Sangoma curses horn to kill users

2012-04-21 00:00

ANYONE using products made from the horn of a rhino poached at Thanda Game Reserve this week, could have some unexpected side-effects if the predictions of a curse placed on the horn are true.

A reportedly “powerful and respected” Zululand sangoma has offered her services in the fight against rhino poaching.

This comes after the killing of an endangered black rhino at the Thanda Private Game Reserve in Northern KwaZulu-Natal earlier this week.

The sangoma refused to comment, saying that would jeopardise the spell.

Dulcie Oliver, assistant general manager at the game reserve said she can’t give too many details on what exactly the sangoma did as everyone has been sworn to secrecy. “The only thing I can say at the moment is the horn has been cursed and bad things will happen to whoever touches it,” she said.

The sangoma, who charges anything from R500 to R4 000 for her services, has helped the Thanda Private Game Reserve before on different cases. “This is the fifth or sixth time we are using her and she is helpful. We believe that this is going to work,” Oliver said.

In a statement, Pierre Delvaux, the MD for Thanda Private Game Reserve said: “The carcass was discovered late on Monday afternoon during a patrol of the Mduna Royal Reserve.”

The rhino’s horn had been removed. It was not known whether it was still alive when it was removed.

“Signs show that the rhino did run for several hundred metres before collapsing in dense bush after being targeted.

“Thanda Private Game Reserve and the local community leaders, including His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelethini, whose own reserve lies within the Mduna Royal Reserve, are enraged at this tragic discovery,” Delvaux said. He said they were doing everything to “bring these criminals to book”.

“Thanda is implementing measured to ensure that poachers will be in for a surprise should they wish to target these community-owned rhino in future,” he said.

On the sangoma’s curse, he said: “On reaching its destination, the end user will become terminally ill from its use.”

Siza Mhlongo, president of Traditional Healers of South Africa, said bad things can happen to a person after a spell has been cast on them. “They can have bad luck or get hit by a car.”

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife rhino security co-ordinator Jabulani Ngubane confirmed to Weekend Witness that a male black rhino had been killed at the Thanda reserve.

He said it seemed as though poachers had now moved from parastatals to private game reserves.

“We will now be strengthening and focusing our resources in the private sector,” he said.

This brings the total number of rhino killed in the KwaZulu-Natal to 19 this year.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Affairs Department has appealed to the public to assist in fighting rhino poaching.

Members of the Matsulu community helped South African National Parks apprehend a suspected rhino poacher.

“The department welcomes the Matsulu community’s involvement in combating rhino poaching as the anti-poaching war intensifies whilst poachers also become brazen,” said department spokesperson Albi Modise.

“It is encouraging to note that 113 suspected poachers have been arrested this year.”

Six suspected poachers have been arrested in KZN. Last year 448 rhinos were killed and 232 poachers arrested.

Modise said 182 rhinos have been now poached in South Africa this year. “The Kruger National Park continues to bear the brunt of the losses, with 111 rhinos having been killed illegally since the beginning of this year,” he said. Another 25 rhinos were killed illegally in Limpopo, 19 in KwaZulu-Natal and 17 in North West. The other 21 were poached in the rest of the country.

“The department once again calls on all South Africans to report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip-offs that could lead to arrests and prevention of illegal killing to 0800 205 005.”

• lunga.biyela@witness.co.za

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