killings, perhaps just the best publicised for some time since the victims were all seven-years-old and the police moved swiftly and effectively to track down the suspects, with other family members among those arrested and remanded.

There is a superstitious belief among a minority that killing a child or another young person in a particular way, which can be equated to torture before the murder, and then processing certain body parts in a set-down manner will create, increase and maintain wealth.

This is nonsense, and with the competent homicide investigations now in progress it must be becoming obvious that initiating such a killing is totally unlikely to bring anything, but a very long jail sentence for the killers.

Although the death penalty is still on the books for aggravated murder by an adult man, and aggravating circumstances do not come more aggravating than pre-meditated murder of a child for financial gain, the fact remains that Zimbabwe does not implement death penalties any more, and instead life imprisonment is substituted.

There are already many positive developments that can help to end this practice of ritual killings. It is now clear that communities are willing to take action, rather than quiver in fear and keep quiet. 

People are not afraid to stand up and be counted and are willing to pass on whatever information they have to the police. 

In fact one of the major problems now in such investigations is that some are passing on confusing fifth-hand hearsay, which still needs to be properly investigated, rather than hard fact of what they saw. But homicide detectives are trained to separate the chaff from the hard fact, and better that too many try and help than too few.

A second problem is more serious, and has already been mentioned by legislators, including recently Senator Michael Nyambuwa who visited the Mutasa families. 

We need investigations to be pursued to bring the person who gave the ritual advice and who might well have promised to process any body parts.

Even if they did not initiate the killings, and accept some sort of lie when organs are presented, they are still involved in a murder and can be tried as an accomplice. 

N’angas still have a lot of respect and are feared by some, so it can be difficult to get a name, let alone evidence. 

Obviously the actual killers believe in the powers of the n’anga they are using; even in the days when the killers were hanged they refused to give the name and walked silently to the gallows.

Here communities need to encourage people to come forward. There will be a lot of vague and wrong information, but police can then run down the leads. The point is that a person ready to apply their traditional learning to criminal purposes cannot be totally unknown in an area.

The Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association can also become more involved, first by teaching very clearly that such killings do not create wealth, only misery, and then encouraging people to come forward. 

In fact traditional healers in a particular area might well have a better idea of which one of their number has turned to the dark side than the average lay person, and should be encouraged to pass on this information.

Traditional leaders, who have already made their abhorrence of such crimes very clear, can also go further in prevention, as well as doing what they do now by calling on their communities to assist after a crime. 

The ideal is to have a murder trial with both the killers and the n’anga who offered advice all in the dock, with sufficiently good evidence that all can be convicted and then go to jail together. 

Detectives chosen for such investigations might need to be carefully selected; there is still a significant number of superstitious people, and even some Christian churches who worry about the creativity of evil, although this is a heretical belief in mainstream Christianity.

Such severely aggravating murders also stress the need for Zimbabwe to upgrade its sentencing laws for murder, now that we have effectively abandoned the death penalty as an active punishment. 

The reforms need to give judges setting sentences more discretion, and as we have argued before we need a system of parole.

In his latest clemency order, the President, with Cabinet consent and what must have been detailed advice, in effect set 15 years behind bars as the absolute minimum for a life sentence. This is not unreasonable and is the effective minimum period of incarceration in many jurisdictions for an “ordinary” murder.

However, countries that have formally abolished the death penalty and substituted life imprisonment usually allow the sentencing judge to make a recommendation over the minimum term in each case. 

In most cases this is whatever the standard is in that country before parole can be considered, frequently 15 years. 

But where there are aggravating circumstances the judge can set a longer minimum term before release can even be considered and, in exceptionally aggravating circumstances, can even call for a “whole life” sentence, or “life imprisonment without any possibility of parole”, as some American states word it. 

Because the killer is not executed this can always be adjusted later if perceptions change or new evidence emerges, but meanwhile the deterrent is in place.

A parole system also means that a released lifer is monitored for the rest of their lives, forbidden to do certain jobs, enter certain businesses and possess anything on a list of prohibited items, such as anything that could be used as a weapon.

And parents clearly need to be protective. This is always difficult, of deciding where do you draw the lines. But one general rule is safety in numbers and having older children helping to shepherd younger children.

We have all seen gaggles of schoolchildren who live near each other moving as a group and automatically having some older teenagers in that group.

Admittedly a lot of this breaks down, as in the latest two cases, when relatives are suspected to be involved, people who are normally trusted. 

But every bit helps and at least there are witnesses if a child is whisked away by an uncle or aunt. 

That is precisely how the police made their initial arrests in the latest two child killings, by following up reports from people who saw something that in retrospect needed to be told.

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT : Combined effort needed to thwart ritual murders

Zimbabwe: ritual killings of kids on the rise following Tapiwa Makore murder

The Makore murder case has become one of Zimbabwe’s most notorious ritual killing cases in the country’s recent history. I reported extensively on this revolting crime in September and October last year. See e.g. my postings dated September 24, ‘Zimbabwe: Murewa boy murdered in ritual killing, body parts missing’; October 1, ‘Full details of Murewa ritual killing revealed‘; October 2, ‘Murewa ritual killing: President Mnangagwa decries evil act‘; October 3, ‘Murehwa ritual killer speaks about the Tapiwa Makore murder in his own words‘; October 4, ‘One week after the ritual murder of 7-year old Tapiwa Makore‘; October 12, ‘Rtual murder unites nation‘ and ‘Murehwa ritual killing: N’anga speaks on Murehwa boy’s murder‘; October 18, ‘Murehwa ritual murder: Police quiz n’anga‘. 
My last posting on this murder case dates from October 26, 2020, ‘Latest news on the ritual murder of Tapiwa Makore‘. After that date more has been published on the murder of the 7-year old boy. However, I ceased temporarily covering this case. I will post an update in the coming days.

More ritual murder cases have been reported recently whereas – as I have said repeatedly – discovered or reported cases are just the tip of the iceberg. I fear that most cases remain unknown to the outside world, even within the country.

The following report is worrisome. It confirms a disturbing trend which, unfortunately, I already signaled in February: Zimbabwe: a surge in ritual murders?

According to the report presented below, ritual killings of kids are on the rise after the Tapiwa Makore ritual murder. To listen to the report, click on the link below the screenshot. More in the next few days (webmaster FVDK).

Screenshot – click the link below (‘Source’) to watch the video (2:19 minutes).
Zinatha stands for Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association 

Source: Ritual Killings of Kids On The Rise Following Tapiwa Makore Murder

Published: April 22, 2021
By: ZimEye, The Truth & the Future

‘Marange avenging spirit (‘Ngozi’) punishes four families for ritual murder committed in 1992′ (Zimbabwe)

To better understand the following reports I will first provide some background information on the phenomenon of ‘Ngozi’, or avenging spirits, in the Shona community.

Dr Terrence Musanga, an authority on the subject, explains it as follows:

“In Shona cosmology, once “ngozi” is committed, it has to be recompensed in order for restorative justice to occur between individuals, families, and the community in general. However, failure to appease “ngozi” results in inexplicable misfortunes such as sicknesses or eventual death or deaths of the person or persons who would have committed the “ngozi.”

Also, Timothy Myambo is the author of an interesting book on Ngozi, entitled ‘A Biblical Evaluation of the Avenging Spirits (Ngozi): A case of the Shona people of Zimbabwe‘ (2010) which is also useful for better understanding the phenomenon. This is what he says about ‘Ngozi’, the avenging spirits:

“Avenging spirits, commonly known as ngozi by the Shona people in Zimbabwe, are one of the most feared and mysterious spiritual manifestations among African people particularly the Shona. Denying the existence of ngozi would be comparable to burying one’s head in the sand and ignoring reality (source: A Biblical Evaluation of the Avenging Spirits (Ngozi): A case of the Shona people of Zimbabwe: A pastoral response).

The main reason for posting here a case of ‘ngozi’ forces – the first article below, entitled ‘Castration the ultimate price for ngozi‘ – is because it relates to a ritual murder committed nearly 30 years ago. Subsequently, in order to demonstrate that this case is not an isolated case of ‘avenging spirits’, I have added a second, recent case, however, not related to a murder for ritual purposes. Ngozi forces are not limited to avenge a ritual murder. A third case, presented here, again refers to ngozi seeking to avenge a ritual murder, committed some 45 years ago (in 2013, when the case was reported).

A fourth case, ‘Ngozi Haunts Marange Family‘ (dated March 6, 2021), allegedly refers to a ritual murder too. Unfortunately, the page is not accessible for technical reasons. As soon as it will be restored I will include the corresponding link here.

To conclude here a final remark: I do not pretend to know more about ‘ngozi’ than the average reader. Therefor, I have no opinion or judgement on this phenomenon. The focus of this site is on ritualistic activities based on superstition and motivated by an unstoppable greed for power or wealth and which are a violation of people’s human rights.That’s why I am presenting these reports.

Warning: the following articles contain graphic details which may disturb the readers.(webmaster FVDK).

Castration the ultimate price for ngozi

Published: February 26, 2021
By: The Manica Post –  Tendai Gukutikwa, Post Correspondent

Four Marange families are at the mercy of an avenging spirit that is allegedly castrating its victims and killing them soon afterwards.

The avenging spirit is now demanding 50 beasts as compensation from the five families. 

The Manica Post understands that male members from the Mukanjari, Denga, Ndova and Mauchaza families who have fallen victim to the avenging spirit woke up with blisters all over their bodies. 

Suddenly their private parts fell off, leading to their instant deaths.

