Human sacrifice, animal slaughter, human trafficking and child pornography are some of the terrifying crimes that have been investigated in South Africa by a police unit that is tasked specifically to uncover the perpetrators of these heinous acts. However the work has become so dangerous that for the last few years amid rumors they were disbanded is the belief that they have gone underground.
Sangomas or traditional healers are very common in the Dark Continent, especially in the area of South Africa. Sangomas describe themselves as herbalists who prepare "muti" from herbs, roots and sacrificed animal parts. According to them there are other practitioners who have strayed off the path of healing, who practice very dark magic and are known as "baloyi".
Like all black magic, the baloyi not only sacrifice animals, but humans as well, the more innocent the better. Virgins, human babies and children top the list. There were so many crimes tied into muti that a special unit called the South African Police Force Occult-Related Crime Unit was created in 1981 by Dr. Kobus "Hound of God" Jonker. He retired from the unit in 2001.
Dr. Jonker described where in the 1990s he was investigating approximately 250 cases per years, and he believed there were thousands of satanists practicing in South Africa and many crimes were never discovered. No surprisingly he would continuously receive death threats and even satanist police officers broke into his office to sabotage his efforts.
The unit not only investigated the crimes themselves but cult leaders, who were very charismatic but very dangerous. They engineered not only grave desecrations but human sacrifices using their followers to commit atrocious acts. Part of muti magic is the use of human body parts. For example a man's penis is used for good luck at horse racing.
Dr. Jonker broke up several satanic rings, but not all were apprehended and he described where once the unit found the severed head of a Chinese woman in a cupboard.
Dr. Jonker while lecturing at Reading University in the U.K. described where satanists in South Africa commit murder and serious crimes against humans and animals while American and European practitioners focus more on the religious practice of their beliefs, rarely committing crimes.
When asked why this has occurred in South Africa he described a lack of family and social structure for the youth to model. Fathers have abandoned their families, mothers are absent since they are working to sustain the family and children come to empty homes when they leave school.
Part of the problem is that the belief in muti whether practiced by sangomas or baloyi is so pervasive that parents willingly give up their children to be held by practitioners in exchange for good luck or some other type of recompense.
In 2012, a leaked internal police memo revealed that the dissolved Occult Unit appeared to have been revived, albeit under a different name: the SAPS Harmful Religious Practices Unit. It is believed that Dr. Jonker has been training the new members of this unit.
In an interview with Vice, Dr. Jonker described the following case involving a child possessed and cursed by this type of black magic:
Oh yes. I was sent to the farm of a very wealthy family in Venda about eight years ago where the so-called Tokoloshe (a short demon from African lore) was raping a girl there every night. I said: “I don’t believe this nonsense,” but the commissioner sent me out saying they’ve got real problems there.
Dr. Jonkers describe where animals are not only sacrificed for muti, but acts of bestiality are committed against them as well. There is a belief that the magic is more powerful if the humans or animals die in agony.
In July 2018, Christa Saayman the owner of the Mystic Monkeys and Feathers Wildlife Park, located just north of Pretoria, South Africa's capital had six of her park lions butchered to be used in muti black magic rituals. They hacked the heads and paws off four of the adult lions and killed two cubs.
Muti sacrifices are committed not only in South Africa, but places where its followers live in. Such was the story of the torso of a little boy discovered in the River Thames in 2001. Examination of the remains show that he had been poisoned and then his throat was cut in order to drain it of blood. His arms, legs and head had been expertly cut off. Forensic tests showed he was from the Benin City area of Nigeria.
In 2011, there seemed to be a strong lead which turned out to be false and provided by a mentally disturbed Nigerian woman. She implicated another man, who had been jailed for trafficking in England, and like herself had been deported to Nigeria. Another story that circulated is that the child had been brought to the U.K. by his parents for the express purpose of sacrificing him.
The forensic examination of the child's stomach confirmed he had only been in the U.K. for a few days before he was killed.
In 2018 murder figures for South Africa reflect that more than 20,000 persons have been killed in one year. This figure averaged out to 57 persons per day. There was an uptick of violent crimes, which were mostly rapes, many of them committed against children. There are reports of government corruption and the police committing many crimes instead of defending the populace. No doubt anyone outside this country would think twice before seeking it as a tourist destination since South Africa has become one of the most violent places in the world.
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by Marlene Pardo Pellicer