It has been a month since Doctor Leshaba disappeared in a dam in Mmakgatle village near Marble Hall, but his family has still not reported him missing.
This is because sangomas convinced them that the 30-year-old man is alive under the water and is being trained by his ancestors to be a sangoma.
Leshaba fell in the Lepelle Dam on March 4 while fishing with his friend, Willie Boshielo.
Boshielo said his friend was a "clown". He said that he thought Leshaba was joking when he fell into the river.
"We didn't take him seriously when he screamed for help because he liked to act like a comedian. We realised it was serious when minutes went by and he did not come up," Boshielo said.
He said he informed the family and the police. The family said that the Motetema police distanced themselves because it is a spiritual matter.
Kgolane Leshaba, Doctor's mother, said: "Four traditional healers said that my son was with his ancestors who were performing rites on him because he is a student sangoma.
"They suggested that we sing traditional songs every evening at the dam to stir the spirits of the ancestors until he comes back."
Limpopo provincial police spokesman Senior Superintendent Motlafela Mojapelo yesterday said: "There is no such thing. As soon as a drowning is reported, we immediately send our divers out."