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The sangoma combined natural healing with her role of foretelling by speaking with the ancestors. She had a small house rather than a hut, also set against the mountain of the Sad Ones. A track hardly wider than a path led there from the village, and it was with difficulty that Mpilo drove the ATV along it to catch up with the group. As he came to a halt in a cloud of dust, Dengana leapt out and rushed to his father who was now part of the crowd. He clung onto him and simply howled.
Mpilo hardly paused to give traditional greetings before blurting out, ‘Leopards have killed all people at Place of Two Old Frogs – everyone!’
Even after seeing the evidence that many crocodiles had been at the river, this seemed unlikely. ‘There aren’t any …’ the headman began, and then thought again. ‘You mean, a mad leopard has come here from somewhere?’ he asked.
‘Many tracks; many leopards,’ Mpilo responded. ‘Some people dead in house, some in shed, and some in field. All killed the way only leopard does it. Not lion or dogs or hyena. Leopard. And boy says he saw tokoloshe while we were there. He says tokoloshe sent away a leopard which was coming to kill us also. I believe him. There was something I felt there that was … terrible.’
The headman turned to the boy, but it was clear that no sense would come from him for quite a while.
Such great shock and horror had already been felt by everyone that it hardly seemed as if the new tragedy had sunk in. They stared dumbly at the headman, who collected his wits with a great effort. ‘Sangoma!’ he said, and the little crowd continued on their way with redoubled urgency.
© Colonialist May 2013 (WordPress)