The spirit of Ruwizhi Makondo Mashato, who was allegedly murdered 29 years ago, is claiming that this is how he was killed by members of the aforementioned families. 

Through manifestations on various members of the families, Mashato claims that his private organs were chopped off by his five neighbours before his head was cut off for ritual purposes.

His body was later dumped in a well.

Two of the alleged murderers – Dunmore Mukanjari and Dorcus Ndova – are still alive; while the rest – Manzinde Denga, Godfrey Denga and Agnes Mauchaza are now dead.

Mauchaza committed suicide a few years ago after being tormented by Mashato’s spirit.

The matter has since spilled into Chief Marange’s court and Mukanjari has confessed that he did take part in Mashato’s murder. 

Ndova, however, insists that she had nothing to do with the murder. She says she only witnessed the crime. 

However, the avenging spirit claims that Ndova held the dish that collected his blood as the gruesome murder was being committed in 1992.

Speaking to The Manica Post, Dorcas Ndova’s nephew Takesure Chadambuka said his family is going through hell due to Mashato’s avenging spirit.

“We need her (Ndova) to address this issue as a matter of urgency before we perish like the Denga family. The Denga homestead has been turned into a grave yard. 

“Manzinde Denga and his son Godfrey were part of the gang that murdered Mashato. It is so scary because we do not know who is next. My brother died last year in December because of this avenging spirit,” said Chadambuka.

Following Mukanjari’s confession, Chief Marange said the matter needs to be handed over to the police.

“In matters like these, both the traditional and criminal courts should be involved. The perpetrators need to appease the avenging spirit and serve jail terms upon their conviction,” said the traditional leader.

Veresy Mutungwazi, who married into the Mukanjari family, said she has lost five children to the avenging spirit. 

She said her late sons all woke up feeling weak and with blisters all over their bodies. 

Their private organs fell off before their sudden deaths.

“I am only left with two children and I fear for their lives if nothing is done. I pray that someone will knock some sense into my father-in-law’s head so that he appeases this spirit. It is not fair to lose my children because of someone’s evil deeds. 

“After my first child’s death, we all thought he had succumbed to a rare disease. But eyebrows were raised when the next child died in the same manner a few months later. After the death of my second child, Mashato’s spirit began manifesting and revealing all these details. The spirit has threatened to wipe off the entire Mukanjari family unless it is appeased,” said Mutungwazi.

Mercy Nyaude, who also married into the Mukanjari family, said two of her children have also died in the same manner.

“Some of the family members died after bleeding from their private organs. Their private organs were mysteriously chopped off, and then they died.

“Mashato’s spirit says he suffered excruciating pain when his private organ were cut off by his murderers, hence all the victims should go through the same ordeal. 

“The avenging spirit is also targeting our livestock and most of our cattle and goats are now blind. Some of the livestock’s sexual reproductive organs also mysteriously disappeared,” said Nyaude.

Chief Marange said some of Mashato’s remains was recovered from the well it had been dumped for proper burial.  

However, Mashato’s son, Harrison, claims his family never received their late father’s remains for re-burial.

“I do not know where the remains were put when they were retrieved as I was very young then. We never buried my father’s remains. In fact, he is also manifesting in our family asking for closure on the case through a proper burial,” said Harrison.     

The chief is also unaware of how the remains were handled as he was not yet in office when they were retrieved from the well.

“I hear it took them three days to find some of my father’s remains. These men and women were our neighbours and we never suspected that they had a hand in our father’s disappearance,” said Harrison.

Source: Castration the ultimate price for ngozi

Related article (based on the previous article in The Manica Post):

Horror As Marange Avenging Spirit Castrates Killers’ Family Members

Distressed man (File photo)

Published: March 1, 2021
By: iHarare, Zimbabwe – Tim E. Ndoro

In what reads like the script from a Nollywood ‘African Movie,’ an angry avenging spirit, Ngozi in local parlance, is reported to be castrating and killing family members of the alleged killers.

iHarare has learned from the Manica Post that the avenging spirit is haunting four families from the Marange area in Manicaland. According to reports, the Ngozi is affecting the male members of the Mukanjari, Denga, Ndova and Mauchaza families. Those who are unfortunate to be attacked, are reported to have developed blisters all over their bodies. Once the blisters break out, their private parts mysteriously fall off and they die.

According to the families of those affected, the avenging spirit belongs to Ruwizhi Makondo Mashato who was allegedly murdered by members of the four families for ritual purposes in 1992. Mashato’s private parts were allegedly chopped off first before his head was decapitated by five of his neighbours.

Those who have been privy to the mysterious events claim that the avenging spirit said that Mashato felt excruciating pain when his privates were cut off. Because of this, all the victims of the avenging spirit must also feel the pain of losing their privates before they die.

Mashato’s avenging spirit is demanding 50 beasts as compensation from the four families.

The neighbours who are alleged to have killed Mashato 29 years ago are Manzinde Denga and his son Godfrey Denga, Agnes Mauchaza, Dunmore Mukanjari and Dorcus Ndova. Only the last two, Mukanjari and Ndova are still alive. Mauchaza is said to have committed suicide after being tormented by the Ngozi.

Mukanjari already confessed to the murder when he appeared before traditional leader Chief Marange. Ndova on the other hand disputed taking part in the murder. She is claiming that she only witnessed the event but did not participate. The avenging spirit, on the other hand, is saying Ndova is the one who held the dish that was used to collect his blood during the horrific murder.

One of Dorcas Ndova’s relatives Takesure Chadambuka is begging his aunt to come clean on the matter. Chadambuka told the Manica Post: 

“We need her (Ndova) to address this issue as a matter of urgency before we perish like the Denga family. The Denga homestead has been turned into a graveyard.

“Manzinde Denga and his son Godfrey were part of the gang that murdered Mashato. It is so scary because we do not know who is next. My brother died last year in December because of this avenging spirit,”

Veresy Mutungwazi, who married into the Mukanjari family told the publication that she has already lost 5 children to the avenging spirit.

“I am only left with two children and I fear for their lives if nothing is done. I pray that someone will knock some sense into my father-in-law’s head so that he appeases this spirit. It is not fair to lose my children because of someone’s evil deeds.

“After my first child’s death, we all thought he had succumbed to a rare disease. But eyebrows were raised when the next child died, in the same manner, a few months later. After the death of my second child, Mashato’s spirit began manifesting and revealing all these details. The spirit has threatened to wipe off the entire Mukanjari family unless it is appeased,” said Mutungwazi.

Following Mukanjari’s confession, Chief Marange said that the police need to be involved as well.

“In matters like these, both the traditional and criminal courts should be involved. The perpetrators need to appease the avenging spirit and serve jail terms upon their conviction,” said the traditional leader.

Mashato’s son, Harrison commented on the matter saying,

“I hear it took them three days to find some of my father’s remains. These men and women were our neighbours and we never suspected that they had a hand in our father’s disappearance,”

Source: Horror As Marange Avenging Spirit Castrates Killers’ Family Members

Then, the second case:

Drama As Avenging Spirit Demands 5 Virgins, 75 Cattle…36 Years After Businessman Was Murdered

Avenging Spirit Demands 5 Virgins, 75 Cattle…36 Years Later

The late businessman, Costa Kafikira (Image Credit: The Manica Post/ The Weekender/ Zimpapers Digital)

Published: December 12, 2020
By: iHarare, Zimbabwe – Vincent Masikati

The biblical phrase, “the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the sons” has become a dark reality for five families from Nyanga as an avenging spirit is demanding compensation for a murder that was committed 36 years ago. The avenging spirit (Ngozi) is demanding 75 head of cattle as well as 5 virgins.

iHarare has learned from the Manica Post that the avenging spirit of the late businessman Costa Kafikira is seeking justice from the families of the 5 men who allegedly murdered him. Kafikira is alleged to have been killed by his then neighbours, Willard Sakupwanya, Charles Fombe, Tsakadzai Mautsi and Tambuzwa Matseketsa in 1984. The fifth neighbour has been identified only as Benyu.

The five are alleged to have conspired to murder Kafikira by poisoning his alcohol. They then robbed him of his valuables and dumped his body near the Gairezi River. All of the alleged perpetrators are now late except for Charles Fombe.

Kafikira’s spirit is now manifesting on Tambudzwa Matseketsa’s daughter-in-law, Riona. Riona is reported to be now dressing and speaking like the late Kafikira.

Riona Matseketsa dressed like the late businessman Costa Kafikira who is reported to be manifesting on her

Kafikira’s nephew Paul Dzinduwa narrated how his uncle had been brutally murdered.

“When my uncle left home the day he was last seen, he was dressed in the clothes Riona came wearing.

“We searched for him for years and could not find him. What hurts most is that the killers were part of the search team back then. They would mislead us knowing very well where they had dumped my uncle’s remains.”

On the issue of compensation, Dzinduwa said that his family would abide by the laws of the land and not accept the 5 virgins as the giving of a virgin girl for purposes of ‘kuripa Ngozi’ is a criminal offence in Zimbabwe. Dzinduwa, however, said, that the family is quite happy to accept the 75 head of cattle.

“The spirit is demanding a virgin and 15 beasts from each of the perpetrators’ families, thereby making it five girls and 75 beasts. We, however, stand guided by the laws of the land when it comes to compensation or appeasement of avenging spirits. We know that the appeasement of avenging spirits with girls, women or any human being was outlawed. All we pray for is justice to prevail so that our uncle rests in peace. We need justice.”

The Matseketsa family said that the matter needed to be dealt with urgently because their family members are dying in mysterious circumstances while others are battling for their lives. The late Matseketsa’s son, only identified as Matseketsa reinforced the point saying,

“We need to appease the avenging spirit and be at peace with the Kafikiras”

The other four families are yet to approach the Kafikira family.

