A spirit medium died after he was stung by a swarm of bees at a shrine in Tsholotsho last week.
Milton Tshuma (80) of Mpucuko Village, Tshayile Line under Chief Matupula, and rain-makers, known as ihosana, had gathered at the shrine to perform some rainmaking rituals (umtolo) when they were stung by the bees.
Tshuma was rushed to hospital after being stung by the bees and died at Tsholotsho district hospital the following day. He was buried on Monday.
His young brother, Morgan Masaka Tshuma, who is headman for Tshayile Line confirmed the incident. He said:
This is something new and shocking. Spirit mediums are set to meet on Sunday to deliberate on the issue and select people who will visit the main Njelele Shrine to consult because this could be a sign that something bad has happened.
They were supposed to have an umtolo (ceremony) at the shrine when he was stung by inyosi zelinda. The shrine is a sacred place and only ihosana are allowed to enter.
When he entered the shrine intending to appease the spirits, he was also attacked by the bees and the other elders ran away instead of rescuing him.
Tsholotsho Rural District ward 6 Councillor Mthetho Sikhosana Tshuma said the now deceased was later rescued by his family members who rushed to the shrine after being told of the incident.
The shrine, located a short distance from Chief Matupula’s homestead, is referred to as little Njelele because it is believed to have a link with the main Njelele Shrine in Matopo, Matabeleland South province.
The significance of “Little Njelele”
The shrine has a small hut located at the centre and is surrounded by big trees.
Swarms of bees called inyosi zelinda, have stayed for many years within cavities of two trees at the shrine.
No unauthorised people are allowed in as the shrine is used for traditional ceremonies and rituals.