Family Exhumes Chief’s Remains To Conduct ‘Proper Autopsy’ 

A Mpumalanga family has exhumed the body of a traditional leader to allow for a “proper autopsy” to determine the “real” cause of death. 

Chief Steve Mogane, of the Kgarudi Tribal Authority at Marite outside Hazyview, died last week after being ill for a long time. 

However, his wife, Maggie Mogane, reportedly buried him instantly before the doctors could conduct the post-mortem to determine the cause of his death. Some family members allegedly tried in vain to stop the chef’s burial, by approaching the court, only to find that he had already been buried. 

Yesterday, Chief Mogane’s body was exhumed to allow doctors to finally do a post-modern. Chief Mogane’s brother, Robert Mogane, did not respond to questions sent to him by African Times. However, a close relative who spoke on condition of anonymity, because he is not authorised to speak on the matter, confirmed that the Chief’s remains were exhumed and taken to the mortuary for a post-mortem.

“Yes, it is true that his body was exhumed, and now we are waiting for the results of the autopsy, which will reveal the truth concerning his death,” said Chief Mogane’s relative. 

Cultural expert Isaac Mthethwa, a senior researcher at the Oral History Association of South Africa (OHASA), says Chief Mogane’s case is a reflection o a clash between traditional culture and Western laws.

Speaking on behalf of Chief Mogane’s wife, Ben Brow denied that she unilaterally buried him before the post-modern could be conducted. He told a local radio station, Connect Radio News, that the family were consulted and agreed to proceed with the burial. 

“She was the one who proposed the post-mortem to the brother and sister of the Chief, and both of them disagreed to say no, ‘there’s no need for the post-mortem, let’s continue with the arrangement and bury the Chief. A Chief is not supposed to stay in the mortuary too long’. We then said it’s fine if that is what you are saying; let’s sit down and discuss everything. And it ended there. From there, we only saw police coming to arrest the woman,” Brow said. 

The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) has welcomed the exhumation of Chief Mogane’s remains. 

“On behalf of Contralesa and the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders of Mpumalanga, we are aware that the family went to court to get permission to exhume so that it could check exactly what caused his untimely death. We were told that he was buried behind closed doors without a proper autopsy performed. We want the family to know that we support them in this trying time, ” said Contralesa  President Chief Lameck Mokoena.

“Chief Mogane was the father of the nation therefore, he cannot be buried in an undignified way without the necessary rituals performed. We are hoping that the matter will be resolved so that the royal family will be able to sit down and plan a way forward,” said Mokoena. 

Mokoena said the entire traditional leaders in the country are mourning, and they would be supporting the Mogane family until the matter is settled.

Commenting on the matter, Isaac Mthethwa, a cultural expert and senior researcher at the Oral History Association of South Africa( OHASA), said: 

“It’s a pity that there is a serious contradiction between our culture and the law of the country, especially that we undermine our culture at the expense of Western law.”

“Remember, traditionally, a Chief does not lie down in a coffin but squats in a prepared grave out of the coffin, and his burial side is a secret one. Hence he may be buried months before the arranged funeral date. So, if the culture has been properly followed, one might wonder who buried him and where.”



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