Date:11 February 2017 - By: Elmon Tshikhudo
Hundreds of mourners from different parts of Vhembe and some from Gauteng filled the Holy Christian Apostolic Church at Khalavha on Sunday for the burial of alleged ritual murder victim Ms Lufuno Mandevu.
The death of Mandevu (29) of Khalavha made headlines throughout the area. She was buried at the local Khalavha cemetery. Among the mourners were the mayor of Thulamela, Cllr Mushoni Tshifhango, and his entourage, traditional leaders, political organisations and many community members.
The funeral was an emotional one, with members of the family and community members overwhelmed with grief. Every speaker slammed the “heinous crimes while hiding under the umbrella of the church.” The founder and leader of the Holy Christian Apostolic Church, Archbishop Phineas Netshia, said they were saddened about the foreign tendencies taking place in the church. "The situation right now is shocking. It makes us shiver because the perpetrators of killings and other unbecoming behaviour are church leaders or people purporting to be Christians.”
He said that some so-called pastors were tarnishing the house of God. “Please stop it before you commit crimes like what happened to Lufuno," he said. He further made a call on women not to frequent prophets of doom who will end up doing bad things to them.
Cllr Tshifhango said the government would soon conduct an audit at churches and see what was happening there. "So many strange things are happening at churches. People no longer go there for worship, but to be fed grass, drink petrol and eat snakes, among other things. As government we will soon be checking on what is happening at these churches.”
A Zimbabwean national, said to be a prophet, Richard Mlambo (40) of Bashasha in the Mutale area, stands accused of murdering Lufuno Mandevu. He appeared in the Mutale Magistrate’s Court and the case was postponed to 2 March, pending further investigations.
Lufuno is survived by two children, three brothers and two sisters.
Archbishop Phineas Netshia (second from left) with the late Lufuno Mandevu's colleagues after the unveiling of her tombstone at Khalavha.
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.