South Africa: Limpopo Land Claimants Invoke Spirits After Long Wait


Forced removals led to a spiritual disconnection between families and their forebears whose graves they could not access for decades. Lucas Ledwaba reports on a Limpopo family's mission to mend the broken ties.

Saturday morning, 12 October 2019.

"The graves were somewhere around here," John Makgaha points to the area around a large cattle kraal on the farm Blinkwater.

Behind him, his nephew Manare Frans Molele and his wife, Georginah Molele, their cousin Frank Molele and niece Maite Molele stop in their tracks.

Besides them stands a slightly built woman. She carries a white hessian sack carrying her tools and around her shoulders wraps a shawl that symbolises her standing as a healer.

A healer invokes the spirit of Nkabe Molele, who died in the 1930s to help his family of land claimants reconnect with their ancestors whose graves were left behind during forced removals. (Photo: Lucas Ledwaba / Mukurukuru Media)

"It looks like this kraal is located right on top of the graves," Makgaha remarks with an air of despair.

The slightly-built, elderly woman has a special gift that enables her to communicate with the dead and act as an intermediary between those that have passed on into the...

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