‘Mantoetse Maama and Ntsebeng Motsoeli
MASERU — She is 64, frail and diabetic.
And she has been accused of being a witch.
Her neighbours turned against her on Tuesday, savagely beating her to a pulp.
The neighbours accused ‘Mamorero Khobai, from Phomolong village in Qoaling, of bewitching their daughter.
Khobai was also accused of sending a thokolosi to harass her.
The thokolosi is believed by most Basotho to be a feared dwarf-like creature that can be unleashed on enemies to exact vengeance.
Relating her ordeal to the Sunday Express on Friday, a bruised and battered Khobai insisted she was no witch.
“I am not a witch and I do not know them that much to want to hurt them,” Khobai said.
Khobai said she had gone to the toilet around 9am on Tuesday when she saw a car speeding towards her house.
She said a man, who she only identified as Thabo, charged towards her swearing and accusing her of bewitching his wife, Matšeliso Khiba.
“He was charging towards me, hurling insults at me,” Khobai said.
“He said I was going to pay for what I had done to Matšeliso.
“He grabbed me by the neck and slapped me.
“He hit me for a second time and I fell down.
“Suddenly he was joined by Matšeliso’ sister and their mother ‘Malineo.
“‘Malineo was holding a knife and a stone. I was terrified.
“‘Malineo jumped on top of me while I was still lying down and started battering me on the face with the stone.
“She said I was sending my granddaughter Refiloe to haunt Matšeliso.
“She said I was jealous because Matšeliso was married while my granddaughter had a child out of wedlock.”
Khobai said when her granddaughter, Refiloe, heard the commotion she rushed outside to assist her grandmother but was also overpowered by Thabo.
Khobai said she could hardly offer any resistance during the ordeal.
She said she sustained big gushes on her right hand and left leg.
Khobai said when the family was finally done with her she reported the matter to the village chief who directed her to go to Thamae police station.
She has since opened an assault case with the police.
Khobai also sought medical attention at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital.
Police spokesman Masupha Masupha confirmed the incident.
He said a 32-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the case.
The suspect is in police custody, Masupha said.
When the Sunday Express visited her on Friday, Khobai was still nursing bruises on her body and had bloodshot eyes.
Concerned neighbours were also still flocking to her home to check on her and commiserate with her.
She said she did not hold any grudges against ‘Malineo and her children for assaulting her.
But in a dramatic twist to the case, angry youths ganged up on Thursday and sought to attack Thabo for assaulting the old woman.
“They saw the government car that Thabo drives parked outside the house and they immediately gathered around the house,” Khobai said.
“They wanted to beat Thabo up for hurting me. I feared it could turn violent and so I called the police.
“The men only dispersed when the police arrived. They took Thabo with them.
“I do not want them to hurt him. I just want them to be brought to justice for what they did to me and my children.”
But ‘Malineo was adamant that Khobai was a witch and that she would kill her with her hands if she did not stop bewitching her daughter.
‘Malineo claimed her neighbour was jealous because her daughter was successful in life.
“Ever since my daughter got married she has been having nightmares,” ‘Malineo said.
“The woman sends her a thokolosi to strangle her while she is asleep at night.”
She claimed the thokolosi was instructing her to go somewhere in the bushes and was threatening to kill her if she disobeyed instructions.
“They are saying my daughter thinks she is smart because she got married while her daughter is struggling with a baby,” ‘Malineo said.
“Her daughter had a child out of wedlock and they are jealous because my daughter is married.
“I want them to leave my daughter alone so that she can also live in peace.”