Tragedy as sangoma & trainee disappear after being snatched by river snake during cleansing ceremony


Mpumalanga police have warned the public to refrain from crossing, baptising or performing rituals in flooded rivers.

This follows a fatal incident where a 24-year-old sangoma and his trainee (22) disappeared in the Mkhondo River on Monday 18 January.

Police spokesman Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the sangoma, his five trainees and one member of the public went to the river to perform rituals.

“It is said that the sangoma dipped three trainees in the water successfully, however on the fourth trainee, things went terribly wrong as the sangoma and the trainee disappeared in the water,” he said

Police divers were summoned to the scene.

The bodies were found on Tuesday 19 January.

“Police are in dismay as since the beginning of summer a number of people drowned in different parts of the province. And as a result, police are appealing to the public to avoid the danger of getting into flooded rivers and dams,” said Hlathi.

Parents have also been warned and are urged to look after their children, especially now since schools are still closed and more rain is predicted.

Few years ago, a 12 year old boy drowned while swimming with friends.

And soon, the shocking news spread that the 12-year-old had been snatched by a river snake.

Thulani Moloi was playing with his friends along the Jukskei River in Alexandra, Joburg, when the reptile pulled him under the water and drowned him.

Residents called to the scene after the boy’s friends alerted adults that he had disappeared under the water said they had a terrible experience.

Community members told Daily Sun after divers retrieved Thulani’s body from the shallow river, the snake came back and tried to drag it back into the water.

Residents said the incident happened after the water rescue team had wrapped up the body and left it on the river bank for the pathologists to collect. They said while they were waiting, they saw a big snake jumping out of the river. It only vanished after everyone started screaming.

Joburg Emergency Services spokesman Robert Mulaudzi confirmed the body of a drowned boy was retrieved.

When the SunTeam asked Mulaudzi whether a river snake had killed the child, he said: “There will always be those kinds of rumours, as we know in our culture that rivers are associated with snakes. The same thing happened in Diepsloot.”

— Daily Sun

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