Home News Sangoma accused of abducting Keitumetse is ‘desperate’ to return home

Sangoma accused of abducting Keitumetse is ‘desperate’ to return home

The sangoma accused of kidnapping Keitumetse Magwadibane wants to return to her home after she was forced out of Kimberley and her house destroyed. Picture: Soraya Crowie

The sangoma who was accused of abducting five-year-old Keitumetse Magwadibane in 2016 says that she desperately wants to return home and wants the residents of Kimberley to accept her.

THE SANGOMA who was accused of abducting five-year-old Keitumetse Magwadibane, who went missing five years ago, says that she desperately wants to return home and wants the residents of Kimberley to accept her.

Nora Mazibuko claimed that she was assaulted and almost burned alive after she was accused and arrested for the abduction of Keitumetse in 2016.

Keitumetse went missing on July 14, 2016 after she went to a tuck shop in Phuthanang with a friend.

She has still not been found.

Mazibuko and three co-accused – Maruping Kgwabane, Clarence Mkhonto and Joseph Mgobo – were arrested in connection with the matter after a pair of tracksuit pants believed to belong to Keitumetse were apparently found inside Mazibuko’ home.

The Galeshewe Mgistrate’s Court scrapped all charges against the accused on November 23, 2016.

The court stated at the time that the State had failed to deliver sufficient evidence linking the accused to the crime.

All the accused were released.

Tensions had flared up during the investigation of the case and members of the community burned down Mazibuko’s house as well as her daughter’s shanty.

Mazibuko said her entire life was turned upside down because of the incident and that she had been wrongfully accused of a crime that she did not commit.

“I was accused of taking the child … and I never did. The court has even found me not guilty, yet the community still accuses me of knowing the whereabouts of the child. I have no knowledge where the child could be,” Mazibuko said this week.

“What I long for now is to return to my home and to lead a normal life with my children. After I was released, I had to flee to Pretoria. My children’s lives have also been thrown upside down as I had to take them out of school. My eldest children often cry and ask me why the people of Kimberley hate them. They have also been traumatised and negatively impacted by this matter.

“The law has taken its course and I want to return to stay in my house.”

Mazibuko said she has since opened a case against those who assaulted her.

She wept, saying that she had almost been killed because of the allegations.

“I was horribly tortured during my arrest and I almost died. There were those who even wanted to burn me alive after they could not get me to confess that I had kidnapped the child. I was not willing to admit to something I did not do. I have suffered severely.

“My house that I want to return to has been burned down completely and I have lost all my belongings.

“I have opened a case against those believed to be on the front-line of those actions. I want the law to restore my name and to take action against those who have destroyed my life. It is unacceptable that a person gets cleared of an accusation yet there are those who still want to convict you. I have done absolutely nothing wrong, but am seen as a criminal. I want the law to make this matter clear to the community and also state how it came to be that I was found to be not guilty.

“I obeyed and went through all the processes of the law when I was accused. The same needs to apply to those whom I have laid charges against.”

Mazibuko said she has not been in contact with the Magwadibane family, but said she was willing to explain her case to them should they so wish.

“I have not contacted the parents of the missing child. I do not have any reason to do so because I do not have their child or have any knowledge of what happened to their child. I also cannot go and grant an apology as that would indicate that I had a hand in the matter. I am willing to sit with the parents should it be in the presence of law enforcement officials. However, there is no information I can relay to them with regards to their missing child.”

She added that although she is aware that the community might be opposed to her returning home, law enforcement agencies need to ensure that she can return safely.

“I have obeyed all the regulations. The law now needs to be obeyed by the community. It is now up to the law enforcement officials to ensure that I am safe and not harmed.”

Mazibuko pointed out that her calling as a sangoma is to heal.

“I have been practising as a sangoma from a young age. This is a gift and I cannot wish it away. As a sangoma, you are called to bring healing. I have never been involved in human trafficking. There is a belief that because I am a sangoma I have taken the child.”

She noted that charges against a fifth person were withdrawn, yet that person did not suffer the same fate as her.

“There was another suspect, Eddie, who was arrested for the same case after we were released. That person has never been persecuted the way I was. The community has not given that suspect the same harsh treatment they gave me, yet we were accused of the same crime. Why can the same not apply to me?

“The law and the government need to intervene urgently as I cannot live with this cloud over my head forever,” Mazibuko cried.

Keitumetse’s parents, Frank and Margaret Magwadibane, said the only thing they want from Mazibuko is to be told where their child is.

“She can return home once she has told us where our child is. She wants to continue with her life, but how does she expect us to continue when our child is still missing. We are not able to continue as normal as we are still looking for answers.

“We are willing to sit with her, however, she needs to come clean.

“We also long to continue our lives as normal but are unable to do that without knowing what happened or where our child is,” they said.

The sangoma accused of kidnapping Keitumetse Magwadibane, almost six years ago, wants to return to her home after she was forced out of Kimberley and her house destroyed. Pictures: Soraya Crowie
An emotional Frank and Margaret Magwadibane at the Galeshewe Magistrate’s Court over five years ago, where they had hoped to get closure following the disappearance of their five-year-old daughter, Keitumetse. File picture: Soraya Crowie

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