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Witchdoctors, Sangomas and spirits

Witchdoctors, Sangomas and spirits
Nompumelelo Junior Secondary School, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
According to a report about 56 african schoolgirls of Nompumelelo Junior Secondary School have been involved in
"strange disturbances" since last Thursday, according to school principal Sonwabile Sihlobo. He said a Grade 9 let
out a loud cry during morning prayers on Thursday. Others then joined in. ďAs we were examining her, another one
started crying, then a third joined in and then they fell down. That is how it all started,Ē said Sihlobo, adding that 23
pupils were involved.
The girls say that they see women from a local church; but others donít see them. They start crying, then complain
of cramps on the stomach, feet and waist, after which they fall and repeatedly hit their heads against the ground and
their legs become weak. The girls go as far by claiming they were taken to a dark place and beaten by the women
(they saw) for telling people about them. The principle and police had seen the wounds and marks on their bodies.
The following days more joined them. Classes were conducted outside classrooms because all the other pupils are
scared to go inside.
The girls were admitted to St Elizabeth Hospital and prayer sessions have been held at the school. The matter was
reported to the police.

And this is not where it all ended, the strange behaviour  have extended to two female teachers who have shown
symptoms similar to those of the disturbed pupils. They complained of fatigue, severe stomach and feet cramps
and their legs were very weak.

Psychologists are now trying to get to the bottom of the situation.


This phenomenon is in fact nothing new
It often occurs. In a similar case african pupils at Sekete High School in Kanana near Rustenburg in the north west
of South Africa claimed to have seen dwarf-like creatures entering classrooms. They screamed and collapsed. It is
said the creatures were demons, considering that only children were able to see them.

Evil Spirits
It is believed that there is a connection between this phenomenon and witchcraft/witches/evil spirits. Evil is generally
attributed to witches (umthakathi: Xhosa ) and sorcerers (baloyi: Sotho). Those possessed by evil spirits rely on evil
dark forces or methods to harm others.

A Sangoma in the african culture is not a witch but a traditional healer,
one who specialises in herbal cures and who channels  the spirits of
the ancestors to advise the living on whatever issue. There are of
course evil sangomas. In the past some men and women had been
accused of being an evil sangoma.