SANGOMA Nosipho Sibiya has come to the rescue of former jailbird Yamkela Mavundla.

Noshipo (54), known as Isibhamu in her kasi of Zola in Soweto, signed the 29-year-old’s release forms and accepted him into her home when no one else wanted to.

Yamkela was bust in 2012 for armed robbery.

He was sentenced to 15 years, but only served eight before being released last March.

Nosipho swore under oath that she’d take responsibility for monitoring Yamkela, and report any crimes he might commit to the police.

She said she met Yamkela during one of her regular visits to comfort inmates.

“I started visiting them after my brother was arrested. During one visit, I was touched when I saw prisoners crying because they didn’t have regular visitors. I donated food and books to help ease their loneliness,” she said.

Isibhamu and Yamkela has a great bond of mother and son. photo by Noko Mashilo. Photo by

Nosipho said she had a spiritual connection with Yamkela.

“I first ignored his calls until I threw the bones to check up on him. I found out that he was a nice person, but didn’t have a good relationship with his family,” she said.

“He is a funny and respectful child, and has connected well with my six children.”

She said having a child was not only about blood.

“Therefore, Yamkela is my son too and I discipline him like any other child in my house. I will be visiting his mother in the Eastern Cape soon so she knows that her son is in good hands.”


Nosipho said this was not her first time helping inmates who were rejected by their families.

“I have already signed for four inmates, so Yamkela is the fifth one,” she said.

Yamkela said Nosipho saved him when no one else would.

“I am blessed to have her in my life. She supported me spiritually, physically and emotionally. I am a Christian and she’sa sangoma, but we accommodate each other,” he said.

Nosipho’s daughter, Jabulisile Lekwadu (24), said she took Yamkela as her brother.

“My mother taught me that no one is a stranger in our home. We are all family.”