- Traditional healer tells his story
Back in March, respected traditional doctor Rabeisane and his magic bowl became headline news.
Not for the first time, the 38-year-old healer found himself in the eye of the storm when he was called in to help with the disappearance of seven-year-old Tlotso Karema in Lobatse.
With tempers in the village reaching boiling point, claiming to be close to cracking the case, Rabeisane was arrested, the cops fearing his antics might start a riot. He has not returned to Lobatse since and mystery still surrounds Tlotso’s final moments.
Undeterred, armed with his all-powerful bowl, the legendary healer continues to offer his supernatural services around the country.
The Voice’s KITSO RAMONO caught up with the Nxamesere native on a recent trip to Francistown to find out a bit more about his practice and indeed the man behind the myth…
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. Kindly tell us a bit about yourself and your occupation?
Many people know me as Rabeisane, all around Botswana, but my birth names are Kamogelo Keitholetse from Nxamasere village.
I am 38 years old and the last born of five siblings: four males and a female. I work as a traditional healer, if you guys look at it as an occupation. I myself view it as being God’s servant.
How did the healing path come about?
It wasn’t a decision I made on my own. Rather, it was a calling, or even a gift, from my forefathers.
In my dreams, my ancestors came to see me and gave me advice on what to look for when I wake up and how to use it to heal others.
My father was one of the ancestors who appeared to me in my dreams and advised me to look for a bowl, cow bones and beads when I awoke to aid in diagnosing and treating patients.
Interestingly, when I woke up that morning, I discovered the popular magic bowl outside my door. Ever since then, I have been using these things to heal my clients.
When was this?
I first got my calling in 1998 while I was still schooling. I started helping people after I finished my Junior school in 1999 at Nxamasere.
Does anyone else in your family have the calling?
My father was a traditional doctor and my other elder brother is a traditional doctor in Maun as well. At Maun, he is also known as Rabeisane, because he uses a magic bowl to assist his clients. He, like me, was given the magical bowl by our ancestors.
Where does the ‘Rabeisane’ nickname come from?
I was given the nickname by my clients since I help them most of the time using my formidable magic bowl, the Beisane.
You’re also referred to as ‘Zambia’, what’s that all about?
The Zambia you always hear people shout is the name I gave to my magic bowl, which I named after the country my father was from.
Are you registered under Dingaka Association, to practice traditional healing in the country?
Yes, I am a member of the association. I joined last year and am also a coordinator on the Board of Directors.
So what exactly do you do?
The truthful response I can give you is that I offer assistance or healing in accordance with the traditions of my forefathers.
As I draw my strength to heal people from my ancestors, what they can heal is what I can heal as well.
Do you charge people for your healing?
I can’t say that I charge people for my services, but the magic bowl costs P6, 000 to figure out what’s wrong with you (Go emeletsa Beisane).
It’s only used in major instances like those involving missing persons or unsolved deaths.
As a churchgoer, I also offer some tiny assistance without charge. Additionally, I offer free consultations at church to people seeking assistance as well as to my church members.
How does your healing work?
I use cow bones, magic bowl and traditional beards to speak to my ancestors to give me the powers to heal my clients or solve their problems.
I also give my clients muti to use for healing after I diagnose what is wrong with them.
What sort of ailments can you cure?
I specialize in helping people who have pains in their stomach or undiagnosed illness from hospital.
I also help people with getting lucky, love potions and finding a job.
Where are you based and do you work alone?
I live in Mmopane and have an office there as well. Anyone who needs my assistance can find me next to the Mmopane Choppies complex.
I have one assistant who helps me talk to the magic bowl.
Is it possible to miss-diagnose a client?
Since becoming a traditional doctor, I have never misdiagnosed anyone or given them incorrect information; I am always correct!
The magic bowl is extremely powerful and never fails.
What challenges do you face in your work?
You are aware that, like any other profession, you will face numerous challenges. One of my current challenges is that I am insulted by some people, who even go so far as to call me a witch doctor. Overall, the majority of people I encounter are very supportive.
So what’s the difference between a witch doctor and a traditional doctor?
There’s a big difference! A witch, when they do their things, they go the cemetery and get naked. A witch doctor helps grant bad wishes for his client while a traditional doctor cannot do such ills – we only do righteous things!
What is the trickiest case you have been involved in so far?
The infamous Tlotso Karema case is the one that has given me headaches ever since I became a healer. But it wasn’t difficult in the sense that I couldn’t find him (Tlotso), because I was interrupted by police officers who detained me and accused me of causing a disturbance in Lobatse.
Fortunately, the Director of DIS came to my aid and cleared me of the allegations, saying that the police had apprehended me using their emotions.
Have you figured out what happened to the little boy? Bones, including a small skull, were found in Lobatse, which DNA tests have indicated belonged to Tlotso…
My magic bowl told me Tlotso was still alive, but for me to locate him I had to go back to Lobatse, where the police refused me entry.
If only I was allowed to enter the town of Lobatse, I could be telling Batswana and the little boy’s family where he is. So I cannot confirm if those are Tlotso’s bones or not.
With your hectic schedule, do you have time for a love life?
I do have a wife, yes. My lovely wife and I wed last year, and now we have two boys and one daughter who are all gorgeous.
In contrast to things I saw on social media, my wife is not a traditional doctor.
What do you do for fun?
I don’t really have any hobbies. I’m always connected spiritually and don’t do the things others enjoy when relaxing.
But in my spare time I like to go and check on my mother in the village.
And finally, Thank God It’s Friday, any plans for the weekend?
I am not a man who makes plans; instead, my days are devoted to serving others. I’m going to Maun after our interview to assist a client there.