Healers-to-be fail to wake up after drinking imbiza

McKeed Kotlolo

McKeed Kotlolo

Two Mpumalanga female trainee sangomas died after drinking a concoction prepared for them by a trainer in Witbank.

Maria Vilakazi, 43, of Ogies and Thoko Khumalo, no age given, of Hlalanikahle Section, Vosman in Witbank, died at a female traditional healer's home where they were training as healers on Tuesday. The healer is 37.

The deceased were among a group of trainees who arrived for training from different places in Mpumalanga between November and January 3.

Captain Klaas Maloka of the Highveld area police at KwaMhlanga said: "Four trainees were given a concoction prepared by their trainer as part of their training on Monday evening."

He said they drank the concoction at about 6pm and later went to sleep in an outside room they were sharing.

On Tuesday morning the healer visited their room to wake them up, but only two of the trainees responded.

The healer held some discussions with the two trainees and later again tried to wake the other two.

"She apparently became concerned when they would not wake up and also by the fact that green and yellow stuff was oozing from their mouths.

"After attempts to resuscitate them had failed, she alerted the families and the police," said Maloka.

The healer, Betty Thimba, of Vosman, confirmed the incident which, she said, baffled her.

"I still cannot understand what happened or caused the deaths. The imbiza was meant for cleaning the blood system."

She denied allegations that foam was coming out of the mouths of the trainees.

"There was nothing from their mouths or on them," she said.

The surviving trainees were continuing with the training, she said.

Maloka said police were investigating the matter and the docket will be referred to the court for a decision once the investigations were completed.