Witchcraft fans mob man claiming to be reincarnated singer abducted by zombies
A South African man who claims to be a famous Zulu folk singer returned from the dead after being held captive by zombies for the past two years has been detained on suspicion of fraud.
The unnamed man turned up last week saying he was the award-winning musician Khulekani "Mgqumeni" Khumalo, who died in 2009. He reportedly convinced several members of Mr Khumalo's family – including two of his wives, his grandmother and grandfather, who unveiled the man as his long-lost relative on Sunday.
The public appearance drew thousands of fans to the singer's rural family home in the northern KwaZulu-Natal province, where the man used a loudspeaker to announce his "resurrection", according to the South African newspaper, The Times.
"I am Mgqumeni. And I know that some of you might not believe, but yes, it's true – it is me," the man told his audience. He said he had been a victim of witchcraft and that the zombies had forced him to sing and eat mud during his ordeal. He claimed to have woken up in a field in Johannesburg last week before finally making his way back home.
"I have been suffering a lot at the place where I was kept with zombies. It was hell there and I am so grateful that I was able to free myself and return to my family and you, my supporters," he said. Police reportedly resorted to using water cannon in an attempt to contain the crowds vying to catch a glimpse of the man.
Faith in witchcraft is common in rural South Africa. However, some fans said they doubted the story because the man did not have Mr Kumalo's trademark dreadlock hairstyle, had lost a lot of weight and now had a gold tooth.
The singer's grandfather, Hlalalimanzi Khumalo, said that he too had been sceptical about the man's story at first, but now the family was thankful that their beloved son had come home. "At first I doubted it was he, but, as the time went on, I could see that indeed it was he and as a family we are excited," he said. Authorities were not convinced and arrested the man yesterday. As police waited for DNA results to return, thoughts turned to the body of Mr Khumalo buried in early 2010. The funeral ceremony had been attended by politicians and members of the media. If the man's DNA did match that of the singer, the body may need to be exhumed.
But a police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said fingerprint samples had proven the man's claims to be false. The suspect was due to appear before Nquthu magistrates' court yesterday.
Mr Khumalo's former girlfriend, Zehlise Xulu, who has a 10-year-old son by the singer, said she resented the man for dragging up past heartache. "My son travelled all the way from Johannesburg with the hope of seeing his father, only to find that the man was a hooligan," she told The Mercury. "I was annoyed when he repeatedly referred to me as his lover."
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.