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SITEKI – A family was left shocked and traumatised yesterday morning when they found a coffin with a blanket placed on top of it.

The coffin also had a list of names of four family members. The bizarre incident took place at Mavalela at Lukhetseni Umphakatsi under Matsanjeni North Inkhundla. According to Lihle Nhlabatsi, a family member, his father, two uncles and aunt’s names were inscribed on the paper that was found inside the coffin when the family members opened it to establish what was inside. Lihle said the family was still shocked as they did not anticipate such a strange incident to take place at their family yard. He said they reported the incident to the members of the inner council at Lukhetseni Umphakatsi.


“We heard a loud scream from my aunt who found the coffin in the family yard. There was a blanket placed on top of it and when it was opened, a paper with a list of names was found inside. My father’s name is on the list, including two of my uncles and aunt. We don’t know the person who did this and the motive behind it,” he said. Another family member, who asked that her identity be concealed, stated that the family had been informed that this was a scam from a traditional healer who resided in the same community, who had made phone calls to the aunt, demanding that two cows be paid so that a ritual could be performed to avert curses. The family member shared that they were informed by neighbours that this was a scam meant to enrich the inyanga’s family. “They called my aunt and demanded that she comes out of her house and see what was outside the homestead’s yard. She was shocked to find a coffin with a blanket placed on it with the list of,” said the family member. The Indvuna of the community, Mfanasibili Nhlabatsi, said the matter had been reported at Big Bend Police Station.


“We went to the police station to report the matter with the information obtained from the aunt who was called by the people,” he said. Efforts to get a comment from the accused traditional healer hit a snag as his mobile phone was constantly not available on the network after several attempts were made at the time of compiling this report. Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said the family threw the coffin into the Usuthu River and they were expected to retrieve it. She said the family was now afraid to retrieve the coffin in the crocodile infested river. “Police were told that the family reached an agreement with the inyanga to pay the two cows if he reveals the names of the people who stole the cows. It is a matter that involves the inyanga and the family,” she said.