‘Witchcraft’ murder: pupils suspected

Schoolchildren are believed to have been involved in the murders of two Maputaland women who were suspected of witchcraft.

The women were beaten and burnt to death in a remote area on the Mozambique border on Sunday night.

Detectives from the border town of KwaNgwanase, near Kosi Bay, were on Wednesday still investigating the slaying of the 60-year-old women, who died at the hands of groups of people in the Gazini reserve.

Education officials said the department was trying to confirm if schoolchildren had been involved in the deaths.

“We can’t say for sure if children did this. The law must take its course,” education department spokesperson Christi Naude said on Wednesday.


Witchcraft, or Wicca, is a form of neo-Paganism. It is officially recognized as a religion by the U.S. government.

This is a diverse movement that knows no central authority. Practitioners do not all have the same views, beliefs and practices.

While all witches are pagans, not all pagans are witches. Likewise, while all Wiccans are witches, not all witches are Wiccans.

Note: The Witchcraft news tracker includes news items about a wide variety of diverse movements reported in the media as ‘witchcraft.’

Naude added that the department was awaiting further information from its ward manager, who had been sent to Manhlenga High School.

It was at that school that pupils apparently began acting strangely in mid-August, after allegedly becoming possessed.

Captain Jabulani Mdletshe said there had been reports from the area that pupils had “started crying” and, according to some claims, had wanted meat during their hysteria.

The police were told that the pupils had held meetings at which two women had been pinpointed as being responsible for bewitching them.

Mangubane Msaba Zungu and Qibile Thabitha Thusi were subsequently attacked at their homes on Sunday. They were then dragged out to the local sports ground and set alight.

Mdletshe said Zungu was dead when the police arrived, but Thusi died in hospital from her injuries.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday September 7, 2007.
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