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Mbabane - An extensive black market in human body parts has been uncovered in Swaziland’s second-largest hospital.

Demand is strong in the country for human ingredients for use in traditional potions. Even the water used to wash corpses in the hospital mortuary is being sold to traditional healers.

“If they are selling parts from the hospital, they can steal from someone who has just died or is about to die,” said Reverend Grace Masilela, a Nazarene Church preacher who said she was once a traditional healer.

Masilela revealed this at the weekend to a Swazi newspaper, but the practice of selling human organs from the mortuary at Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital in the central commercial hub of Manzini is an open secret.

Traditional healers come to town to purchase herbs at the Manzini market and end their trip with a visit to the mortuary.

A human brain costs R1 000. Other parts, from internal organs to body fat, fetch from R400 to R1 000.

Body parts are roasted and pulverised into an ash, and mixed with herbs for a potion that is either drunk, ingested or in some cases rubbed into the blood through a razor cut to the skin. The user is then endowed with supernatural power, according to belief.

“Children’s parts are favoured because they are considered pure. An elderly person’s parts are liked because the consumer takes on the person’s wisdom,” said Charles Mngomezulu, a traditional healer, who added that he does not dabble in muti. – Independent Foreign Service