Durban - The Pietermaritzburg Regional Court was subjected to a bizarre tale of mistaken identify when the man accused of masquerading as deceased maskandi artist Khulekani “Mnqumeni” Khumalo testified on Wednesday.
Sibusiso John Gcabashe is on trial for fraud, kidnapping, assault, rape, theft and attempting to escape from custody.
Following State psychological evaluation, Gcabashe was declared mentally fit to stand trial, and has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
In 2012, he allegedly claimed he was Khumalo, who had risen from the dead. Gcabashe, from Magqongqo, was arrested shortly afterwards.
Taking the stand on Wednesday before a packed court gallery, when asked his full name by Magistrate Rose Mogwera so that he might be sworn in to take the oath, Gcabashe responded that his name was “Khulekani Khumalo”.
“That is my name. I do not know who this John Gcabashe is,” he said.
When asked by his attorney, Johan Botha, how it came to be that his fingerprints had been verified by the SAPS and he had been identified as Sibusiso John Gcabashe, the man said that it was “made up”.
“I don’t work by things like fingerprints… I know who I am… I am Khulekani Khumalo and that is not going to change,” he said.
He said the only proof he has of his identity is his “gift”, of singing and of music. “That is all the proof you need.”
The man who claims he is Khumalo denied all the allegations he is accused of, saying that he could not understand why people he did not know had taken the witness stand and lied about him.
Referring to the 18-year-old woman who testified that Gcabashe had kidnapped and raped her, the accused said he had never seen her before.
He also said he had never before seen the woman who had who testified that Gcabashe was her brother.
“I never saw her before until she testified. She is a liar,” he said.
When asked why people would lie about him, Gcabashe said he believed they feared his “true identity” being revealed.
“People thought I was dead. But here I am,” he said.
Trying to explain the reason why people are afraid of who he is, Gcabashe said that in 2008 he had a sickness which was very rare.
“One day, I was taken to hospital and a vision of a red bull suddenly appeared. Next thing I knew I found myself naked in a veld; and I was different. There was a difference in my facial features and my body. This was done by muti,” he said.
Gcabashe said that in the veld, which soon morphed into a forest of stones, he lived with little animals or “tokoloshes”.
“At that time I was living in another world under different rules. I managed to escape that place with the help of the Shembe church,” he said.
Gcabashe insisted that Khumalo’s wives, Nozipho Xulu and Nomkhosi Mbatha, are his wives, and that they were afraid to tell the truth about his identity because they believed him to be dead. Both testified in court that they did not know who Gcabashe was.
“They are remarried now. I don’t think their husbands would like it if they acknowledged me,” Gcabashe said.
The case continues.