South African miners may have used magic ritual to become “invincible”

Miners protesting in South Africa may have undergone a magic ritual to render themselves invincible to police.

Police opened fire killing 34 and injuring 78 men who charged at them with sticks and machetes during a strike of workers at a platinum mine. It was the worst massacre since apartheid was lifted. Did they believe they were bulletproof?

Muti ‘protected’ miners – Times LIVE.

Undeterred by water cannons and tear gas, the miners crept through the bushes towards the police and charged straight into a heavy line of fire.

The surviving miners are not talking, but union officials, residents of Marikana and the police confirmed the presence of the unidentified sangoma, who carried out rituals on the hill and dished out muti where workers had gathered throughout the week.

It is said the man, who is from the Eastern Cape, had provided muti to the protesters and made them believe it would make them invincible.

Credit: Thomas Mücke

Not many seem to want to talk openly about the ritual which is said to involve a medicine man (sangoma), cutting the skin and smearing muti (medicine that has some miraculous effect) into the wounds. The locals believe more would have been killed except for the muti which rendered some invincible to bullets. It’s a convenient ploy: a win for those who were fortunate enough not to be killed. For those that were, they did something to weaken the muti. Dangerous stuff, superstition.

  5 comments for “South African miners may have used magic ritual to become “invincible”

  1. Nigel
    August 19, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    It sounds a bit like the Boxer Rebellion.

  2. Adam
    August 20, 2012 at 5:41 AM

    I note one woman in the article blames people who ended up shot not for charging at police but for “[doing] something wrong to weaken their muti”. There’s no way to win against this illogic. They may as well have been told to pat their head and rub their tummy and anyone who got shot after was clearly doing patting themselves wrong.

    Still, it looks like the witchdoctor made a tidy profit from dishing out this magic formula. Too bad he wasn’t dishing out advice on the reckless insanity of charging armed police protected only by wishful thinking. Perhaps a few of these people might have heeded the advice and still be alive today.

  3. August 20, 2012 at 7:36 AM

    “That trick never works”.
    Rocket J. Squirrel

    • Geoff
      August 20, 2012 at 8:44 AM

      The squirrel really cut through it, didn’t he?

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