Source: Drama As Avenging Spirit Demands 5 Virgins, 75 Cattle…36 Years After Businessman Was Murdered

The previous article was based on an article in The Manica Post, dated December 11, 2020:

Ngozi demands 5 virgins, 75 cattle

Nicholas Kafikira, the late businessman’s eldest son

Published: December 11, 2020
By: The Manica Post – Tendai Gukutikwa, Post Correspondent 

In a case that has left a Nyanga family at sixes and sevens, it is alleged that the avenging spirit of a businessman who was robbed and murdered by his five neighbours 36 years ago is demanding five virgins and 75 beasts as appeasement.

lt is said Costa Kafikira’s spirit is accusing his then neighbours in Tombo Village under Chief Saunyama — Willard Sakupwanya, Charles Fombe, Tsakadzai Mautsi, Tambuzwa Matseketsa and a Benyu of poisoning his alcohol, robbing and murdering him before dumping his body near Gairezi River.

Four of the alleged murderers are now late, save for Fombe.

Kafikira’s family says they stand guided by the laws of the land and will not accept human beings as appeasement for his loss of life.

They, however, will accept the 75 beasts.

The late businessman, Costa Kafikira

Said Kafikira’s nephew, Paul Dzinduwa, in an interview with The Weekender: “The spirit is demanding a virgin and 15 beasts from each of the perpetrators’ families, thereby making it five girls and 75 beasts. We, however, stand guided by the laws of the land when it comes to compensation or appeasement of avenging spirits. We know that the appeasement of avenging spirits with girls, women or any human being was outlawed. All we pray for is justice to prevail so that our uncle rests in peace. We need justice.”

It is said the avenging spirit is manifesting on Matseketsa’s daughter-in-law — Riona — who now dresses and speaks like the late Kafikira.

All this was revealed when the Matseketsa family recently approached the Kafikiras to chart the way forward.

Riona was clad in a pair or grey trousers, a red shirt and a tie. Kafikira’s relatives said the outfit resembles the clothes that Kafikira was last seen wearing.

Riona Matseketsa

“When my uncle left home the day he was last seen, he was dressed in the clothes Riona came wearing,” said Dzinduwa.

Kafikira was murdered in 1984 and his remains were discovered by herd boys three years later near Gairezi River.

His family identified him by his metal identity card and the family heirloom belt that was found near his skeleton.

“We searched for him for years and could not find him. What hurts most is that the killers were part of the search team back then. They would mislead us knowing very well where they had dumped my uncle’s remains,” said Dzinduwa.

The Matseketsas claimed that their family members are dying in unclear circumstances, while some are battling for their lives.

A Nyanga traditional healer, Sekuru Shingirai Mukotsanjera, advised them to appease Kafikira’s avenging spirit.

“Four family members have already died and the avenging spirit keeps telling us that more woes will befall the family. It is said my late father was one of Kafikira’s assailants and we cannot deny or accept the claim since he is now late. But if it is true, we are wallowing in poverty because of my father’s transgression.

“We need to appease the avenging spirit and be at peace with the Kafikiras,” narrated the late Matseketsa’s son, only identified as Matseketsa.

Kafirika’s eldest son, Nicholas Kafikira, said he was deprived of his father’s love and care by the killers as his father was murdered while he was still in his youth.

The matter is yet to be brought before Chief Saunyama’s court.

Kafikira said his family will take the matter to the chief’s court when the remaining four families approach them.

Source: Ngozi demands 5 virgins, 75 cattle

Then, the third case,

Ngozi demands compensation 45 years later

Published by The Manica Post on March 1, 2013, as reported by Ray Bande on Facebook

AFTER being murdered for ritual purposes by her husband almost 45 years ago, a Nyanga woman is now demanding reparations from her husband’s Mandikonza family in Nyanga.

The Mandikonza and Mavhunga families were left stunned at Chief Saunyama’s court in Nyatate area of Nyanga North last Friday when a female teenager possessed with the spirit of the late Tanganza Mavhunga demanded reparations and threatened to ruthlessly deal with the Mandikonzas.

The late Tanganza, who was married to the late Jack Mandikonza, manifested herself through a female teenager as she chronicled how she was cold-bloodedly murdered by her husband.

All hell broke loose recently when the possessed teenager walked for more than 10km from her home and went straight to sit in the ruins of the homestead where the deceased Jack Mandikonza used to stay with his late wife, Tanganza.

As she narrated Tanganza’s ordeal at the hands of her husband during the court session last Friday, the possessed teenager pledged to show the Mavhunga and Manikonza families the shallow grave where her remains were buried by her late husband.

“My relatives, you ought to know what happened. One day I packed my clothes and went away from Jack Mandikonza’s homestead. “As I was walking, about a few metres from the homestead, Jack followed me. He grabbed my hand and demanded that we should go back home. I refused. Since it was dark, he instantly took a knife and cut the lower parts of my breasts and went on to cut off my private parts.

“My relatives, I beg you not to touch anything that belongs to the Mandikonzas. My husband’s brothers Cosmas, Webster, Lazarus and Oliver bought cars and livestock after they used my body parts for rituals. “I will wreck havoc very soon in the Mandikonza family and I plead with you my relatives not to touch anything that belongs to the Mandikonza family.“

When you are ready, I can guide you to the place where Jack buried me near Nyanga Downs between two big rocks. That is where I have been lying since Jack murdered me. They made a fortune out of my blood, but I will deal with them,” fumed the possessed teenager.

The deceased woman’s aunt, who also attended the court session last Friday, said Jack Mandikonza was the one who later approached the Mavhunga family saying his wife Tanganza had disappeared.

“We were made to believe that Tanganza disappeared. In fact, it was Jack, the husband, who came to our elders in the Mavhunga family, saying his wife was nowhere to be seen. However, our fathers did not accept it and have always suspected foul play.“

For years, we were made to believe that Tanganza eloped to a Malawian lover and never came back. However, it seems as if chickens are coming home to roost because several unexplainable things have been happening in our family. She (Tanganza) appeared in my dreams recently bitterly complaining about our (Mavhunga family)’s silence over her disappearance,” she said.

In his ruling, Chief Saunyama adjourned the matter to next Friday after summoning the Mandikonza family representatives.

Source: Ngozi demands compensation 45 years later

Zimbabwe – Murehwa ritual murder: Police quiz n’anga

Another development in the sad saga of the ritualistic murder of the young, 7-year old Tapiwa Makore. It must be said that local authorities and notably the local police acted swiftly after the discovery of the victims’ mutilated body, on September 18. Even President Mnangagwa reacted on the muthi (muti) murder, condemning the heinous crime on September 25 (see my posting dated October 2, 2020).

It is believed by superstitious, wicked people that body parts which have been taken – from a living victim (!) – and processed in a particular way, by a traditional healer or witchdoctor (n’anga), that these ritualistic activities will enhance one’s power or wealth.

There is no place for such superstition and disrespect for human life in the year 2020 (or before that year). The rule of law must apply, suspects should be put on trial and judged by an independent judge. And more prevention should take place: through education.  

Warning: The following articles contain graphic details of the cruel murder (webmaster FVDK).

Murehwa ritual murder: Police quiz n’anga

Asst Comm Paul Nyathi

Published: October 16, 2020
By: The Herald, Zimbabwe – Investigations Editor

POLICE have picked up a traditional healer for questioning over the missing head of the seven-year-old Murehwa boy, Tapiwa Makore, suspected to have been murdered for ritual purposes.

Body parts taken in a ritual murder which occurred at Makore Village under Chief Mangwende, would have to be processed in particular ways, the superstitious believe, so that they bring good fortune and riches. 

Police started hunting for the traditional healer they believed was implicated in this killing soon after they arrested the two men they suspect were the actual killers. 

Only a torso and legs were recovered from the dismembered body, but the head is still missing.

In their investigations, police recovered the head of another child, a 12-year-old, in the same village, but think it may have been exhumed from a grave.

Although the police did not disclose the name of the traditional healer, they confirmed he was being questioned.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said police have established that they had been given a lot of misleading information on the death of the boy and people were hiding crucial information.

“We have realised that some people are not telling the truth and they are hiding crucial information. But we will surely get to the bottom of the matter and the truth will come out,” said Asst-Comm Nyathi.

Tapiwa was allegedly murdered for ritual purposes by his uncle Tapiwa Makore (Senior) who used his own domestic worker, Tafadzwa Shamba (40).

The boy was kidnapped in the family garden in the village. 

Shamba, a herdsman, and the boy’s uncle have since been arrested and taken to court facing murder charges.

They now await trial while in remand prison. They were remanded in custody to October 26 in absentia yesterday, as they are still assisting police with investigations.

Meanwhile, police have taken the head of a 12-year-old child recently found in the same village for forensic analysis.

There has been no report of another missing child in that age group, creating room for suspicion that the head could have been exhumed from a grave.

“The other head found in Makore village is now subject to forensic analysis. So far no report of a missing person falling in that category has been received by the police. We are still investigating that matter,” said Asst-Comm Nyathi.

During investigations, Shamba recently told detectives he killed the boy by cutting off the head with a knife in the dead of the night, while the boy’s uncle was holding a torch.

Shamba said after the alleged murder, he carried a black plastic bag containing the head and the dismembered body while his employer, who is the boy’s uncle, carried another bag containing the arms and legs.

He led the team of detectives to the uncle’s homestead where he said he fed the boy, drugged him with kachasu and locked him up in a room for hours.

