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Villagers expel bishop over 'devilish' ritual

By Benson Ntlemo | Jan 04, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A CHURCH bishop in Shigalo village in Malamulele, Limpopo, who has been banished from the area, has refused to leave, saying his expulsion is illegal.

Bishop Eric Soyane of the Apostolic Church in Shigalo was banned by the traditional authority.

He was given three days to pack his belongings and leave the stand he had been occupying for five years.

His banishment follows an incident last week in which a dove that Soyane had allegedly used for rituals flew in the direction of the family of Johanna Hobyane, also a resident of Shigalo.

The dove had been adorned with red wool on its neck and also had needles on its body.

"After the Hobyane family got a shock on finding such a dove on their premises, they asked around about its origins," a source said.

"They subsequently found out that Soyane had bought a dove a day earlier. They went to the tribal office and a case was opened against him. He appeared and was expelled."

Soyane has confirmed the story.

"A man from Nkomo came to me and told me he was suffering from a certain ailment and had been told by a prophet in Venda that he should approach any faith healer who must use a needle and stab a dove with it.

"Wool should also be used on the dove and the man would be healed.

"That is what I did," Soyane said.

He said he had nowhere to go since his children were attending school and no order was made through the courts.

Shigalo tribal council secretary Thompson Ntlhamu confirmed that Soyane had been expelled from the area.

"We do not understand his motives for using needles and we feel it is something devilish and we do not need someone like him at Shigalo," Ntlhamu said.

Meanwhile, members of the community who spoke to Sowetan said they did not trust Soyane after theincident.

Soyane is from Mozambique and is the second Mozambican immigrant within a month to be embroiled in a controversy in Malamulele.

Three weeks ago Phillip Mondlane drew the attention of scores of people from Giyani, Malamulele and Thohoyandou.

He had been found one morning outside the gate of the house of Jeffrey Hlungwani at Shitlhelani village in Malamulele.

Dressed in traditional healers' regalia, Mondlane seemed to be in a trance and could not talk and was unmindful of people who were laughing at him.

Police spokesperson Inspector Alson Mapindani said Mondlane had mental problems and was taken to Malamulele Hospital where he was treated and later discharged.

Many people had thought Mondlane was practising witchcraft.


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