Paranoia Over Witchcraft Ends in bloodshed

GAPHATSHWA: Death brings everything to a halt, but sudden death as a result of murder creates overwhelming grief for survivors.

This is what the Masega family of Gaphatshwa lands in the outskirts of Mogoditshane Block 9 is going through.

Grief has befallen the family after their beloved family member, Mmoninyana Masega, 53, was chopped to death with an axe on witchcraft suspicions by a neighbour last Wednesday.

In a follow-up to the grieving family’s home on Friday afternoon, The Monitor team found the deceased’s brother, Masega Thobega, other family members and mourners sitting under a tree, their sorrows etched on their faces.

Approaching the family to share their story as to what happened was the most challenging thing ever, however hard and invasive the circumstances, the family welcomed The Monitor team with open arms.

After introducing the crew to the family, they readily acquiesced to talk to the team even though the sorrow and pain of losing a loved one was written all over their faces. Asked about what really transpired, Thobega said they were still in shock and very much confused about the whole thing. They were putting all of their hope in God to unravel the mystery.

Tebogo Morake who was chatting with the deceased when Molefe Bob, 25, came charging towards them wielding an axe said the incident happened so quickly. She revealed that the deceased was not free in her yard because Bob had previously attacked her, broken her windows and doors and threatened to kill her.  “She was living in fear, she told me that she wanted to relocate to the lands (masimo), some kilometres away from here, because she was not free staying next to Bob. It was around noon when we arrived from Mogoditshane Block 9 with the deceased and sat by the veranda chatting when, she saw Bob running towards us with an axe and she alerted me. The deceased asked me to run inside the house, but I ran behind the house, because my son was playing with her grandchildren behind the house,” she said.

Morake said the deceased ran and locked herself inside the house whilst Bob was fast approaching the house. She added that acting out of fear she took the children and ran into the bush in the direction of Mogoditshane Block 9 to seek help.

She said whilst on the way she met the deceased’s son, Otsile Masega and told him what had just happened. He ran over to the house to help his mother, only to find her lying in a pool of blood with visible deep cuts on her head possibly inflicted by the axe Bob was seen holding prior and charging towards the house.

“When I arrived home, Bob came out of the house and ran into a nearby bush. My concern was not him. I wanted to know where my mother was. I was shocked to find her lying lifeless in a pool of blood with her bedroom door destroyed,” Otsile said interrupting Morake. Asked what the fight was all about, Otsile said there had been a misunderstanding between the deceased and the suspect for quite some time over the allusion to witchcraft suspicion. He narrated that at some point the suspect broke the windows and doors of their home, still on those suspicions, but the two families decided to resolve the matter without involving the police.

“Then our neighbours asked us not to report the matter to the police, but to bring the matter before elders of both families for mediation. Ba ne ba re ko ba thusiwang teng ha ba isa Bob ba mo kopela dithuso go tshwarwa mosadimogolo, but both families mediated the matter. Then Bob was taken to Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital on suspicion that he was not of sound mind. He has been away for quite sometime, he came back from Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital early last week,” he said.

Otsile said he had taken a decision to spend a lot of time at home, because he had suspicions that Bob might harm his mother, but sadly after stepping out to the shops for a little while,  the suspect noticed his absence and attacked and killed his mother.

“O ikgotsofaditse (he has satisfied himself). He had always wanted to kill my mother and he has finally succeeded. My mother was a nice person, but she was brutally killed over witchcraft suspicion and it hurts so bad,” Otsile said. Bob sustained injuries after he attempted to commit suicide by stabbing himself with a knife in the stomach, and he is currently hospitalised at Princess Marina Hospital. The deceased’s post-mortem was conducted on Friday and her remains were handed over to the family to conduct the burial.

Editor's Comment
Where Are The Vaccines?

The government has without a doubt come up with good initiatives such as partnering with private medical practitioners in the vaccine roll-out. This was indeed a welcome development that reduced congestions at government vaccination centres.Well, unfortunately, the celebrations were short-lived. People flocked to the vaccination centres in large numbers and most of the private clinics are currently left with no vaccines and unending telephone...

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