THE SATURDAY STAR, Johannesburg, 28 June 2002

Mother of dead initiate barred from funeral

June 28 2002 at 07:12PM

By Baldwin Ndaba

In a bizarre twist, the mother of Amos Jabu Mkhwanazi, the first of five initiates to die at a Heidelberg initiation [circumcision] school, was on Friday barred from the funeral of her son because she had never been through initiation school herself.

Mkhwanazi, 25, was among initiates who were allegedly beaten to death by the school leader in the hills on Nooitgedacht farm, outside Heidelberg. It is alleged that he tried to escape and was captured on Monday and returned to the school where he was ordered to strip naked.

Cold water was poured over him and he was allegedly lashed 462 times. He died from his injuries.

His mother Josephine Mkhwanazi, 62, said: "An inyanga, Alina Sekhoto, came to our house a few days after Jabu's death and told us to quickly bury our son. I just followed the instruction. The first thing I did this morning after I woke up was to go to Zenzele Funeral Undertakers to wash my child and wrap his battered body with a blanket," said Mkhwanazi said.

Only Jabu's father Paly Mkhwanazi, 70, brother Mphume and his father-in-law Johannes Mofokeng and eight initiates, who had been at winter bush school with Jabu, attended the funeral at New Heidelberg Cemetery.

Jabu was buried in plot number D191. There were no wreaths or flowers, just a covering of earth.

When the Saturday Star visited the family on Friday they had just arrived home from the funeral and were still in a state of shock.

"You know, those people are brutal. The body of my child was in a very bad state. They hacked his head, his ears were also cut and his body was completely battered, cut all over," Mrs Mkhwanazi said.

"It appeared as though his attackers used a sjambok or stick. Those people are very cruel. My child died a cruel death. It will take time to forget this."

David Cosmos Dladla was arrested and has been charged with Jabu's murder. His case has been postponed to July 3.

Jabu worked for an Alberton building supply company. He is survived by his wife Anna and one-year-old twins Lebo and Lebohang.

(File prepared 01 July 2002)