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News - Date: 08 July 2017
Written by: Elmon Tshikhudo / Viewed: 7203
What was supposed to be a wise move by a local resident of Tshikhudini to sniff out the people who stole his building equipment, nearly turned deadly when the man was severely injured after being labelled a wizard.
This is not an isolated incident of people being labelled witches in Limpopo.
In the early 2000, many people were killed and some had their properties burnt after being identified as witches. Suspects in such cases, who took part in this practice of pointing out people as witches, were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
In the latest incident, Mr Shumani Thomas Muthivhi (55), who works for the Department of Water Affairs, arrived back home over the weekend to find that his wheelbarrow and scaffolding were stolen. He used the equipment to build his house.
He said that he went to his traditional healer at a neighbouring village to try and sniff out who stole his tools. That was the worst mistake he had made in his life, as that nearly cost his life, he said.
Muthivhi explained that he went to the healer on a Sunday. It was the place where he was initiated many years ago. Once there, he was told to come back the following day with instructions not to eat or wash his face.
“I did as (I was) instructed and when I arrived there I was told to drink a concoction, which I did, but vomited immediately after drinking it. I was made to drink another full cup and from there I lost consciousness and only woke up in the early hours of the morning. I realised that I was only wearing underwear,” he said.
He added that he realized that he was not home and he ran away still wearing the underwear until he reached a local tavern where residents found him semi-naked and accused him of being a wizard. He added that they attacked him with an assortment of weapons, including a sjambok. He was badly injured and it was only the timely arrival of the police that saved him from certain death.
Petrol was also allegedly poured over him, but he was not set alight.
Muthubi, who has since gone underground fearing for his life, on Tuesday came out to put the record straight. It was about ten days after the incident.
“I am not a wizard at all. I am practicing to be a traditional healer to help others who are sick.” He said that he was attacked for nothing, by people who did not even want to hear his side of the story. “This is bad, because they were supposed to have taken me back to the traditional healer where I slept, to find out the truth.”
He is worried that his image has been tarnished and that people will no longer have faith in him when he starts practicing as a traditional healer.
“All I need now is that all those who attacked me should pay for their sins. They should be arrested and languish in jail. The police have also failed me, because they did not allow me to open a case,” he said.
The traditional healer in question confirmed that Muthivhi visited him and they spent the day drinking. “He went to sleep as he is one of my initiates and we were only shocked to find that he was not in the house in the morning. After some time, we heard that he was found at another yard and that he was naked.”
He said that the matter must be reported to the police, “because seemingly he knows who attacked him,” she said.
A resident who wanted to remain anonymous confirmed the man is known in the village and that he seemed intoxicated when he was found. “That led to the beating,” he said.
Limpopo police spokesperson, Lt-Col Moatshe Ngoepe was shocked to hear that the Muthubi was refused the chance to open a case at the local police station. “It can’t be that there is no case, please refer him to the Thohoyandou cluster commander Gen Azwihangwisi Mulaudzi who will intervene,” he said.
Muthivhi, who says he was falsely accused of being a wizard.
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.