HOUNDED: Mmabikie Mogoma was banned by fellow villagers. Pic. John Matona. 01/10/08. © Unknown.
HOUNDED: Mmabikie Mogoma was banned by fellow villagers. Pic. John Matona. 01/10/08. © Unknown.

Elisha Molefe

Elisha Molefe

Mmabikie Mogoma thought she was being neighbourly and generous when she gave a neighbour's daughter a pair of good jeans.

Instead she has now been banished from the Ramatlabama village near the Botswana border outside Mafikeng in North West.

Mogoma, 65, has been accused of trying to bewitch the neighbour's daughter.

"I was being kind," she said yesterday. "The pair of jeans was in good condition, almost new.

"I had bought it for my daughter, but it was small. I thought it would fit the girl next door," she said.

Mogoma has been hiding in another village about 80 kilometres away. She has been trying to get her relatives to help her settle there.

Sowetan traced her to the village near Lichtenburg.

"I don't want them to know where I am now," said Mogoma, a grandmother of two. "People will go out of their way to hurt those they don't like.

"I think I am still not safe, so I'd rather keep a low profile. People in this village know the story and agree that it is silly.

"What I did was neighbourly. I have over the years always given clothes and other things to my neighbour's children without problems. I am a generous person.

"I never looked on them as poor but as people and neighbours. We always give things to one another."

She has been thrown out of her home with her family of three daughters and two grandsons.

She said she was amazed when she saw a group of people toyi-toying towards her house two weeks ago, demanding that the "witch" be killed.

She was saved by the chief and his men but told to leave the village.

Chief Gustav Shole prevented reporters from speaking to the family of the 16-year-old girl who received the pants.

But neighbours said the girl had complained to her mother that she felt something in her stomach after wearing the jeans.

Mogoma was accused of trying to bewitch the girl.

A tearful Mogoma said since the villagers turned against her she does not know what is happening at her house.

"I don't know what has become of my two grandchildren," she said.

She told Sowetan that she wanted to go home.

Inspector Martin Setlhabi confirmed that the police rescued Mogoma when angry villagers wanted to kill her.

"She was saved by the swift reaction of the police," Setlhabi said.

"We are arranging for her to go back to her home.

"We have asked the chief to hold a meeting with residents so that we can discuss the issue."

He said the meeting would be held next Thursday.