Shamba said he met the boy’s uncle around midnight and took the boy to a nearby mountain, where they allegedly killed him. 

“Around midnight, we opened the door and I carried the boy, who was still in deep slumber to a mountain in the village. Mr Makore carried the knives and the plastic bags. While here (in the mountain), I pressed the boy to the ground and cut off his head with a sharp knife, while his uncle was holding a torch for lighting.

“I also cut off the hands and legs, but we packed the parts in different plastic bags. I carried the one with the torso and the head while Mr Makore carried another one containing the legs and hands,” he said.

At the scene, investigators saw human waste, believed to have been excreted by the boy during the murder.

Shamba told detectives that he cleaned the scene of the blood and set the grass on fire to destroy evidence.

He said while walking back to Makore’s homestead, he felt the load was becoming heavier before dumping the torso near Mr Summer Murwira’s homestead.

While at Makore’s homestead, Shamba said he was instructed to put the head in one of the rooms, which he did.

The following day, Shamba said he dumped the arms and legs at a nearby grave as police investigations were intensifying.

Source: Murehwa ritual murder: Police quiz n’anga

More on the same subject:

Pastor Charles Charamba Speaks Out On Murehwa Ritual Killing

Pastor Charles Charamba

Published: October 14, 2020
By: iHarare, Zimbabwe – Audrey L. Ncube 

Gospel musician Pastor Charles Charamba has condemned the killing of children for ritual purposes. The condemnation comes in the wake of the murder of a seven-year-old Murehwa boy, Tapiwa Makore,  for ritual purposes, allegedly by his uncle.

In an interview with Hmetro, Pastor Charamba decried the loss of young children as a result of heinous and evil actions for rituals and witchcraft purposes.

“The disappointing aspect in this account of Tapiwa from Murewa is that those men that wanted to be rich, wanted to be rich during this lockdown knowing that everyone in the world has been impoverished.

“They were led by that need to be rich when everything else around the world is stagnant, that is very evil,” Pastor Charamba said.

Pastor Charamba revealed that he is pained by the unfortunate killing of Tapiwa Makore for ritual purposes. He emphasized how the Bible talks about the sacredness of life.

“For me as a pastor, it is very unfortunate that we lost Tapiwa and others of his age but I am saying that life is sacred.

He explained it is painful and unfortunate that these killings are done by people very close to the children. He called on guardians to keep children safe and not to fall under the influence of superstition as it is an enemy of society.

“It is something that is very sad and very unfortunate because it is being done by people who are supposed to be trusted custodians of the children. They abuse their offices and also abuse their relationships with their victims.

“We are hoping that the Almighty guides us so that our society changes and improves when it comes to issues that have to do with trust.

“Above all, the way in which we people want money nowadays is not a good way at all and this is also being caused by what is known as superstition because what people usually regard as worshipping is not actually worshipping,” he said.


SourcePastor Charles Charamba Speaks Out On Murehwa Ritual Killing

More:

Murehwa Ritual Murder Details Emerge… Victim’s Uncle Wanted To Use Body Parts To Get Rich And For Horticulture Project

Tapiwa Makore Senior

Published: October 1, 2020
By: iHarare, Zimbabwe – Sharon Chirisa

Murehwa Ritual Murder Details… Victim’s Uncle Wanted To Get Rich 

The senseless murder of 7 year old Tapiwa Makore from Makore Village under Chief Mangwende, in Murehwa, left the whole country with a bitter taste in their mouths.

The whole country is still recovering from the heinous crime and never has been the pursuit of justice been swift and urgent before.

Tapiwa Makore was abducted while he was watching over his family’s garden from thieving monkeys, only for his mutilated corpse to turn up the next day, being ravaged by the Makore neighbors’ oblivious dogs.

A breakthrough emerged in the case, after the cattle herdman, Tafadzwa Shamba was arrested in connection with the murder, eventually leading to Tapiwa’s namesake and uncle, as being the mastermind behind the cold blooded killing.

The police were correct in treating it as a ritual murder, because that is what it turned out to be after further investigations.

Ritual murders are often accompanied by mutilation and the dismemberment of certain body parts which are believed to be the main ingredients for spells, this mostly includes the head, private parts, tongue and sometimes the eyes and limbs.

The reason behind Tapiwa Makore’s murder is more shocking like the murder itself.

According to state broadcaster reports earlier this week, his uncle had him killed because he wanted to increase his wealth and boost his horticulture project using dark magic.

Tapiwa Makore’s other body parts were taken to a yet to be identified witch doctor, who would then perform the spell.

Even more chilling was the fact that Tapiwa Makore Senior stood by, holding a torch for illumination, as Tafadzwa Shamba was murdering his nephew.

An eerily composed Tafadzwa Shamba appeared on TV indicating on the crime scene  and narrating the horrific details leading to Tapiwa Makore’s final hours.

Tapiwa Makore’s final hours must have been frightening and lonely as he was detained in the home of the man who was not only a trusted family member, but his namesake as well.

The boy was restrained, drugged using an illicit brew of alcohol and then taken to a mountain in the night where he was decapitated and mutilated.

His uncle Tapiwa Makore Snr , initially denied the accusations but an arrest was made.

Makore and Shamba are currently remanded in custody, awaiting trial on the 13th of October 2020.

The stain of his death is one that will linger on in the psyches of many.

Source: Murehwa Ritual Murder Details Emerge… Victim’s Uncle Wanted To Use Body Parts To Get Rich And For Horticulture Project

Zimbabwe – Murehwa ritual killing: N’anga speaks on Murehwa boy’s murder

The following articles provide a useful insight into the background of (some) ritual murders in Sub-Saharan Africa – in this case in Zimbabwe – notably the involvement of relatives.

To refresh your mind, the articles relate to the gruesome muthi or muti murder of a 7-year old boy in Makore village, Mashonaland East. On September 18 of this year, 7-year old Tapiwa Makore was discovered, severely mutilated with several body parts missing, after he got missing a few days earlier. Soon the police arrested a suspected culprit as well as the man who allegedly ordered the crime, Tapiwa Makore Senior, uncle of the deceased and the elder brother of the victim’s father.

Now the police have arrested a traditional healer (n’niga), Tinei Makore aka Marvelous Muchedzi, a witch doctor who allegedly is connected to the murder. The suspect is also a relative of the murdered boy’s parent. He is also a known tsikamutanda (witch hunter).

Notwithstanding the foregoing, we should not forget that one is not guilty until found guilty in an impartial, transparent trial by an independent judge. That’s the rule of law which is one of the pillars of a free, democratic society respecting the universal human rights. But the same human rights also give the right to live: an unalienable right of both the victim and the countless other victims of ritualistic activities – both in Zimbabwe, in Sub-Saharan Africa and the world at large.

Warning: the following articles contain graphic details of the heinous crime (webmaster FVDK).

The victim of the ritual murder, 7-year old Tapiwa Makore

Murehwa Ritual Killing Latest: N’anga speaks on Murehwa boy’s murder

October 11, 2020
By: Sunday Mail Zimbabwe – Garikai Mazara

THE mystery surrounding the whereabouts of slain seven-year-old Tapiwa Makore’s missing head and hands has deepened.

The traditional healer suspected to be the brains behind the ritual murder is saying it was pure coincidence that he happened to visit the village the week that the boy disappeared and was allegedly murdered.

Tapiwa disappeared on Thursday September 17, only for his torso to be dragged by dogs into a village compound the following morning. 

Tinei Makore, also known as Marvellous Muchedzi, who is a known traditional healer, had left the village the previous day, Wednesday September 16.

The Sunday Mail tracked him down and found him at his compound in the Mvurwi farming area. He confirmed that he had, indeed, visited his home village in the three days preceding Tapiwa’s disappearance and subsequent murder.

He revealed that he spent his three-day stay in the village with Tapiwa Makore Senior, the co-accused in the disappearance and alleged murder of Tapiwa Junior.

“I had been away from my village for slightly more than a year. I got a witch-hunting job to do at Chabwino Farm, in the Shamva area and after I was paid, I decided to go home and catch up with my cousins,” narrated Tinei.

“I left this farm (Mvurwi area) on Saturday and arrived in Makore village Monday. Since I moved out of the village some three years back and there is no one staying in the home which we used to stay, Tapiwa Senior said I could spend my days in the village staying with him.

“On the Monday, we spent time in the village mixing with other folks, trying to catch up. That night I slept at Tapiwa’s home. The following day, I spent almost the whole of it attending to my motorbike which had a puncture. 

“Tapiwa Senior said he was going to work with other villagers on deepening his well, as the water was no longer enough for his cabbages.”

Tinei said he slept at Tapiwa Senior’s home as well that Tuesday evening before bidding him farewell on Wednesday morning as he returned to Mvurwi.

“I stopped-over at Kashiri’s place, Fraser Farm, around the Bindura area, on my way here. I slept there Thursday and arrived back on Friday. Then on Saturday morning, I received a call from the person I had visited at Chabwino, asking me if it was true, the news that was coming from Makore village that a child had been found murdered. 

“That is how I got to know that there had been a murder back in my village. I told him I was back in Mvurwi and had not heard anything. Then the news started circulating on social media and I phoned some relatives back home, only to find out if it was true.”

A self-confessed traditional healer since 1992, “when I was 20 years old”, Tinei said it was happenstance that he decided to visit his village the same week that Tapiwa Junior disappeared and coincidental that he stayed with Tapiwa Senior, the co-accused in the disappearance and murder of Tapiwa Junior.

