Head in freezer: Suspect 'used muti'
Ingrid Oellermann, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg - A man charged with the murder of a youth whose frozen head was found in a freezer at France township in January 2011, had practised muthi regularly in order to make his business prosper, his former girlfriend testified on Monday.
Roger Thusi, 30, pleaded not guilty before Acting Judge MT Ncube and assessors to the murder of 18-year-old Loyiso Jokweni on December 26, 2010.
His girlfriend at the time, Santo Princess Ndlovu, gave evidence that the frozen head was found in the freezer compartment of a fridge in her home at France on January 16, 2011.
Ndlovu said she had initially been “chased away” when she wanted to follow police and Thusi to the fridge because she was carrying her child. However, when she heard police say they found the head she could not contain herself and “slipped through”. She saw the human head in a dish.
Thusi had earlier told the police that the head was “not in this fridge, but at [Mduduzi] Manqele’s homestead”.
When the head was found he “apologised” to Ndlovu and commented that “this is all because of Manqele’s rituals”, Ndlovu said.
She explained to the court that Manqele was a traditional healer whom Thusi consulted. She said she had even once gone to Manqele’s homestead in the Mafakathini area to “check up” on Thusi, who was involved in a 14-day ritual there involving the slaughter of two goats.
Manqele was also charged together with Thusi with Jokweni’s murder last year, but the charges against him were later withdrawn due to insufficient evidence.
The State however alleges in its indictment against Thusi, that Manqele was involved in the murder and decapitation of Jokweni. According to the indictment, he also allegedly cut off Jokweni’s penis and testicles before throwing the decapitated body into a river.
Afterwards, the State alleges that Thusi and Manqele drove back to Manqele’s homestead where they “performed some rituals” with the victim’s body parts.
Thusi allegedly took possession of Jokweni’s head “which would in time cause his business to prosper”.
Ndlovu testified on Monday that her two-year relationship with Thusi ended the day he was arrested by police and the head was found in the freezer at her home.
She said Thusi had habitually used muthi to make his business (as a hawker selling chips and sweets) prosper.
When he returned from selling his goods he would “save a portion for his ancestors and another portion was for the household”.
She told the court about an incident where a snake had slithered into the house, causing her to scream and call for Thusi, who came running and hit out at the reptile. He was sorry for his actions, however, as he said it had come in response to one of his rituals and he later held another ritual and slaughtered two chickens as an apology. The snake was eventually placed live into the freezer.
Thusi’s attorney, Kelvin Singh, said Thusi denies all knowledge of the head found in the freezer.
He will also allege that he was assaulted by police at the time of his arrest. The case is proceeding.