Chilling horror of muthi

2014-07-19 00:00

WHAT are human body parts used for in muthi practises?

Following the murder and dismembering of little Lungisani “Kiki” Ntuli (4) in Pongola recently, Weekend Witness wanted clarity on why muthi murders continue to occur.

What was revealed, makes for chilling reading.

Testicles are for virility purposes while fat from the breasts or abdomen are for luck.

But not just anyone’s body parts are used and the donor is often carefully selected and is sometimes even a relative.

In a 2008 research article, Rhodes University’s Professor Louise Vincent — who holds a Master of Philosophy from Oxford University — said motives in muthi murders differ but “economic prosperity, sexual potency and success in matters romantic” come out tops.

Referencing several experts and academic papers, she said the genitalia of young boys and virgin girls are especially highly prized on account of being “uncontaminated by sexual contact”.

The article titled “New Magic for New Times: Muti Murder in Democratic South Africa”, which formed part of a collaborative series on tribes and health, said business and financial concerns featured equally strongly, while body parts could fetch up to R10 000 each.

“It is said to be common for human skulls to be buried in the foundations of new buildings to ensure that business conducted there thrives, for body parts to be buried on farms to ensure good harvests and for severed hands to be built into shop entrances to beckon to prospective clients. A human head is sometimes prescribed for a failing business: “If the business is not doing well, get a boy’s or a girl’s head — someone who has a future — and your business will have a future too’,” said the article.

‘Investigating officers are not trained’

SUPERSTITION and the belief in black magic by the police could destroy any investigation into the murder of toddler Lungisani “Kiki” Ntuli.

And South Africa’s Western criminal justice system could further disadvantage authorities in finding the murderer of Lungisani whose dismembered body was discovered inside a clinic run by a Pongola church two weeks ago.

While police are still not sure if the child’s death was a muthi murder, a leading criminologist believes occultism should not be ruled out either.

University of KwaZulu-Natal criminologist Professor Robert Peacock said it is likely that the murderer was known to the victim.

“Even some of the officers dealing with a murder of this nature take the threat of black magic very seriously while superstition is equally important. Our investigating officers are not trained to handle this type of crime,” he said.

He said while there was no evidence linking Satan worship to murder, there have been “incidents where ritual killings” may have occurred.

“What makes this murder not look like a straight muthi killing is generally the body parts are quickly taken to an inyanga for his potions, but here there seems to be a delay. It could have been a ritual crime. But even in the rural areas accessing the dark side is a huge no no,” said Peacock.

Even the police have conceded that the investigation will be difficult after vio­lent protesters destroyed the crime scene hours after the body parts were discovered.

But Peacock admits that the police would have a further difficulty as it is “tainted with a crisis of legitimacy”.

“There is already a possibility of mob justice and this is where it becomes so hard to prove who the criminal is.

“Due to the nature of the climate, body parts are seldom found. When parts are found they are in a terrible state,” said Peacock.

Dismembered Pongola boy to be laid to rest

LUNGISANI “Kiki” Ntuli, the four-year-old boy from Pongola whose body was discovered dismembered in a local church two weeks ago, will be laid to rest today.

The shocking image of the remaining body parts were posted on social networks, but to date, there has been no indication that his torso has been recovered.

During an interview with The Witness last week, his grandmother pleaded with the person who dismembered him to return the missing body parts so he could be buried.

The funeral at Ncotshane township is expected to be attended by senior leaders of the provincial government including MEC for Social Development Weziwe Thusi and MEC for Economic Development and Tourism Mike Mabuyakhulu who claimed close relations with the child’s paternal family.

Call to stop politicising Kiki’s murder

KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu has appealed to opposition political parties, warning them to refrain from politicising the murder of Lungisani “Kiki” Ntuli (4) at Pongola.

Mchunu’s comment follows a statement by IFP leader in the Legislature, Blessed Gwala, who called on the MEC to assemble a team to investigate murder cases in the area.

Mchunu said police are doing their best, working with the community to ensure the matter is investigated thoroughly.

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