He had watched as his parents and younger brothers and a sister were killed mercilessly. Their screams would forever resonate in his mind.

His mother had sent him to the nearby village, not knowing that their death was close. Their village chief had ordered that his family be killed for the sacrifices of Parah. Poor families were sacrificed in an effort to eliminate poverty. According to their cultural beliefs, blood needed to be spilt yearly to appease the gods of wealth.

The previous year, a family was butchered in the village, their lifeless bodies were found with their throats slit.

Themba was 17 and still in school. He saw the men who hid their faces with dark cloths leave with big swords in their hands, and disappeared behind the house. He watched with horror as the thatched roof of their house fell inside as the fire engulfed it.

Themba was homeless, helpless and traumatised. He knew that showing his face to any of the villagers would mean immediate death by beheading. He had to leave the place to save his own life, he had to flee from the village.

In the quiet of the night, he walked alone through the pine-tree forest, his footsteps crunching on the cones beneath his shoes. There was a heavy feeling in his chest and shoulders, as if his heart had suddenly become too heavy for his body to carry. His legs felt numb as if he was in a trance.

Feeling all tired and worn out, he dropped to the ground and tried to get rest. A flood of thoughts went through his mind as he recalled the words of his mother. It was her dream to see them all educated.

Themba had a curiosity to see the world outside the village; he knew there was more than what he saw. Sometimes he would wonder who created the roaring machine passing through the skies? Who flew it? How did it stay afloat in the air without falling to the ground?

Sleep stole him eventually, but nightmares of his house in flames tortured his sleep.


Tell us: Do you know of any horrific rituals done to innocent people?