Sangoma set upon by mob

2010-09-27 00:00

POLICE saved a sangoma from death in Pietermaritzburg yesterday afternoon when a large mob assaulted him with stones, sticks, knobkerries and knives for allegedly stealing another man’s wife.

Ian Oliver sustained serious head and body injuries in the assault. His mother, Cicilia Oliver (72), and her 14-year-old granddaughter, Anna, were also targeted in the attack on their home outside Imbali.

The Witness visited Oliver at Edendale Hospital and found him lying in pain in the surgical outpatient department. When the reporter attempted to talk to him he jumped in shock — apparently still fearing for his life. Nurses asked that he be left to rest as he was still traumatised.

His mother said the heavily armed attackers, who are from Slangspruit, accused her son of stealing another man’s wife.

The woman whom Oliver allegedly stole had been living with the Oliver family for about three months while he was training her to become a sangoma. Apparently she was no longer with her husband.

“The woman’s sister came to my house with a large group of people and accused my son of sleeping with her,” said Cicilia.

When the group arrived, however, Oliver was in church. They demanded that the woman pack her bags and go back to her husband.

“As they were leaving with the woman, after assaulting us, they saw Ian returning from church and chased him with weapons. He tried to escape but they caught up with him,” said his mother.

The Witness met Cicilia and Anna carrying their bags as they were leaving their one-room house to shelter with their relatives.

They said the attackers had threatened to return at night to burn their house down.

“My son was training this woman to be a sangoma, but they blamed him for stealing her from her husband.

“Her husband was not sending her food and my son decided to look after her. Somehow she was not visiting her husband,” she said.

An eyewitness to the attack said she heard how the mob yelled that they would kill Oliver, but the police arrived just in time.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan confirmed the attack.

She said no arrest has yet been made as police are waiting for Oliver’s condition to improve before taking a statement.

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