'My baby's body parts were used for muti'

By Monde Dlakavu Time of article published Aug 25, 2003

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A one-year-old Khayelitsha girl was killed with a kudu horn and her intestines removed and fried in a pan to make muti for a job-seeker, the Khayelitsha magistrate's court heard.

This evidence was given on Friday by 27-year-old Lindiwe Msengana, mother of little Phelisa Msengana. She appeared at a bail hearing with her boyfriend, Bongani Mzizana, who is not the baby's father, and traditional healer Duma Hlathi Duda.

The three were arrested by the community and handed to police on August 13.

They had no legal representation, although they had been informed about legal aid.

The court was also told that the day after the killing, the job-hunter, the boyfriend of the baby's mother, came home with the news that he had found work at Cape Town harbour.

Hundreds of people crowded into the courtroom on Friday, and others unable to get in chanted in the corridors until asked to stop.

Msengana said: "My baby was hit in the head by Duda using a kudu horn, not once but several times. Her head was twisted until she fell unconscious and died later."

Asked by prosecutor Nokuzola Sibeko why she had not told the police, Msengana replied: "I was afraid what the healer would do to me."

Mzizana said he dated Msengana for the first time on June 4. He left Duda's house in Section 39, Makhaza, between 9pm and 10pm to find somewhere to sleep.

"When I came back my girlfriend told me the baby was dead. But we did not know what to do because no one had money for burial. All of us decided the baby must be dumped somewhere."

About 3am the baby had been wrapped in a towel and taken to bushes at Kuyasa near Monwabisi Beach where Duda cut the stomach open and removed her intestines.

Mzizana said that his only crime had been to accompany the healer and mother to dump the baby's body.

Msengana said they went back to the house in Section 39, Makhaza. There the intestines were fried.

They were "refined" and placed among muti scattered in the house.

"The healer gave my boyfriend muti mixed with intestine and gave him instructions on how to use it when asking for a job," she said.

The following day, Mzizana went to Cape Town Harbour where, according to court papers, he was granted a job and came back rejoicing and praising the sangoma.

Msengana said the healer told her not to tell anyone what had happened, and that she should stay indoors for two months.

But after a row with Mzizana she left five days later.

Police found the baby's body on July 15 and began to search for the mother.

Residents made arrests and handed the three suspects to police on August 13.

Magistrate H B Oosthuizen refused bail, saying they should remain in custody because the community was angry. The case was adjourned to October 10.

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