Chief Superintendent George Mugonda, Officer in Charge at Murehwa Police Station, confirmed that Tinei is a suspect, though they were not sure about his whereabouts.

“We have been informed by the family that a relative, for long known as a traditional healer, visited the village in the days leading to the disappearance of Tapiwa Junior. We are yet to interview him as we don’t know his whereabouts,” the police supremo in Murehwa district said.

At Makore village, Munyaradzi Makore and wife, the parents of the murdered boy, said though they do not have any conclusive evidence linking Tinei to the murder, what they cannot understand is the coincidence around their relative, a known tsikamutanda (witch hunter), visiting at about the same time their son disappeared.

“For the time being we are working with what Tafadzwa Shamba has indicated and further than that, we are not privileged to comment neither can we assume. Just that the coincidence is too much to stomach for us. We will leave the police to conclude their investigations,” said Munyaradzi, the father.

Chief Supt Mugonda said besides Shamba’s confessions, which led to the discovery of the boy’s legs, they have no further information. 

“The co-accused, Tapiwa Makore Senior, is refusing any involvement in the murder. In fact, he is not saying anything apart from his name. So all the information that we have so far, is what Tafadzwa has told us.”

According to Makore villagers, Tapiwa Senior lived in Harare for several years before returning to the village in July this year with a proposal to do a cabbage project. And for effect, there are times he came with his “investors” to have a look at his settings.

The long-term plan was to drill a borehole, with the help of the “investors”. However, after a couple of visits, the “investors” stopped coming to the village for the progress checks. Besides the cabbage nursery, land had been prepared for transplanting the same.

Stuck with more than enough cabbage seedlings, Tapiwa Senior is said to have started selling the seedlings, which apparently found no takers, as the water sources were drying up in the area. He, however, managed to transplant some of them in his garden.

Then Tinei, the traditional healer, paid the three-day visit, arriving on a Monday, departing on a Wednesday, a day before Tapiwa Junior disappeared.

On Friday September 18 morning, a dog dragged a human torso into a nearby village compound.

“What pains us up to now,” narrated Mrs Makore, Tapiwa’s mother, “is that uncle Tapiwa accompanied us on the six-hour party that we had to look for my son. But looking back now, we now understand, he was interfering a lot with the search, saying things that dispirited us. We abandoned the search around midnight, which tallies with the time that Tafadzwa said they killed my son.

Screenshot from the video, click here to listen to the interview

“The following morning, as soon as daybreak, we resumed the search. Then a boy was sent to where we were, advising us to abandon the search and go home. I started crying, I knew that my son was dead. But my thinking then, as I had sent him to the garden, was that he had drowned in a well. I was asked not to go where everyone was going, but asked to go to my mother-in-law’s place.

“This was around 7am. I was only asked to attend to the scene around 3pm when the police had already been called in. My husband, though, had been there. When I got there the torso was covered with a blanket and I did not see anything. The only time I saw it, was when it was put into the steel coffin.”

At the time of his disappearance, Tapiwa Junior was putting on a maroon trousers and a white round-neck jersey with blue stripes. His shoes were found by the garden but the clothes have not been found as yet.

When investigating officers came back after collecting the body, they asked everyone in the village to stand with his wife. All the women were asked to stay in one place and as the men went on a search of each household.

A trousers with blood stains was found in Tafadzwa’s room. Tafadzwa was staying with Tapiwa Senior as his herd boy. On initial and separate questioning, Tapiwa Senior is said to have said that the blood was that of a chicken that he had asked Tafadzwa to kill for their meal. On the other hand, Tafadzwa is said to have said he had slept with a virgin the previous day. When the named girl was asked, she refused having slept with Tafadzwa.

Interestingly, Tinei, the traditional healer, in admitting that for two nights he slept in one of Tapiwa Senior’s spare bedrooms, said that Tafadzwa was not staying with Tapiwa Senior, but was staying at the Katsande homestead, a stone’s throw from Tapiwa’s homestead. He said Tapiwa Senior prepared the Tuesday meal for him.

In accordance with local traditions, Chief Mangwende has ordered that no corpse will be buried in his area without a head.

Thus, the Makores’ appeal to the co-accused is to come clean on the whereabouts of their son’s head so that he can be accorded a decent burial.

“We want our son to finally be put to rest but we are appealing to those who have our son’s head to come clean, there is no need to keep hiding it because the whole world now knows what happened. We want closure on the matter, at least for now,” said the mother.

Chief Supt Mugonda was singing from the same hymn book, pleading with anyone who might have information that might bring the matter to finality to come forward. 

“This issue is no longer a Murehwa issue, but it is now a national issue, so if there is anyone out there who might have any information that might help us locate the boy’s head, please let them come forward.”

Tinei, the traditional healer, said no one, not even the police, had approached him to give his side of the story but has nothing to hide. 

“It is just pure coincidence that I happened to be at the village the same week this murder occurred, otherwise I am prepared to go back to the village to clear my name.”

On the two Tapiwas’ sharing the same name, Mr Munyaradzi Makore said it was pure coincidence that they gave their son the name of his cousin, and that they did not give him the name as an honour to Tapiwa Senior.

“True, we once stayed with him (Tapiwa Senior) in Mufakose for some four months. At the time, I had separated with my wife and during the course of reuniting, we had this son, and we were just elated that we had been blessed with a son, as our first-born was a girl. So we named him Tapiwa. It had nothing to do with my cousin.”

Source: N’anga speaks on Murehwa boy’s murder

More (partly based on the previous article):

Murehwa Ritual Killing Latest: N’anga Speaks Out

Published: October 11, 2020
By: iHarare – Tim E. Ndoro

The investigation into the horrific ritual murder of seven-year-old Tapiwa Makore of Murehwa last month has taken another twist after the n’anga who is alleged to be the mastermind of the plot spoke out. The traditional healer is denying claims that he was behind the ritual murder and is insisting that it’s pure coincidence that he was in Makore Village around almost the same time that Tapiwa was kidnapped and murdered in cold blood.

iHarare has learned from the Sunday Mail – see preceding article (webmaster FVDK) – that Tinei Makore, who also goes by Marvellous Muchedzi, is a well known traditional healer who is related to the victim and the chief suspect Tapiwa Makore senior.

The traditional healer is reported to have visited Makore Village and stayed with Tapiwa Makore Senior. After he left, 7-year-old Tapiwa Makore disappeared the next day and his mutilated torso was discovered a day later.

The police have since confirmed that they regard the n’anga as a suspect but have been unable to locate him so far. Chief Superintendent George Mugonda, the Officer in Charge at Murehwa Police Station, told the publication,

“We have been informed by the family that a relative, for long known as a traditional healer, visited the village in the days leading to the disappearance of Tapiwa Junior. We are yet to interview him as we don’t know his whereabouts,”

Tafadzwa Shamba at the crime scene

However, reporters from the Sunday Mail managed to track down Tinei Makore at this base in Mvurwi, where he insisted that his hands are clean. The traditional healer said that it was mere coincidence that he visited the village a few days before Tapiwa was kidnapped and killed in the ritual killing.

Narrating the events surrounding his visit, the n’anga told the scribes,

“I had been away from my village for slightly more than a year. I got a witch-hunting job to do at Chabwino Farm, in the Shamva area and after I was paid, I decided to go home and catch up with my cousins.

“I left this farm (Mvurwi area) on Saturday and arrived in Makore village Monday. Since I moved out of the village some three years back and there is no one staying in the home which we used to stay, Tapiwa Senior said I could spend my days in the village staying with him.

“On Monday, we spent time in the village mixing with other folks, trying to catch up. That night I slept at Tapiwa’s home. The following day, I spent almost the whole of it attending to my motorbike which had a puncture.

Tapiwa Makore Senior (Image Credit: Zimpapers Digital) 

Tinei also said that the police are yet to get in touch with him over the matter insisting that he is quite eager to clear his name.

“It is just pure coincidence that I happened to be at the village the same week this murder occurred, otherwise I am prepared to go back to the village to clear my name.”

Tapiwa’s family and the police are appealing for information which can aid in the recovery of Tapiwa’s head.

The family is currently unable to bury Tapiwa’s remains because traditional leader, Chief Mangwende decreed hat no corpse will be buried in his area without a head.

Source: Murehwa Ritual Killing Latest: N’anga Speaks Out

The business, science behind ritual killings

The murder of Thabelo Mazolo in Zimbabwe inspired Bruce Ndlovu, the author of the article reproduced below, to dwell on the phenomenon of ritualistic murders, muti or muthi murders as they are called in Southern Africa. The staggering details of recent murder cases in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe are shocking. The author is to be commended for his frankness to expose and discuss these heinous crimes which have no place in the 21st century.  

Warning: the following article contains many graphic details as to how these murders are committed (webmaster FVDK). 

Murder economy: The business, science behind ritual killings

The suspected ritual killer, Tawana Ngwenya (right) and his disillusioned father, Buzwani Ngwenya (left).

Published: June 21, 2020
By: Nehanda Radio – Bruce Ndlovu

“You must cut yourself and spill your blood onto a mirror,” the message to Tawana Ngwenya reportedly read. “Gaze into the mirror and say out loud that you are selling your soul for riches. After that you must open the door for my boys to go out.”

The messages, from a South African sangoma, were allegedly part of a chain of instructions to Ngwenya, messages that allegedly led him to take the life of Tawana Mazolo at Matsheumhlophe, Bulawayo.

The messages were witchcraft delivered digitally, as the unknown sangoma, from his lair somewhere in one of South Africa’s nine provinces gave Ngwenya instructions on how to spill blood and in the aftermath, prepare for a life of riches.

