Woman collapses and dies while waiting to see Sangoma

Sharon Mathala

Last Thursday, 42-year-old Annah Lesife left her family home in Mankgodi, healthy, happy and excited to be visiting her boyfriend.

The mother-of-two’s lifeless body was returned the following day, laid out in the back of a traditional doctor’s van.

Lesife’s stunned family are clueless as to what could have caused her death – questions they hope to have answered later this week when police get the results of her postmortem back.

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Until then, they are left to mourn in agonizing limbo.

When The Voice arrive at the remote village of Mankgodi on Monday, Lesife’s loved ones are waiting for the police to hand over her body for burial.

It is a wait that as of Wednesday night, remained ongoing.

Speaking on behalf of the family, the deceased’s uncle, Mooketsi Lesife, 52, reveals his niece had gone to visit her boyfriend in Kanye.

“She left home not going to see the traditional doctor. When she left, she told us she was going to the boyfriend as he had promised to give her money for her children’s school clothes,” he explains, speaking in hushed, respectful tones.

Mooketsi’s voice soon takes on a harder, angrier edge as he continues his narrative.

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“We are told they visited a traditional doctor in Moshupa. We were told he gave her some medicine, which maybe did not settle well with her and so she started vomiting. We are also told he then gave her milk. They then drove with her all the way to Mankgodi, here at home. They got here with the deceased’s body to hand it over to us but we refused and called the police,” continues the family elder, his speech now trembling with emotion as he adds that the traditional doctor and boyfriend were accompanied by a third man.


Mooketsi is at a loss as to why the trio chose to transport the dead body roughly 30km from Moshupa to Mankgodi instead of alerting the nearest clinic.

There is a clinic in Moshupa as well as Thamaga – a village the three men had to drive through to reach Mankgodi.

“We don’t know why they decided to travel with her body all this way, passing three major villages to get here. It really baffles us to what they wanted us to do with the dead body!” mumbles the old man, shaking his head in apparent disgust.

Meanwhile, Thamaga Station Commander, Moses Kwarare confirmed being aware of the incident.

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“We are told the couple went to see the traditional doctor on the Thursday and were instructed to come back the following day. They duly returned the next day but the woman got severely ill and started vomiting whilst waiting to see the traditional doctor,” Kwarare disclosed, adding the police are awaiting the postmortem results – expected by Thursday – which will determine how they proceed.

The Voice team also travelled to Moshupa’s Diboto ward to meet the sangoma at the centre of the storm.

Named simply as Mpholo, at first the medicine man flatly refused to comment on the issue.

Dressed like a regular 50-year-old in long khaki trousers and a plain white t-shirt, after a little gentle persuasion, Mpholo eventually relents.

“I did not kill anyone. She was a regular client. She died here yes. But I did not kill anyone. My conscious is clear. I sleep at night knowing I did nothing wrong,” he maintains defiantly.

However, Mpholo admits he is extremely stressed by Lesife’s death.

“I have talked to the families about this issue which has given me sleepless nights.”

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