THE GUNMAN said he was an expert at killing – but he struggled to pull the trigger.

“I knew there and then the ancestors were fighting for my life,” said the gobela.


Tumi Motsoeneng from Secunda in Mpumalanga, who’s known as Gobela Skhotheni, said two middle-aged izinkabi accompanied by an older woman wanted to kill her – but instead they confessed.


She said they told her they were sent to murder her and had already been paid for the job.

And yet they didn’t do it!

Skhotheni said shortly after midnight early last month she was woken up by a knock.

“That didn’t worry me,” she told Daily Sun.

“I leave my gates unlocked for people needing help.

“It’s common for people to come at that time of the night.”

But something bothered her.

“It was odd that they refused to be attended by amathwasa, who live in outside rooms,” she said.

They kept knocking at her door.

She asked who they were and a woman’s voice said she was with two men who needed help.

“The men sounded aggressive. They demanded I open the door in spite of amathwasa begging them to go to them.”


When she asked where they came from, one said from Joburg and the other said Vereeniging.

“My spirit wasn’t at peace. Something in me said I shouldn’t open and they left,” she said.

That was the first time the ancestors saved her.

They returned the next morning while she was preparing her indumba. Amathwasa recognised them. The lady stayed in the car.

“They looked scary. I asked repeatedly what they wanted and again the ancestors intervened.

“They stood there, staring. One of them walked back to the car. He held a gun behind his back. Amathwasa were scared. I watched every move they made.”

The man who was holding a gun returned without it.

“He said they’d been sent to kill me but something stopped him. They told me they could’ve broken down the door the previous night and killed me but didn’t.”

They wouldn’t say who’d sent them. S’khotheni, who’s due to give birth to her first child, felt sick after the visit.

“I was stressed and my spirit was disturbed,” she said.

“I feared the worst for my unborn kid. I reached out to my ancestors.

“They assured me I was safe and that they’d protect me. This was comforting. I didn’t bother opening a case with the police.”

She wasn’t sure who wanted her dead, but her ancestors identified a sangoma.

“It’s common for izangoma to be jealous. I’ve been blessed with many amathwasa,” she said.

“ But my spirit is in a good place now and I’m looking forward to being a mother.


Following the incident she only does online consultation and uses courier services to deliver muthi. Only amathwasa do face-to- face consultations. 

Newly-graduated Vuyo Mente said only after the men had left did it all sink in.

“We were sleeping inside the indumba when we heard a woman shouting gobela’s name,” said the sangoma also known as Magijima.

They went to investigate. The woman had brought two men with her. They needed help and were from far.

“We offered to help but they demanded to see our gobela. The next morning they returned. I was standing at the gate.

“I overheard one of the men telling gobela he’d been sent to kill her but failed and didn’t know why because he’s a tough-guy inkabi.

“He was hiding something behind his T-shirt. I was confused and only after they left I was in shock, “ added Magijima.