Witchdoctors perform ritual for Mandela

Xhosa sangomas in Mgwali village, Eastern Cape of South Africa performing a cultural dance.
Xhosa sangomas in Mgwali village, Eastern Cape of South Africa performing a cultural dance.

A group of Gauteng traditional healers performed a ritual for former president Nelson Mandela on Wednesday, outside the Pretoria hospital where he has been treated for 47 days.

The healers burnt incense in a pot, knelt on the ground, sprinkled tobacco, sang and summoned the Madiba ancestors to heal Mandela.

Khubane Mashele, the chairwoman of the traditional healers’ interim council in Gauteng, asked the spirits of those who had passed during the struggle to help heal the anti-apartheid icon.

“We summon the great kings and soldiers of the struggle to help us in calling the ancestors of Mandela, and help him heal because we still need him,” Mashele said in xiTsonga during the ritual.

Earlier in the day, a group of traditional leaders from the North West arrived at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital to deliver messages of support and a bucket of flowers.

Kgosi Madoda Zibi, chairman of the house of North West traditional leaders, said they hoped to convey a message to the Mandela family.

“We have been mandated by the North West traditional leaders to come and express our well-wishes,” Zibi said.

“We just want to thank him for his contribution to the liberation of his country.”

Zibi and his delegation were told to place the flowers and a card at the wall outside the facility’s Celliers Street entrance, where messages of support had been left since Mandela was hospitalised on June 8 with a recurring lung infection. – Sapa