15 Jan 2011

Four members of Swaziland sect die in agonizing pain after drinking concoction for religious ritual

Times of Swaziland - South Africa November 3, 2010

Four zionists killed by concoction


NSUKUMBILI – A concoction drunk by seven members of the Jericho Red Gown Sect killed four people on Monday and the rest are fighting for their lives in hospital.

The deadly drink is a mixture of water, methylated spirits, Joko tea, milk, incense and mint sweets and they claim it helps them to be highly spirited, however it proved to have dire consequences.

Four people from a Gama family who drank the deadly concoction on Saturday, died on Monday in separate incidents, after complaining of stomach problems, which saw them vomiting. Three of the deceased are from one family, while the other is related to the three.

Among the people who drank the concoction are two pupils, Freddy Mathumbu Masilela (15) who is doing Grade III and Sikhumbuzo Gama (17) is in Form III. The pupils are still in hospital along with Meshack Bhicomu Gama (36), the oldest in the group.

The first person to die was Thabo Gama (22), who passed away at noon, minutes after he had been loaded into an ambulance.

He was followed by Simanga Gama (16), who also died inside the ambulance while being rushed to the Mbabane Government Hospital.

Mphumelelo Matata Gama (17), died in hospital at 2:30pm while Sithembiso Gama (16) died at 5:30pm after he had been attended to and admitted to the hospital.

The journey that led to the four dying started on Saturday, when the members of the church went to another Gama homestead to have their drinks. This was in preparation for a vigil that was to be held in Ngweni, as they wanted to be highly spirited and not sleep.

After having intoxicated themselves with the concoction, four of them did not attend the vigil, being Thabo, Sikhumbuzo, Freddy and Sithembiso.

The rest attended the vigil and came back on Sunday still intoxicated. Mudvubuto Gama, the father of three of the deceased, said he met his children Mphumelelo and Simanga on Sunday morning while going to attend the funeral.

"I met them and asked them if the funeral was still on and they said I should continue - the burial had not taken place. The burial was completed and I returned home.

"When I got home, I found them sleeping in their house," he said.

Mudvubuto said he asked where Thabo was and was told that he had visited another Gama homestead.

While inquiring about Thabo, he said he heard Sithembiso calling Mphumelelo and Simanga to visit them.

They all woke up and went to the other homestead and Mphumelelo and Simanga came back while Thabo remained behind.

Their father asked where Thabo was and they told him he was coming and when he went to look outside he saw him crossing a nearby river called Muhluhlujana.

Suspecting nothing, the families went to sleep but were woken up by Thabo, who said he could not enter his house because it was very hot and wanted to vomit.

The father went to investigate what could be the problem and it turned out that Mphumelelo and Simanga had vomited in the hut.

He said they transferred them to another house where they thought they would be better, but it got worse as they vomited more.

The situation intensified when they took them to the main house as they complained of stomach aches.

"We asked them what they drank and they said ‘indayela’. We could not sleep the whole night until Monday morning."

...boy from same home knocked down by car

NSUKUMBILI – The father of the three deceased, Mudvubuto Gama was grieving as another of his children was hit by a car.

He said his young boy was knocked down by a car while coming back from school.

He said, while they were still in shock at the death of three of his children, they received a message that he had been knocked down by a car. His son was rushed to the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital where he was told that he had fractured a leg.

"I am still confused what is happening to me. What have I done that God is punishing me for?" wondered Gama.

He said only God knew why his three sons had to die on the same day and in the same way.

He said he was in so much pain at the death of his children and added; "If death would come right now, I would jump and also die." Gama was asked if he was thinking of killing himself but said he would never do that because the Bible is ag-ainst su-icide.

Concoction banned in the area

NSUKUMBILI – A community policeman, Obed Gama, said the making of the deadly concoction by some members of the Jericho Red Gown Sect in the area was banned a long time ago.

He said, even after the community in the area had been warned, the Gama household took the initiative to call a meeting to put an end to the making of this deadly concoction.

Gama said a person got sick and later died after having drunk the concoction and, when he was taken to hospital, tests proved that he had been drinking something that was flammable.

He said many people still drink the concoction, including some of the members of the Jericho Red Gown Sect, even after the warning.

He suggested that the local umphakatsi, under Chief Nsukumbili, should put an end to the making of this drink.

He said they should also fine those who made the concoction as even young people got drunk on it.

Gama said there are known homesteads in the area that make the concoction.

They died in front of me

NSUKUMBILI – Zandile Gama says she still cannot believe that her brother-in-law’s children died in front of her.

She was at home when she was called by Mudvubuto Gama to come and help him as his children were very sick.

"I came here and the situation was not good at all. I found Thabo rolling on the ground in pain while Simanga was on his bed, breathing heavily. "Mphumelelo was also within the home compound, showing signs of a person who had been drugged and he could not talk," said Zandile. When she reached the homestead, she thought of going to ask for a car to transport them to hospital, but changed her mind and called an ambulance, which arrived an hour later.

She said they were all taken in the ambulance but as ambulance personnel were administering first aid on Thabo, he died.

As they headed for Mbabane, Simanga died 20 minutes later. Mphumelelo became the last person to die from this family that day.

Gama said, 30 minutes after he had been admitted, Mphumelelo was pronounced dead by the doctors. To their surprise, when they arrived at the hospital, they found Sithembiso had also been admitted.

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Times of Swaziland - South Africa December 13, 2010

Zion family forced to leave area


NTSINDZA – The saga of the deadly concoction drank by seven members of the Jericho Red Gown Sect at Nsukumbili has taken a twist.

Mdvubuto Gama, the father of the three boys who died after drinking the concoction, has vacated his brother’s homestead he has stayed in for years.

This happened a week after the mass funeral, which saw the family convening a meeting where he says he was asked to leave the homestead and look for his own land.

"I was with my wife when they called us to a meeting after the funeral and they said I must go back to the parental home.

"I told them it was impossible for me to go there because my first born son was once in love with a Simelane woman who grew up at the main homestead and they wanted them to marry," he said.

He said it was then that they suggested that he looks for his own place something that was not new as he alleged that when the boys were alive, told him that some of his brothers wanted him out of the homestead.

Gama said after the meeting they went home and stayed for a week and they experienced problems where they suspect the devil was at work.

He alleged that their baby would cry uncontrollably at night and one day while he had gone to attend a meeting, something happened.

He came back only to find that his wife had packed their belongings and was prepared to leave as she could no longer stay there.

The wife, Gama said had already bid farewell to her mother and when he went to inquire if she had done that they responded in the affirmative.

The wife having called her brother in law for transport, they decided to leave for Ntsindza where they are staying presently.

This place is about 200 kilometres from where the family stayed before the deadly concoction saga.

He said he was shocked that after all these years with his brother’s sons and has built houses there, his family; especially his brothers would want him out.

Following the twist, Gama said he was still trying to cope with this and once he is okay he will go back home to take his things.

"My corrugated iron sheets will have to come with me once I have made a decision on what step to take," said the old man.

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