The details of the alleged murder are gruesome. Half of Mazolo’s body, from the waist down, was missing while her breasts and palms were cut off. On the surface, the tragic killing of Mazolo already looks like a ritual murder. The grizzly details suggest that this indeed is the case.

After all, every once in a while, the pages of publications in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries drip with the blood of innocents murdered at the altar of self-enrichment.

There was the case of Edmore Rundogo, whose dismembered remains were found in Maun, about 500km from Botswana’s second city of Francistown.

Rundogo had left his home in Lobengula West (Bulawayo) in search of a better life in Botswana. Instead of the proverbial greener pastures on the other side of the Plumtree border, he had found machete-wielding men who savagely murdered him, ripping his heart out.

The five killers also cut off his hands, feet, privates and took part of his brains. The killers, after being told by the traditional healer that had hired them that they had killed the wrong person, had then tried to burn his body.

South of the Limpopo, there was the case of 10-year-old Masego Kgomo, a schoolgirl who was still alive when Brian Mangwale ripped out her womb.

During the course of his trial for murder, Mangwale would change his story three times, a fact that the courts took as evidence that he had no remorse for his actions. In one of the three accounts he claimed that he and a group of friends had taken the young girl to a traditional healer in Soshanguve, who gave them a concoction to drink before he dragged the crying Masego into a room.

The girl was still crying when the traditional healer returned with her 10 minutes later and started sprinkling something on her body.

Mangwale claimed the medicine man had then returned with a knife and a clay pot and ordered Masego to lie down on a bed.

When she refused, she was forcibly held down while the traditional healer stabbed her in the stomach, put his hand inside her body and removed something that looked like a ball, which he put into the clay pot. He also removed her left breast.

Mangwale told the magistrate he heard the others had wrapped the child’s body in plastic and drank muthi before dumping her body in the veld on the instructions of the traditional healer.

While his testimony kept changing, the courts were convinced that Kgomo had died after meeting the nasty end of Mangwale’s knife. A life in prison sentence was handed to the killer.

Body parts are big business in Africa, but particularly in South Africa where trade in human body parts is lucrative. In the race to get rich in places like the City of Gold, Johannesburg, some believe that the key to getting their hand on all that glitters is taking a shortcut.

Many Zimbabweans, like Mazolo, can trace their gruesome ritual death to powerful sangomas south of the Limpopo. While Ngwenya was the one allegedly wielding the instrument of death when Mazolo took her last painful breath, this is not always the case.

Middle men, like in the case of Mangwale, are usually the ones that handle the dirty work. According to South African scholar Louise Vincent, certain gangs specialise in killing people for the harvesting of body parts only.

“It is believed that certain murder gangs specialise in muthi killings. Unlike human sacrifice where death is the express purpose of the act, in muthi-related killings, death is an anticipated and accepted by-product of the garnering of human organs but it is not the main aim.

Indeed, it is often preferred that the victim remain alive during the process. When body parts, including internal organs, are removed while the victim is still alive it is believed that the power of the resultant medicine will be greatly enhanced. Depending on the wants of potential customers, the instructions that the sangomas give specifics.

“Sangomas seldom do the killing themselves. The order will include not only specifications as to which particular body part or parts are required — testicles for virility purposes, fat from the breasts or abdomen for luck, tongues to smooth the path to a lover’s heart — but the very specific manner in which they are to be collected.

“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. For this reason, a victim is often carefully chosen — not just any person’s penis as a cure for male infertility, for instance, but that of a man with several healthy children.”

Those who grew up in Zimbabwe urban areas will recall how the shadow of ritual murder has never been far off the horizon. Some, no doubt, know of the stories of businessmen who are said to have suddenly turned rich after they lost a spouse or a child. That child, or any other loved one, is assumed to be the blood sacrifice that was necessary for their businesses to turn a sudden corner.

Such perceptions of course, may be nothing but jealous rumour, but they are not helped by actual cases like that of Robert Tazvireva, a bottle store and general dealership owner in Magunje who allegedly instructed Samuel Mushonga in 2017 to murder his own sister so he could enhance his business.

After Mushonga had allegedly fatally stabbed his sister and hacked off her head, he delivered it to Tazvireva who told him to hide it in a nearby bush. Such instances, have helped convince many that businesspeople profit from the spilling of blood.

“‘If the business is not doing well, get a boy or a girl’s head — someone who has a future — and your business will have a future too,” said Dr Gordon Chavunduka time president of the Zimbabwean Traditional Healers Association, once said.

Those who grew up in Bulawayo in the late 90s will remember the myth of men who reportedly drove around the city with a blood sucking frog, looking for unsuspecting victims to profit from.

While such urban legends have never been confirmed, they are an entertaining reminder that people live on the constant lookout for people trying to profit off their ritual sacrifice.

“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,” says Fanuel Hadzidzi of Gender Links.

“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 businesspeople 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!”

With claims of human body parts sold by vendors on the streets of South Africa and other countries, it may be a long time before ritual killings lose their lustre to those trying to make a quick dollar.

Source: Murder economy: The business, science behind ritual killings

The Limpopo River Basin (Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe). Source map: The Economist

Zimbabwe: Bulawayo ritual murder – Dad opens up on ritual killer son

Sometimes a murder results in more than one victim…. 

I previously reported on this case in my June 17 posting, ‘Suspected ritual killers in first court appearance‘. Below some more information on this grisly ritual murder. Of course, I offer my condolences to the victim’s parents and other relatives. However, I also pity the murderer’s relatives, who will have to live with the crime committed by their relative, son, brother, cousin. The father of one of the suspected murderers speaks out in two articles which have been reproduced below (webmaster FVDK).

Dad opens up on ritual killer son

Tawana Ngwenya, suspected murderer (right) and his father Buzwani Ngwenya (left)

Published: June 13, 2020
By: Chronicle – Zimbabwe -Temba Dube, Deputy News Editor 

THE father of a 20-year-old man who allegedly killed a 25-year-old woman in Bulawayo, dismembered the body and put the remains in a drum filled with acid, yesterday opened up about the grisly ritual murder.

Tawana Ngwenya was arrested in Harare on Thursday as a suspect in the brutal killing of Ms Thabelo Mazolo.

Her body was cut in half and the lower part has not been located.

The breasts and palms had been sliced off.

The rest of the body was stashed in a drum in a toilet at a guest house where she worked and lived with Tawana and his father Mr Buzwani Ngwenya (60) who was the caretaker.

The community around Fortunes Gate in Matsheumhlophe where the murder occurred continues to express disbelief and horror at the callous killing.

Tawana allegedly acted on the instructions of a South Africa-based sangoma to kill Mazolo, so he could get rich.

Colleagues alleged they saw a message on his phone instructing him how to sell his soul for riches in a blood ritual that involved killing and mutilating Mazolo.

It is suspected Mazolo could have been killed between 29 May and 1 June when she went missing.

On 1 June Mr Ngwenya received a message from Mazolo’s phone informing him she would be away for a week.

Tawana fled to Harare on Tuesday when his father continued asking him about Mazolo’s whereabouts.

Mazolo’s uncle Mr Benny Moyo yesterday said she would be buried at her rural home in Zhombe tomorrow.

“The family will discuss the way forward in Zhombe,” said Mr Moyo.

Tawana is expected in the city today to assist police with investigations.

The elderly Mr Ngwenya yesterday said the day he heard his son could have committed the heinous act destroyed him.

“He was a quiet young man and seemed to be in good books with Thabelo. She would call him for assistance whenever she was in town on business. They appeared to get along very well. I’m crushed to learn he could have killed her in this beastly manner,” said Mr Ngwenya.

He said he has been seated at a shopping centre in the city the whole day as he could not process what his son had done.

“I am afraid to even approach Thabelo’s family but we obviously have to meet over this at some time. I need some respectable people to accompany me to talk to them. These people have been very good to us.

“I do not know what evil spirit possessed him to do this,” said Mr Ngwenya.

“Imagine we were looking for her and he was assisting us yet he could have known she was already dead. I feel like I’m losing my mind.”

He said his son had few friends and he could not imagine which one of them had initiated him into satanic rituals to kill people.

Neighbours said Tawana was soft spoken, polite and always smartly dressed.

They said there was nothing in his behaviour that showed he was capable of hurting another person.

“He was a smart formal dresser. He never wore casual stuff like jeans. He worked at a company that sells chemicals and was known for selling detergents in the area. He looked like a focused young man. I cannot believe he committed this cold-blooded killing. I guess the quiet ones always shock us,” said a neighbour on condition of anonymity.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube yesterday said investigations were still in progress.

“The suspect will be here tomorrow to assist with further investigations,” he said.

Tawana did his O-levels at Allan Wilson High School in Harare.

He was said to be an average student who stayed out of trouble. 

Source: Dad opens up on ritual killer son

Related article: 

He Was A Quiet Young Man – Father Of The 20 Year Old Bulawayo Ritual Murderer Opens Up

Published: June 13, 2020
By: Pindula News

Mr Buzwani Ngwenya the father of 20-year-old Tawana Ngwenya who is alleged to have brutally murdered Thabelo Mazolo, and mutilated her body and cutting off palms and breast before stuffing her body into a drum of acid under the instruction of a South African based traditional healer in a get rich quick ritual has opened up about the shocking gruesome murder committed by his young son, The Chronicle reports.

Speaking to the publication, Ngwenya said:

He was a quiet young man and seemed to be in good books with Thabelo. She would call him for assistance whenever she was in town on business. They appeared to get along very well. I’m crushed to learn he could have killed her in this beastly manner.

