The gods must be angry

Portia Mlilo
VICTIM: Malefo

Veld fire fighters get lost on top of a sacred gorge

In an incident that put the fear of the gods in the Goo-Moremi community, about 26 people who set off on a mission to put out a veld fire on top of a sacred gorge went missing only to be found tired and thirsty a day later, 30 kilometres away from the gorge.

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The expedition, which included police officers, Matolwane Ward Councillor Mantsi Malefo and other villagers left around 10m on Tuesday. They however failed in their mission and got lost on their way back and ended up near Malaka and Gootau villages the following day through the help of the Botswana Police who airlifted them in their helicopter back to the village. One of the police officers was actually so fatigued and terrified that he landed at the clinic.

Goo-Moremi gorge is considered to be a home of the community’s ancestral spirits or badimo and speculations are rife in the village that this incident was a sign of displeasure by the ancestors.

Narrating their story, Malefo told of how there was an emergency meeting after the fire outbreak and people volunteered to put it out. Following a failed attempt, the expedition returned to the village but got lost on the way.

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“That’s where the problem started. We were all confused. We couldn’t even retrace our footprints to find our way back. We still don’t understand how we separated. There was no network when we tried to send the pin location. We were tired, thirsty and fatigued. As we were walking I asked the people I was with that we pray. Fortunately we ended up near Gootau village and that was when we phoned and the police came to our rescue. It was a bad experience. I always hear stories about the ancestors and now I believe they are real,” said Malefo.

According to Malefo some village elders and spirit mediums have claimed that the fires which consumed the entire grazing land around the hill leaving them with nothing to feed their animals could only be put out by the rain.

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