Anger over 'reburial' of chief

Members of the Kgaphola royal family stand next to the grave of chief Mahlophi Kgaphola. / ANTONIO MUCHAVAVE
Members of the Kgaphola royal family stand next to the grave of chief Mahlophi Kgaphola. / ANTONIO MUCHAVAVE


A Limpopo man is accused of digging up the grave of his great-grandfather and burying the remains in his backyard.

Serepong Kgaphola was accused by relatives of exhuming the remains of chief Mahlophi Kgaphola, who died in the 19th century.

The 58-year-old man said his family had undergone a series of misfortunes, leading him to take "soil" from the chief's grave, to a grave situated next to where the chief's three children were buried .

The grave of the late chief, who was buried in Talane village near Jane Furse, was exhumed on Saturday and the remains reburied in Mphanama village, about 9km from the original grave, according to Nkopeleng Kgaphola, who is the current chief of Talane community.

Kgaphola claimed Serepong did not consult with the royal family prior to the incident, adding that they would not have agreed to "the exhumation".

He said he witnessed the incident.

However, Serepong said only soil was taken for re-burial.

"All we needed was to take the spirit of my great-grandfather for burial next to the graves of his children in Mphanama," said Serepong.

He said his daughter had fallen ill "on several occasions" and upon consultation they were told the spirit of their great-grandfather was not living in peace as his remains needed to be buried next to the graves of his children.

 An elderly member of the royal family, granny Mantlatle Kgaphola, said she believed the old chief would not rest peacefully in the new grave.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said police were investigating.

Cultural expert Mathole Motshekga said there was nothing wrong for a family member to listen to the cries in the form of spirit of a departed relative.

"If a spirit is involved and a family member chooses to listen to the cries of a departed relative, there is nothing wrong with moving the remains to where the deceased wants to be. That would be to put the spirit of that person to a peaceful rest."

He said, however, family members had a responsibility to consult each other before such decisions were taken.

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