A MAN ran to warn the villagers he’d seen somebody digging in the graveyard in the middle of the night. 

Screaming and shouting, the angry villagers ran to see what was going on. 

THEY ARRIVED TO FIND THEIR WORST NIGHTMARE HAD COME TRUE! 

“How are we going to connect with our ancestors? We want her body parts back.”

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When they got to the graveyard, the Khwinanas found that it was the grave of Epha Khwinana, a relative who died in 2001 of natural causes, whose grave had been violated in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

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Aunt dug mother’s children, Johannah Khwinana (Blue Dress), and her daughter in law Martha kekana are still shocked after their family grave was violated. Photos By Raymond Morare

The grave had been opened up, and when they investigated they found what they thought were some of the dead woman’s ribs were lying on the ground.

Epha’s son Koketso Cholo (19) said a sangoma was behind the evil act. He said the previous day a sangoma came to him and said he needed to visit Epha’s grave.

“That man said some of our relatives were sick and needed help,” said Koketso.

He showed him the grave in Carousel View Village in Hammanskraal, Tshwane.

“Then we left the graveyard. I know it was him because I showed him the grave. If he had more time he’d have tampered with more graves,” he said.

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According to the family and community, the thief or thieves were gone when they got to the grave. Bones were left behind and some ribs were missing.

The Khwinanas pleaded with the sangoma to bring back the ribs. They were worried the bones may have been stolen for muthi.

Koketso’s gogo Johanna (70) said they were shocked.

“We don’t know what else the man took from the grave and that makes us nervous,” she said.

“How are we going to connect with our ancestors? We want her body parts back.”

The man Koketso described has not been seen since. Community leader and Klaj Funeral Service representative Jonny Lebese (35) said they wanted to clear their name.

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Aunt dug mother’s children, Johannah Khwinana (Blue Dress), and her daughter in law Martha kekana are still shocked after their family grave was violated. Photos By Raymond Morare

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Aunt dug mother’s children, Johannah Khwinana (Blue Dress), and her daughter in law Martha kekana are still shocked after their family grave was violated. Photos By Raymond Morare

“Some people are under the impression we as mortuary owners tried to steal the coffin. That’s not true,” he said. 

He claimed the person who violated the grave was known to the community. 

“He steals people’s body parts and makes muthi.”

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Chairman of African Dingaka organisation, Andrew Somo (48), said: “This has affected us because we always warn and tell these people they must not use body parts to heal people. Traditional healers use herbs, not people’s body parts,” he said.

“This person is not a sangoma. He’s a monster. The people must call us when such things happen so that we know who these fake traditional healers are.” 

Captain Sarah Lesabane said a case of violation of a grave was opened. No one had been arrested and police were investigating.

“The remains are still in the grave. We’re waiting for the forensic team to come and exhume the body and take it to the government mortuary,” said the cop.

“The remains will be examined to determine if there were other parts stolen.”

The cop said their members were on guard at the scene.

) When buried six feet down without a coffin in ordinary soil, an adult takes eight to 12 years to decompose. A body in a coffin takes many years longer, depending on the type of wood used.