Kids dig up auntie so she can live again

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Two Mpumalanga teenagers and a 33-year-old man appeared briefly in a packed Mhala magistrate's court in Thulamahashe, near Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, on Friday in connection with the illegal exhumation of a woman's body.

The man, Zacharia Tivane, and the teenagers, a girl and a boy aged 16 and 17 respectively, allegedly exhumed the body after experiencing a vision from God in which they were told that the woman would be resurrected.

They were not asked to plead to charges of violating a grave and a body and were remanded to December 20.

The three shocked the village of Godide, near Manyeleti Game Reserve, when they dug up the body of Lindiwe Mogwena on Thursday last week.

The young brother and sister claimed that God visited as they slept, 15 days earlier.

"The woman was their uncle's wife and was buried in February," Mhala police spokesman Constable Robert Makhubele said.

"But that did not stop the dedicated visionaries from digging up her body nearly a year later, with the help of a distant relative."

The teenagers told their mother that God had instructed them to fast and pray for 14 days and then to exhume Mogwena's body.

They youngsters told the police that God had instructed them to exhume the body in the early morning so that the woman could come back to life at exactly midday.

It is not clear how the teenagers managed to convince the older suspect to help them unearth the body, but it is believed that he had fasted with them - though he was seen smoking a cigarette while digging in the grave.

The police were called to the scene, but by the time they arrived Mogwena's body had been wrapped in plastic sheeting and placed in one of the rooms of her home.

Her open grave, one of two graves in the back yard of the home, had been excavated in such a way that the tombstone had collapsed.

"The smell from the house in which the body had been placed was unbearable, but the trio remained inside and continued to pray for the woman to come to life again," said a shocked villager, Charlotte Khoza.

Constable Makhubele said: "We wanted to arrest them there and then, but some family members begged us to give the suspects the benefit of the doubt until the midday deadline arrived.

"We reluctantly did so but the woman did not came back to life.

"So we instructed them to rebury her body and then arrested them."