Fochville, South Africa – The decomposed body of a fifteen year old mentally ill teenager was found a month after she was reported as missing by her mother. Yesterday, several men in the vicinity went rabbit hunting and stumbled upon the murdered, headless body of the missing girl, her skull was found a few meters away from the body.
A month ago, according to the villagers, the young girl disappeared, and the villagers assisted the grieving mother and another relative in a search around that area, in the hope of finding the missing girl, who was diagnosed as mentally ill. The search proved to be fruitless and there was no evidence of the missing teenager.
After a week of tireless searching, the concerned villagers went from house to house to raise money for the mother to go and consult a powerful Sangoma in Zimbabwe, who would be able to give her information about the missing child. Some of the concerned neighbors began the process of applying for passports for the impending trip to Zimbabwe.
The elderly mother and a friend were arrested by the police, and charged with murder, after the discovery of the badly mutilated decomposed body and skull of the teenager was found. Her head had been hacked off for traditional medicine (muti). A spokesperson for Mokopane police confirmed the arrest of the two women.
Soon after the disappearance of the teenager, the elderly mother had told a friend that her life would change for the better in the near future, and that she would build a big house. He did not reply to her comment, as he feared she would evict him. Suspecting her harmful behavior, he did warn other people to stay away from her.
Traditional healer (Sangoma) Mandla Mgwazi from Fochville said it is possible the girl was murdered for her brains, as the skull appeared to be clean. She told the reporters that often brains of children under the age of 16 were used in the liquor trade business. It was also favored as a method to attract more customers.
Sangoma’s are referred to as Traditional healers and practitioners of traditional African medicine. They fulfill different social and political roles within a community. Often they are sought for the divination, healing powers, death rituals, protection, counteracting witches and myths of their tradition. They use a wide variety of treatments ranging from magic to fasting. Herbal therapies are applied, and their medicines include a variation of tropical plants.
Thirty-five body parts, from both humans and animals, including bones, fingernails, hairs, earwax, feces, urine, impurities on the teeth, and organs are used in the formation of traditional medicine. This is a practice, which spans over many centuries, used by not only by the African Traditional healers (Sangoma), but the Chinese as well continue to this very day.
It is child protection week, and this horrific story about the discovery of the decomposed body of the murdered teenager, is a reminder to the public, of all the suffering children in the world, under the hands of abusive adults.
Written by Laura Oneale