THE waterfall where bodies of two trainee sangomas were found. | Video screengrab
THE waterfall where bodies of two trainee sangomas were found. | Video screengrab

WATCH: Bodies of two trainee sangomas who drowned during a cleansing ritual in KZN have been recovered

By Willem Phungula Time of article published Jan 4, 2022

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DURBAN - The bodies of two trainee traditional healers who were also members of the Nazareth Baptist Church (Shembe) were retrieved from a waterfall in Mpumalanga township on Monday.

According to one of the deceased’s family members, Antonia Mbizane, her grandson Nkosinathi Ndawonde, 30, was taken by another member of the church on December 12 last year who said he was going to help him “improve his prophetic powers” (isithunywa).

Ndawonde told the Daily News that when her grandson left home he said he was going to spend only seven days with the prophet, then come home.

She said that on Thursday the police came to their home to inform the family that he and another trainee had gone missing in the waterfall and it was suspected that they drowned.

She further said the incident shocked them because the prophet who took her grandson did not tell them that he was now a sangoma and was going to take Nkosinathi for rituals.

Ndawonde said the prophet had not yet come to talk to them about the incident, adding that the family was left wondering as it did not have the full details of what her grandson was doing in the waterfall and what caused his drowning.

She said all the family knew was what they had been told by police, which was that Nkosinathi and another trainee had gone for a cleansing ritual in the river but slipped into the gushing waters and drowned.

A 30-second video that captures the area where Nkosinathi had been shows three waterfalls cascading down into a raging river and three people dressed in white dresses standing at the cliff edge and looking at the waterfalls hitting the river below.

Twenty- two seconds into the video more people make it into the video frame as the videographer pans, showing more people in that area. More women are seen standing not far from the three in white with their arms folded, also looking on. This while a man in white carrying a stick is seen leading three others away from the scene where others are gathered. No one speaks throughout the video, which was apparently taken after Nkosinathi’s drowning as they attempted to find him.

Their mentor, traditional healer Mxolisi Nhleko, told sister newspaper Isolezwe that he was not home when the two trainees went to the river, adding they had asked permission to go.

He said that the pair woke up feeling like going to cleanse themselves in the waterfall.

He released the name of the other deceased as Bongumuza Magubane, but attempts to reach his family were unsuccessful.

Nazareth Baptist Church spokesperson Thokozani Mncwabe, for the Ebuhleni faction under inkosi Mduduzi Shembe, said the church was disturbed to hear about the incident but added the traditional healing in the church was an individual choice which the church did not get involved in.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said Mpumalanga SAPS opened an inquest docket after the bodies were found on the river.

Daily News

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