Cult graves to reveal clues

News24 (South Africa), June 25, 2003,,2-7-1442_1378583,00.html
Cindy Preller and Shaun Smith

Umtata – A post mortem will be held on Thursday on the bodies of eight members of the Arc sect exhumed on Monday.

Vegetables had been planted over their shallow graves.

Police officials wearing masks and gloves and members of the public were cheered by a large crowd as they exhumed the bodies.

At one point police used teargas and fired warning shots to keep the crowds away.

Inhabitants of the Mandela settlement have been complaining for a long time about the strange rituals of the sect.

Men, women and children were not allowed to live together, and family members were separated in the belief each would be taken away individually.

Sect members of all ages also fasted for days on end. They gathered together for hours every day to pray in a church hall they’d built, and children were kept out of school to devote themselves to preparations for the day they would be taken away.

The ages of people buried in the shallow graves varied from 15 to 55. – Cindy Preller and Shaun Smith

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