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Ritual murder prophecy divides family

ACCUSED: Motswadi brothers


The death of a young man of Tsutsubega settlement in the North West district has ended in bad blood between the family of the deceased and their in-aw whom they have accused of murder and threatened to kill.

21 – year old Therisanyo Motswadi was found hanging from a tree after disappearing from the village for nine days.

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Although the police did not suspect foul play and confirmed through a pathologist’s report that the young man committed suicide, the relatives have been convinced by a prophet that the young man was killed for ritual purposes by, their in-law, Seroto Manyema.

In fact on September, 09 2022, when the body was found the deceased man’s uncle, 53-year-old Onkabetse Motswadi, attacked Manyema (44) three times, first with a bow and-arrow, and then with an axe before he hit him with a spade.

“I was home when people warned me that Onkabetse was coming for me with a weapon and he immediately arrived with an arrow in hand and I ran for my life. He chased me around the house and his nephew restrained him,” explained Manyema before Maun customary court on Monday morning.

Soon afterwards, Onkabetse returned to Manyema’s homestead and this time around with an axe in hand and Manyema took off again and ducked behind his car, with Onkabetse in hot pursuit.

It was a dramatic scene as people had gathered to witness the attack and some held Okabetse and disarmed him. However no sooner had he benn discerned than he had quickly grabbed a spade and hit Manyema with it before the nephew could restrain him again.

However the same nephew, Kewame Motswadi (35) who was restraining Onkabetse advised him to calm down so that the police can go and then kill Manyema(Tlogela motho yo mapodise a tsamaye, re tla a sala re mmolaa)

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When asked about the threat to kill he had uttered, Kewame said he did not mean physical death but spiritual.

“All this time even though I knew about the allegations that he was responsible for Therisanyo’s death, I never confronted him, I never argued with him, neither did I think of fighting him physically because the prophet has promised to deal with this spiritually.”

Kewame was found not guilty and discharged on common a nuisance charge.

Meanwhile the main accused in the common nuisance case said days leading to the discovery of the body, the family called a “seer” (prophet) to guide them as they had searched and failed to find the then missing Therisanyo.

“He asked why we were searching when the person killed Therisanyo was in our midst. He actually looked at Manyema for the second time after asking each one of us where the child was, he asked him again and said, are you sure you don’t know where he is?”

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On the 9th when the police took the family to the scene, Onkabetse said they saw tryre marks close to the scene, and they followed them right to Manyema’s house.

Onkabetse further alleged that he had actually escaped from Manyema’s hunt three times.

“He would come in the middle of the night with his car loaded with men and park behind my kraal when he knew I was home alone. I would sneak out and run for my dear life. I have abandoned my house because I know he is hunting me down. He “eats” people this one, (he is a ritualist.),” Okabetse told the court.

He further alleged that his experience made him believe the Seer when he said that Manyema killed Therisanyo. “I became emotional and decided to take matters into my own hands,” he explained

After kgosi Oleo Ledimo advised him that it was wrong to act on advice of seers, prophets and traditional healers, Onkabetse admitted showed remorse and admitted that he was misled by the prophecy.

He was given a six months jail sentence, which was wholly suspended for seven months with a stern warning to never implicate Manyema in Therisanyo’s murder again.

Kgosi Ledimo further warned the relatives to stop spreading damaging allegations against Manyema when police have not found any foul play in the man’s death.

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