Chimaimba Banda

Science and traditional beliefs have clashed at a small village in North West following the discovery of a stillborn, deformed lamb - which some believed was half-human.

Solomon Mentor (64), of Itireleng village near Pampierstad, discovered the carcass of one of his ewes on Sunday.

"Because of its big stomach, we were expecting (to find) between four and six lambs," he said.

The sheep was cut up to be fed to dogs - and the abnormally big, deformed lamb was found.

Mentor told The Star he immediately called the police. But they, too, were baffled and called in an agriculturist, who said too much water in the ewe's stomach had killed her and caused her lamb's deformity.

But villagers who flocked to the homestead, including chief headman Goitseone Galeshewe, did not buy the scientific theory and speculated on other causes such as bestiality and witchcraft. So Chief Galeshewe brought in a team of traditional doctors, who would have thrown bones, in a bid to unravel the mystery.

"But I did not allow them to throw bones. I don't believe in bones," said Mentor, a staunch member of the Lutheran Church.

Galeshewe apparently backed down. "He could not force me. He said it was very strange that the lamb looked like a human being. (But) I believe the words of the agriculturist," said Mentor.

Gavin Thomson, director of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, ruled out the possibility that the lamb could have been born as a result of bestiality.