I am afraid to even approach Thabelo’s family but we obviously have to meet over this at some time. I need some respectable people to accompany me to talk to them. These people have been very good to us. I do not know what evil spirit possessed him to do this.

Imagine we were looking for her and he was assisting us yet he could have known she was already dead. I feel like I’m losing my mind.

Neighbours who also spoke to the publication about Tawana also said he was polite, respectfully and a soft-spoken young man who was always formally dressed:

He was a smart formal dresser. He never wore casual stuff like jeans. He worked at a company that sells chemicals and was known for selling detergents in the area. He looked like a focused young man. I cannot believe he committed this cold-blooded killing. I guess the quiet ones always shock us.

The Allan Wilson schooled Tawana will be transferred to Bulawayo where he will assist the police with investigations, while his unfortunate victim Thabelo Mazolo will be buried in Zhombe tomorrow.

Source: He Was A Quiet Young Man – Father Of The 20 Year Old Bulawayo Ritual Murderer Opens Up

Another related article:

Grisly ritual murder in affluent suburb

Murder victim Thabelo Mazolo

Published: June 12, 2020
By: Chronicle – Zimbabwe -Temba Dube, Deputy News Editor 

IN a bizarre suspected ritual killing, a 25-year-old woman was sawn in half and part of her body was mutilated and stashed into a drum filled with acid in Bulawayo.

Part of the body, from the waist going down, is still missing while breasts and palms appeared to have been sliced off.

Police yesterday arrested a suspect, Tawana Ngwenya (20), the son of a caretaker where the woman lived. He was arrested in Harare where he had allegedly fled.

Tawana allegedly had a message from a sangoma based in South Africa which instructed him on how to kill Ms Thabelo Mazolo so he could get rich.

Mazolo’s sister secured employment for Ngwenya at a company in Bulawayo and he was staying in Matsheumhlophe suburb at a guest house where Mazolo worked, with his father Mr Buzwani Ngwenya (60) who was the caretaker.

“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. After that you must open the door for my boys to go out,” read part of the message that allegedly had additional instructions on rites that Ngwenya was supposed to perform on the body.

Sources who told the Chronicle about the message said they freaked out and have not been able to eat or sleep, since the body was discovered on Wednesday morning.

Mr Ngwenya said Mazolo moved to Bulawayo from Harare just before the national Covid-19 induced lockdown.

He last saw Mazolo alive on May 29 when she said she was visiting someone in Sizinda suburb.

On June 1, he received a message from Mazolo’s phone informing him she would be away for about a week.

Tawana told him she could have visited friends after he discovered she had not been home since May 29.

He said Tawana disappeared from home on Tuesday when he asked him if he knew Mazolo’s whereabouts and he switched off his phone. “Thabelo’s phone had stopped ringing. On Wednesday there was a strong smell of something rotting from the main house. I called the police. We opened the door with a spare key and found the body in a blue drum in the toilet. It had been cut up and some of Thabelo’s clothes appeared to have been used to wipe up plenty of blood,” said Mr Ngwenya.

He said Tawana was the last of three children who was always quiet and had never shown homicidal tendencies.

Mr Benny Moyo, Mazolo’s uncle, said the family had tried to locate her when she suddenly became unreachable on her phone.

“I went to her workplace and each time I would be told she is busy or had just left. We are devastated to learn she has been killed. We hear the suspect was arrested in Harare today. We may have more information when the police complete investigations,” said Mr Moyo.

Miss Nomathemba Ndaba, Mr Ngwenya’s employer, choked on her words in an interview.

“At least Tawana who is suspected to have done this horrible thing has been arrested,” she said. “We are very sorry for Thabelo’s family but we want to warn young people against partaking in rituals. He may die in jail after this. Young people must be careful who they play with.”

Chronicle went on the ground yesterday and unearthed grisly details of what could have happened.

Tawana who did his O-Levels at Allan Wilson High School in Harare was said to be a loner. He allegedly borrowed a hacksaw from a neighbour on May 25 saying he wanted to prune some trees and cut a drum.

It is suspected the hacksaw was used to cut up the body.

Neighbours said around that time, he said he was looking for sulphuric acid.

He allegedly made inquiries at a company along Khami Road but was told it was out of stock.

Tawana’s colleagues said he seemed spooked and was reluctant to have them spend time at his home with him.

“He was acting weird. It was as if he expected someone to suddenly appear behind him and harm him. He was furtive and withdrew further into himself. When he left, he said he was going to Mutare. We heard a relative had seen him in Kadoma. We are all shocked that he killed someone,” said a friend who declined to be named.

There were heart-tugging moments when some neighbours burst into tears as they talked about Thabelo.

“We had known her for a short time but she was nice to all of us,” said a woman who asked not to be named.

“Tawana was slim and looked frail. If he did it, he could not have done it alone because Thabelo was significantly bigger than him. I doubt he could have lifted the body and put it into the acid drum by himself,” said the neighbour.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said police were investigating the killing.

“The informant last saw the deceased on 29 May 2020 at around 11AM when she was going to town. On 1 June 2020 the now deceased sent a message to the informant advising him that she was going out of town and will be back on Sunday 7 June 2020,” said Inspector Ncube.

He said when Mr Ngwenya called the police, they found Thabelo’s body inside a blue 200 litre drum in the bathroom in a decomposed state.

The body was conveyed to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) for post mortem.

Source: Grisly ritual murder in affluent suburb

Related article:

ZRP Arrests A Man In Harare Suspected Of Killing A Woman For Ritual Purposes In Bulawayo’s Matsheumhlophe Suburb

Published: June 12, 2020
By: Pindula News – Zimbabwe

ZRP this week arrested a man in Harare who is suspected of killing a 25-year-old woman whose body was found sawn in half and part of her body mutilated and some body parts like breasts and palms missing and stashed into a drum filled with acid in the affluent Matsheumhlophe suburb in Bulawayo, The Chronicle reports.

The suspected murderer, 20-year-old Tawana Ngwenya, the son of the caretaker where the woman lived, was arrested in Harare where he is suspected to have fled to after committing the heinous crime.

Tawana reportedly had instructions of how he should kill the deceased Ms Thabelo Mazolo to get rich. Part of the instruction seen by the publication 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. After that you must open the door for my boys to go out.

Tawana was staying at the guest house where Mazolo worked after Mazolo’s sister secured employment for him at a Bulawayo company.

Tawana’s father who is a caretaker at the guest house said he last saw Mazolo alive on 29 May:

Tawana disappeared from home on Tuesday when he asked him if he knew Mazolo’s whereabouts and he switched off his phone. Thabelo’s phone had stopped ringing. On Wednesday there was a strong smell of something rotting from the main house. I called the police. We opened the door with a spare key and found the body in a blue drum in the toilet. It had been cut up and some of Thabelo’s clothes appeared to have been used to wipe up plenty of blood.

Source: ZRP Arrests A Man In Harare Suspected Of Killing A Woman For Ritual Purposes In Bulawayo’s Matsheumhlophe Suburb

Africa’s shameful acts of racism: the plight of persons with albinism (PLWA) in Africa

It is not known with certainty how many people in Africa are affected by OCA, which stands for  ‘Oculocutaneous albinism’ (see below). It maybe a quarter of a million, it may be more. What we do know is the plight of persons with albinism. The lack of melanin which brings this condition with it, results in unhealthy effects of ultraviolet radiation exposure. Moreover, widespread superstition causes many wicked people to believe that albino body parts bring wealth and/or power. As a result, persons with albinism are chased, kidnapped, murdered.

The article below contains many examples of these gruesome practices which occur in many African countries. The author, Edmund Zar-Zar Bargblor of the Liberian newspaper, The Daily Observer , is to be commend for drawing attention to these outdated and cruel practices which constitute a serious violation of the human rights of people with albinism and have no place in a modern society. 

Warning: the following article contains graphic details of cruel ritualistic activities (webmaster FVDK).

Some of the protestors with various placards that called on the Liberian Government among other things, increase their budgetary support (Courtesy of Daily Observer, Liberia).

Africa’s Shameful Acts of Racism: The Plight of Persons with Albinism (PLWA) in Africa

Published: December 2, 2019
By: Edmund Zar-Zar Bargblor, The Daily Observer (Liberia),  Webmaster Admin 

Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior to another, and that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics.   On the African Continent, we have seen the impact of colonialism and its attributes of racism and discrimination.

The former Apartheid system in South Africa and its institutionalized racial segregation was an extreme expression of European treatments of Africans. The miserable treatment of people living with Albinism by fellow Africans is not only unfortunate, it is shameful.

The condition known as ‘Oculocutaneous albinism’ (OCA) is a genetically inherited autosomal recessive condition and OCA2, tyrosine-positive albinism, is the most prevalent type found throughout Africa. Due to the lack of melanin, people with albinism are more susceptible to the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation exposure.

The National Institutes of Health reported that about 200,000 Americans are affected; and around the world, it is between one in 17,000 and one in 20,000 people are people living with albinism. However, it is prevalence in parts of Africa, but it is far higher than the global average. People living with Albinism makeup about one in 4,000 people in South Africa and perhaps one in 5,000 in Nigeria. According to a 2006 review published in the journal BMC Public Health, the prevalence in Tanzania is one in 1,400, but this estimate is based on incomplete data. Since Tanzania’s total population is more than 40 million that would suggest an albinism community of about 30,000. A census is underway, however, and the Albinism Association of Tanzania believes the total figure could be more than 150,000.

