Mining vein that heals

Eastern Cape faith healer, Nomthunzi Joyce Mali, well known as Ma Ngconde.
Eastern Cape faith healer, Nomthunzi Joyce Mali, well known as Ma Ngconde.

Mvuyo Mati

Mvuyo Mati

The belief in the power of faith healers is as legendary as the tales about mysticism and the supernatural.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, thousands of miners from as far afield as Gauteng and the Free State spent their weekends visiting the spiritual healer at Cancele in the Mount Frere district of the Eastern Cape.

Many people put their faith in the power of Cancele's spiritual healer, a woman who to this day is still known only as MaRadebe or MaMthimkhulu.

She used to draw numerous people, including women, children and the aged, from many parts of the country. Faithful supporters believed the woman possessed supernatural power and that she was miraculously capable of solving their problems.

Robert Mthamzeli, a former miner at President Steyn in Welkom, remembers how many of his colleagues used to prepare themselves for the trip to the former Transkei.

"Many of them would collect plastic containers and buy candles before leaving in buses and taxis for Cancele," he said.

"When they came back, they would bring the plastic bottles filled with water, which they drank and bathed in."

Though not a faith healer but famous during that period, was the late Khotso Sethuntsha, a traditional healer from Dimbaza, in the Eastern Cape.

Attracting people from across the land, Sethuntsha was extremely wealthy and had more than 20 wives and about 50 children.