The geography of Ganalaagte is fair even though it is not sustainable. Rakgwedi is a village located beside a swamp that flows when there is rain. But rain is scarce, causing this place to be semi-arid. Most of the time dryness is dominant in this area but sometimes God smiles on us and there is rain.

It’s a village beleived to be home to myths and superstitions of great fantasy. North of the village lies a shrubbery of acacia and umberella bushes and amidst this natural plantation lies a lake called Monanti. This lake is home to species of birds and is believed to be the eye of the gods. It’s in that seclusion where the rondavel was located.

RraDipodi had omens and premonitions about this rock-built circular thatch roofed hut. RraDipodi was a header who tended for goats and sheep that were his livelihood. He was suspicious but there was no specific reason for his suspicions but nonetheless the hut made him uneasy. Then he made it his mission to observe it pretty well.

Day in and day out at the rondavel luxurious cars stopped. One cloudy day when RraDipodi was sitting on top of an ant mound, far from the rondavel, he saw MmaSeipelegi enter the rondavel. After her visit he heard that she had won the lottery and moved from the bundus to the burbs. So he assumed that she went there to fortify herself against enemies.

Odirile was a cop in Atamelang and RraDipodi’s son. Since Ganalaagte was a remote village they did not have their own police station and received police services from Atamelang, which was a neighbouring township.

That evening Odirile was sitting with his father in the sitting room.

“Dad, how are the flocks holding up?” he asked his father.

“Ohh! They are good. But the winds are blowing easterly currently, it’s not yet March and it threatens to halt the rain which might result in the recession of pastures.”

“Oh, I see what barren land we shelter upon.”

“So son, what’s with the extra hours nowadays?” the old man grew more serious, emphasising the importance of the matter. He knew extra hours meant extra money and he knew that his son was unmarried and hoped he would give him a word that he was to use the extra funds for dowry.

Go thata, that is perhaps because we are working on a strange case. Dogs, cats, children and people have suddenly disappeared all around the district.”

“Goodness me!” RraDipodi exclaimed to the announcement. “What on earth could be the reason for such heinous acts?” No one knew the cause of the disappearances.

“Had it been in one village, we would have assumed it was a rogue beast. But beasts don’t strike multiple fronts in a short period of time.”

Later that night there was blood, there were machetes and there was a huge born fire inside a place that seemed to be a witchdoctor’s shrine. There was a man adorned with beads and smeared with white ochre, singing incarnations and praises ‘Ndiya, ndiya the all-seeing ndiya ho mari Modimo wa madi’. After his incarnations, shrieks of pain surfaced.

Then RraDipodi woke up from that dream. It was a strange dream and he knew that it had to do with his son’s case.

He went to his son’s room and said, “Serwadi! Serwadi batho ba nyeletswa ke serwadi!” (Fortune maker! People disappear because of the fortune maker). His son was in turmoil. Where were they going to begin to look for the fortune maker? But he or she had to be a healer around the district.

The police force turned the district’s witchdoctors’ shrines upside-down, finding nothing. And it was hard for them because they felt like they were violating their culture. One diviner named Keorapetse uttered these words while they were raiding her shrine: “Tau e letse kwa sekgweng sa tshetlo.” meaning the lion shelters in the thorn bush. A case was never pursued with omens but in this case the boys in blue were desperate.

“Father, we have turned all the shrines in the region upside down and today we raided the last shrine. The diviner said the lion shelters in the thorn bush”.

“Let’s go to that prophet right now.” RraDipodi said.

It was around four on the afternoon and the diviner’s hut was lit with candles of all kinds of colours. Before they could knock the prophetess told them to enter. She prayed for about an hour.

“Son of Dipodi, the man you seek is Rantsho the son of Segagodi sa moja motho. He is of the dark who forges fortunes with black magic and he seeks no payment, he feasts on beasts and human bones.”

The thought of that gave Odirile creeps but it was his duty to stop this guy.

“So wise one, what am I to do?” Odirile asked.

“Take this,” the diviner said, handing him a pointy cross. “Step on a snake on the tail and it bites you. Step it on the head and it whips you with the tail. Step on both and its defeated.” The diviner phrased this proverb. “The ancestors say you will battle him. Go, it’s up to you now, go.” she concluded.

“Thank you.”

He called for back-up and by himself headed to the rondavel, parting ways with his father who told him were it was. Backup arrived, finding him secured and in position. They broke the entrance of the rondavel. As they entered, heavy winds blew all the police outside, only Odirile could enter. He was anchored by the prayers of Keorapetse the lake steer, she who slays lions barehanded.

Rantsho drew out a machete and wielding it, headed for Odirile shouting, “A wolf in a tiger’s den is carcass.”

All went blurry. Odirile was knocked out of it. They heard the man screaming to find that he had, in a split second, stabbed him with the cross. Yes he was alive but he was defeated for neither his physical nor his magical strength remained with him.


Tell us: Have you ever encountered witchcraft? What happened?