Adult woman loses life due to Chikondo ritual, buried alive

Kalilele received a phone call from his sister Selestina Mtonga and was informed by her that his nephew Fabiano Chola aged 5, died due to a short illness at Nchnga North Hospital.

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logo of Zambia Police

Zambia: A woman aged 82 lost her life after being buried alive during a Chikondo Ritual that was being performed at the Katuba area in Lufwanyama on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, around 7:00 a.m.

While doing the Chikondo ritual, a group of people suspected the lady of bewitching the deaths of her two grandsons, who died within a day of each other under unclear circumstances.

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The traditional ritual is practiced mainly in the Lamba land and other areas that involves the use of charms on a coffin.

The coffin then was directed to move towards the individual who believed to be responsible for or is involved in the death of another person.

Reportedly, the two deceased daughters were picked up by the police to assist with the investigations. The commanding officer of Copperbelt province police – Peacewell Mweemba told that the incidents happened in the Kansonga area of Chingola.

The officer explained that the deceased son – Edward Kalilele, aged 35, reported the death of his mother, Safrina Sondashi and said that she was killed by a group of people who were suspected of practicing witchcraft.

image representing Chikondo Ritual
image representing Chikondo Ritual

The officer explained further that on March 24, 2024, at 8:00 p.m., Kalilele received a phone call from his sister Selestina Mtonga and was informed by her that his nephew Fabiano Chola, aged 5, died due to a short illness at Nchnga North Hospital.

After that, on March 25 at 7:00 a.m., Kalilele went to the funeral house to mourn his nephew. There, he found that Charles Mututubanya, who is his other nephew, died suddenly, and the reason was unclear.

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Mweemba further explained that seeing so many deaths in the family, his sister Selestina Kalilele ordered him to call their mother, who was living at her place.

On her arrival at the funeral house, she was accused of being behind the deaths of her grandsons. Mourners then proceeded to beat up the elderly woman and threatened the complainant with injuries.

Kalilele then returned to the funeral house and found that his mother had been taken by the chairman. He retrieved her and took her home.

During the church service for his nephew Fabiano Chola, Kalilele received the information that the family had placed charms commonly known as Chikondo in the coffin of Charles Mutubanya.

Mweemba said that the ball bearers who carried the coffin led mourners to the house of Sondashi, where she was hit with the coffin several times.

The officer also said that the mourners then took the body of Sondashi to the graveyard and placed it next to Charles Mututubanya’s grave.

Mweemba added that the matter was subsequently reported to Chingola Central Police Station, after which the police visited the scene of the crime and found that the deceased was lying a few minutes away from Charles Mututubanya’s grave.

Later it was discovered after the inspection that Sondashi had a cut on her head, on her lower lip, bruises on both legs and her body was soiled.

The officer also said that according to the preliminary investigations, it was suggested that Sondashi was alive, suffocated and then died before being exhumed and placed on the ground.

He also said that Sondashi’s two daughters, Selestina and Sarah Zimba, aged 25, were detained to assist the police with investigations.