People living with Albinism suffered in the hands of fellow Africans

The human rights organization Amnesty International quoted the Malawian police’s description of the gruesome murder of Mr. Machinjiri: “About four men trafficked him to Mozambique and killed him. The men chopped off both his arms and legs and removed his bones. Then they buried the rest of his body in a shallow grave.”

There are superstitions in some parts of Africa that albino body parts bring wealth, power or sexual conquest, and that having sex with a person living with the condition of albinism cures HIV and AIDS. Attackers sell albino body parts to witch doctors for thousands of dollars, according to Amnesty International. In Tanzania, some 75 people living with albinism were reported killed between 2000 and 2016.

Also, there have been reports of people living with albinism killings in South Africa; although such crimes are less common there than in Malawi, Tanzania and Burundi. Last February, a South African court sentenced a traditional healer to life in prison for murdering a 20-year-old woman living with albinism.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN agency that deals with human rights issues reported in 2016 that hunters of people living with albinism sell an entire human corpse for up to $75,000, while an arm or a leg could fetch about $2,000”.

In many African countries, it is sad and shameful the atrocious manner in which people living with albinism are treated; their lives are compounded by “exclusion, stigmatization, and denial of basic rights such as the right to education and health,” according to Amnesty International.  People living with Albinism continue to experience social isolation and stigma which includes name-calling, mockery, and exclusion from certain community activities.

It is reported in Zambia that at least ten people living with albinism are murdered in ritual killings every year.  Some believe their body parts bring wealth or luck. Those born with the genetic condition are calling for an end to this madness. There are more than 25,000 people living with the condition in Zambia.

Madame Janet Kakusa Wonani of Zambia, Founder/President of Light of The World Foundation. She works closely with children with Albinism in Zambia, irrespective of limited financial support.

According to the Albinism Foundation of Zambia (AFZ), Executive Director John Chiti, more than 25,000 persons with albinism in Zambia are currently in need of sunscreen lotion.

In an interview with Africa Renewal, Ms. Ero, said that the albinism situation in Africa, “is a tragedy.” She referred to the 7,000 to 10,000 people living with albinism in Malawi and thousands of others in Tanzania, Mozambique and other countries as “an endangered people”, facing a “risk of extinction if nothing is done.” Tanzanians call people living with albinism zeru, zeru, meaning “ghosts.”

Prevailing Superstitious Mindsets

Superstitious mindsets in some African countries continue to seek murdered for body parts, including infants and babies. Most of the attacks have taken place in Tanzania. Murders and attempted attacks, though in smaller numbers, have also been documented in Burundi, Kenya, Swaziland, Guinea, Nigeria, South Africa, Congo, Zambia, Namibia, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso.

The Converson.com conducted research and looked at media reports published between 2008 and 2011 on albinism and murders in Tanzania. It published a data set of 563 media reports in both English and Swahili from Tanzanian national newspapers.

The data showed that the Tanzanian press portrayed and explained violent attacks against persons with albinism in four ways. They were:

  • criminal activity,
  • cultural practices,
  • a socio-economic phenomenon,
  • a human rights issue.

Ms. Kway-Geer, the first Member of Parliament in Tanzania with albinism described her individual testimonials, first-hand accounts of difficulties as:

“When I was at primary school, people used to laugh at me, tease me – some didn’t even like to touch me, saying that if they touched me they would get this color. People used to abuse me on the road when I took the buses to school. They would run after me – crowds of kids following me – shouting ‘zeru, zeru’. (zeru, zeru, is a derogatory term).

Recommendations

The Conversation.com has identified the following recommendations.

  1. There is an urgent need to address the violence faced by this vulnerable group. Public health awareness is an important first step.
  2. Adequate health services for skin and vision disabilities should be prioritized.
  3. Putting out messages that counter the stigma against people living with Albinism is also important, as is access to education.
  4. Interventions must consider Albinism’ human rights. For example, putting children with albinism in camps may protect their right to life and security,but it restricts their rights to freedom of movement, and family life.

In addition, African Governments should seriously advocate against harmful practices against people living with albinism.  State parties should take all appropriate measures and offer support and assistance to victims of harmful practices, including legal sanctions, education, and advocacy campaign to eliminate harmful practices perpetrated on persons with albinism, such as witchcrafts, abandonment concealment, ritual killings, etc.

Conclusion

One thing for sure, the people living with Albinism did not create themselves; they were created in the same way you and I were created by the God who doesn’t make a MISTAKE. Their birth process is the same as you and me! Their mothers’ carried them for nine (9) months in their wombs before giving birth to them.

Who are we – be it an individual or government to decide that they should not live because they are different? Did God ask he needs our HELP to make His decision? The Almighty God does not need the assistance of mortal humans to run his affairs. The actions of those individuals perpetuating violence against persons suffering from albinism are no different than King Leopold II of Belgium, Adolph Hitler of Germany, Napoleon Bonaparte of France, and White racists today.

In Genesis 1:31(NIV): “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good…” God himself said it was Good, NOT bad. God doesn’t create anything UGLY! So, why individuals, including governments, are killing these innocent people? In addition, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 instructs us to “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” Accordingly, the GENOCIDE against these poor innocent people must be STOPPED!

Now, take a closer look at the beautiful tapestry of the people living with Albinism provided here. The question that readily comes to mind is any of you better looking than the people living with Albinism provided in these photos? I DOUBT IT! Therefore, let the persecution and killing of people living with Albinism STOP before the wrath of God descends upon us.

As Africans, it is embarrassing to read or hear that other Africans are discriminated against due to their race. Racism is contrary to God’s plan for humanity. The divisions we face today in contemporary Western nations are due to Race, the color of one’s skin or ethnic background.  And obviously, this perception is not part of God’s plan.

The Albinism Society of Kenya held a Mr. and Miss Albinism beauty pageant in Nairobi to support those with the hereditary condition. (https://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-46439699).

In the words of Maya Angelou: “We, the black people, the most displaced, the poorest, the most maligned and scourged, we had the glorious task of reclaiming the soul and saving the honor of the country. We, the most hated, must take hate into our hands and by the miracle of love, turn loathing into love. We, the most feared and apprehensive must take the fear and by love, change it into hope. We, who die daily in large and small ways, must take the demon death and turn it into life.”

Indeed, Children living with albinism in Africa are our brothers, sisters, daughters, and sons, let us protect them always, they are all God’s children as well.

Source: Africa’s Shameful Acts of Racism: The Plight of Persons with Albinism (PLWA) in Africa

Africa Map

No room at Makuya court – South Africa

Part of the huge crowd that had gathered at the court premises, waiting for an opportunity to see the accused.

News Date: 03 May 2018
Written by: Elmon Tshikhudo

Hundreds of angry residents from Tshitavha and surrounding villages who had come to attend a ritual murder case were left disappointed as they could not be accommodated in the small court room.

This was during the appearance of the six accused in the ritual murder case of Ms Mercy Ndou. Ndou was ruthlessly murdered in 2014 and her body parts were harvested.

The Makuya Periodical Court can only accommodate about 30 people and court officials struggled to control the huge crowds that wanted to be allowed into the court. This led to a late start of the court proceedings. Only close family members were allowed to attend.

The accused, who were under heavy police guard, finally appeared in court. In a short sitting, the State indicated that it was not ready to proceed with the formal bail application as it still sought certain evidence in connection with the case and one remaining suspect still had to be arrested.

The defence argued that the State had advanced the same reasons when seeking a postponement last week. After some deliberations, the court ruled in favour of the State, saying it had advanced valid reasons for more time. The date of  9 May 2018 was given as a final postponement on which the formal bail application should be heard.

The six accused are Gerson Mathoho (52), Eric Khobo (30), Rhulani Shirindi (43), Shonisani Muruge (53), Khuthadzo Tshidino (28) and Azwinndini Ndou (42). They are charged with the ritual murder of Mercy Ndou, who was 33 years at the time of her death.

Some of the accused entering the Makuya Periodical Court on Wednesday.

Ndou, originally from Shayandima, disappeared in 2014 after telling her family she was visiting friends and that she would come back later to assist them in moving goods as they were moving to a new house at another location. That was the last time she was seen alive. Her body, with parts missing, was found in the bushes at Tshitavha.

A traditional healer, Vusiwana Baloyi, was arrested and later sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime. During his trial in 2016, Baloyi mentioned the names of the people who had participated in the killing. The police took almost two years to act on the information, and only three weeks ago they made a major breakthrough and arrested the six.

The six, two females and four males, made their first appearance in the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court a fortnight ago and their case was initially postponed to last Wednesday for the bail applications.

On Wednesday, hundreds of angry community members gathered at the court premises, hoping to gain entry to the court to get a glimpse of the accused. As they could not all be allowed in court, they peeped through windows, some even insulting the suspects, telling them they would not be released and that they would rot in jail. Some were urging the police to release them, so that they could be dealt with by the mob.

“We are tired of ritual murders in this area, and we know that there are still others roaming the streets. We are just happy that even those who were being protected are now behind bars and our prayer is that they be punished for their heinous crimes. They should be locked in jail forever,” said a resident who did not want to be identified.

The Reverend Jabulane Monegi, the Ndou family’s spokesperson, said the postponement suited them well. “We have faith in the justice system, and the fact that they are in custody gives us hope that the wheels of justice will move at their own speed and justice will be served at the end of the day,” he said.

Source: Zoutnet – News with an independent soul

https://www.zoutnet.co.za/articles/news/47037/2018-05-03/no-room-at-makuya-court

Tshitavha is located in Limpopo Province:
https://geographic.org/geographic_names/name.php?uni=-1873630&fid=5702&c=south_africa

South Africa – Provinces