South African Sangoma Who Claimed She Could Bring Zombies Back To Life Heads To Court

Customers of a sangoma (or traditional healer) in South Africa are angry after the woman has failed to raise their loved ones from the dead as she promised. She reportedly claimed to be able to put the life back into “zombies” and return them to the heart of their families.

Nolonwabo Mangele, 50, appeared in the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court Thursday after being arrested in Cathcart in the Eastern Cape of South Africa on January 18. She is now facing fraud charges for conning victims into believing she could raise the dead and bring back their loved ones.

According to the Independent, it was reportedly her style to convince her clients that their loved one had not actually died, but had been turned into “zombies” and that she could bring those “zombies” back to life – at a price.

There was a crowd of angry people outside the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court when Mangele appeared before a judge Thursday, all demanding their money back from the traditional healer.

Victims reportedly had paid R2,800 ($175) plus a consultation fee of R60 ($3.75) to Mangele after she claimed she could “heal” dead people, or “zombies” as she called them, and bring them back to life within a year.

However, naturally she failed to put the life back into the “zombies,” leaving her customers heartbroken, angry and much poorer, as it wasn’t just the initial fee they had to pay.

According to Mangele’s alleged fraud victims, she told them to buy clothing, blankets, toiletries and even airtime for cell phones and to deposit money into their dead relatives’ bank accounts. Reportedly her clients didn’t question why the clothing sizes kept changing as Mangele requested more to keep the “zombies” warm and clothed.

Suspicion arose when Nombasa Gaula, 39, was told to bring maternity clothes for her departed sister, as she had been “impregnated by another zombie.”

Another client, 58-year-old Nomthandazo Nono lost her 28-year-old daughter, Linda Ntuli back in 2008. She said she heard about Mangele’s so-called “powers” shortly after her daughter’s funeral and went to consult her.

“She said Linda had not died but had been turned into a zombie, and if I paid her R2 800 ($175) she could bring her back.”

Nono didn’t have the money at the time but borrowed R1,400 ($87) from friends and gave it to Mangele. Nono asked Mangele how she was going to bring Linda back, as she was buried in the Eastern Cape. The sangoma told her she had people “helping her.”

A few days later, Mangele reportedly called Nono to tell her she couldn’t speak to her daughter, because she “had lost her mind” in the process, but assured her she would be able to heal her but it would take time.

Over what turned into years, Nono was asked to send money and kept depositing small amounts, along with buying new clothes and toiletries for her so-called resurrected “zombie” daughter. Apparently she was convinced that Mangele was speaking the truth, as she asked for personal items of clothing that only Linda knew about.

The story continued with Mangele eventually saying she would bring Nono’s dead daughter back along with an ID card and that they would travel to where she had been buried to burn the empty coffin.

However, after that, Mangele never answered her phone again and finally Nono realized she had been duped.

Nolwazi Phakama is another desperate victim of the scam and was made to believe she was talking to her dead daughter on the telephone, but it was a stranger, pretending to be the departed woman. However, the person on the phone turned out to be a man, and was even speaking the wrong South African language.

“I was given the phone to speak to my daughter and I was so excited that I only realized after I hung up that I was actually talking to a man who spoke Zulu – while my daughter was Xhosa-speaking.”

Mangele had, in the meantime, allegedly been gathering the clothing, toiletries, airtime and money from her clients for her own uses and none of the alleged “zombies” ever did see the light of day.

Reportedly, the sangoma con artist will be heading back to court again on Tuesday this week for a bail application.

According to a story on Eye Witness News, sangomas in South Africa are even getting up with the times these days and now advertise their services on Facebook.

[Photo via Flickr by Jochem Koole/CC BY 2.0]

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