Dead Boy Stays Dead – Trainee Sangoma Doesn’t Come Back To Life

THEY CAME in bakkies and donkey carts to see a 15-year-old boy come back from the dead.

For seven hours the family and villagers waited . . . and waited.


The young trainee sangoma from Maphoitsile Village near Taung, in North West, was put in his grave on 4 January by his grieving mother Anna and gogo Catherine. Onalenna had been for sangoma initiation on 6 December and did not return.

But on 28 December came the sad news: Onalenna had drowned during cleansing – a victim, they were told, of the river snake.

According to the family, sangoma Thulaganyo Pitso explained that the river snake would send a black bird to their house as a sign that Onalenna would come back.

Then Onalenna’s mother said the family saw the bird!

“I had hope when I saw the bird coming into our house,” Anna told Daily Sun. “It made a loud noise and left.” And so, on last Tuesday afternoon, people from far and near gathered to see Onalenna come back from the grave.

He was supposed to appear between 11am and noon, but when nothing happened, sangoma Thulaganyo extended the time to 6pm.

Still nothing happened.

When the sangoma disappeared, Anna went looking for her at Lokaleng, where she lives, but without success.

Said Anna: “Originally I was told that my son had died and I went with my sister to identify the body. We buried him. I paid the required deposit money of R1 100 to the sangoma and was willing to see my son coming back healed.

“But now my son is not home in time to start his grade 7 classes.”

Gogo Catherine Gabonewe (84) told Daily Sun: “We want our child. We have buried something that only that sangoma knows.”

Daily Sun tracked down sangoma Thulaganyo but she denied she would bring back the boy. She said she only told the family Onalenna was killed by a river snake.

“I didn’t claim his spirit was in the black bird. God and my ancestors will answer for me.”

Now the family and the village are confused and shocked and don’t know what will happen next.

North West police spokeswoman Sergeant Kealeboga Molale said an inquest docket was registered at Taung cop shop.

“We are still awaiting post mortem results to determine the cause of death,” said Molale.

Photo: Kabelo Tlhabanelo

Front page of The Daily Sun, 16 January 2014

One thought on “Dead Boy Stays Dead – Trainee Sangoma Doesn’t Come Back To Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s