‘My scammer ‘threw’ my R25 000 into the Vaal River. But I recovered and just bought my first car’

Illustration photo by Getty Images.

Illustration photo by Getty Images.
  • Michelle Nkosi* lost money she gave to a sangoma who promised to double it.
  • She was made to throw her money into a river and told that she was giving it to her ancestors.
  • She was given a bag full of wet ‘banknotes’ which turned out to be paper.
  • Despite her ordeal and being indebted because of the scam, Michelle has recovered. She is now debt-free and just bought her first car.

I met a guy who I thought was a sangoma. My relationship with my lover at that time was terrible and eventually led to separation.

So I wanted to know what was going on with my relationship. I contacted the sangoma, and he said he would help. We later met in the Vereeniging CBD. He told me I needed to make a sacrifice for that relationship and I immediately told him I didn’t want to get involved in satanism. He told me not to worry about it and I was relieved.

The sacrifice he spoke about to fix the relationship was too much for me, so I abandoned it. But before I cut ties with this man, he told me my ancestors wanted to make me rich. I asked how and he showed me a trick using one of my grandmother’s names.

He turned a R10 note into R200. I told him I was not interested.

READ MORE | ‘I gave a Sandton man R1 million to get R7 million from his shrine. All I got was a box full of paper.’

A few weeks later, he called to check up on me because I was having an emotional time and crying a lot due to my breakup with the love of my life. He also asked if I’d changed my mind about the miracle money. Initially I was not interested but eventually I gave in and we met at a guesthouse.

He asked me to buy a candle and pay R25 000 to initiate our money-making. So I went to Capitec and made a loan for that amount. When I had the money we met again at the guesthouse and he went into the bathroom and started the process.

A lot of muthi was used, and he later called me to the bathroom to conclude our mission. He said what was left was for us to go to the Vaal River and give the R25 000 to my ancestors.

We went to and threw what I thought was my money there. He gave me a bag I thought contained R300 000. He said that money would be wet because I had offered the R25 000 to my ancestors through the river. He also instructed me not to open the bag for some time to allow the money to dry and usable. When I got home I hid the bag so my mom wouldn’t see it.

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After two days, he gave me a call. He said he wanted to check if I was still fine, and if the money bag was still locked. I confirmed that it was there and still sealed. He then proposed that if I wanted the money to dry fast, I needed to ask his ancestors to help.

He would have to go to the graveyard to pray to his ancestors to make my money dry. Out of curiosity, I agreed with that idea. He said that it would cost me R10 000 but I could only raise R7 000, which I sent him.

A few days later, he asked for more money and when I said I don’t have it, he got aggressive with me over the phone. He would shout and swear at me. As I was vulnerable at that time, I would cry over the phone like a baby.

I kept on sending smaller amounts to him. The last time I sent him money was when I sent him R700 and told him I couldn’t anymore.

READ MORE | ‘My boyfriend of 2 months scammed me off R600 000, told me to pawn my car and faked a hijacking.’

In the following three days, it was my payday. I owed the bank, people, and a loan shark, and I was in trouble. And he still told me not to open the bag. But I got irritated, so I went and opened it. To my horror, I found nicely cut white pieces of papers that resembled bank notes.

I cried out of pity for myself and felt sad and depressed at that moment. He called me that night and, as usual, he demanded money. I said I’d organise it for him when I got paid but on payday I went to the bank and withdrew my salary and bought a nice lunch for myself and groceries for the month.

The previous month when I gave him the money I had not even bought groceries. So this time around, I made sure I bought myself and my family groceries. I paid my bills. He called again while I was doing all of this. I told him to go to hell where he belongs.

He started swearing at me and threatened to bewitch and threatened to kill me. I was not budging. He then started sobbing on the phone, begging me to release him from the graveyard as he had apparently been camping there to release my money.

READ MORE | Blinded by love: How these women fell for scammers

I said refused and I hung up. He kept threatening me and even when I blocked his number, he just used one of his multiple numbers, and I had to block all of them. I never heard from him again until two years later, when he tracked me down again. This time I stood firm and refused to give him any money.

I never opened a case with the police because I don’t know his true identity or address. I have never told this anyone. It’s my deepest secret. It’s a shame that has kept me from telling this story.

I have learned to forgive myself and move on. I have cleared all my loans and even bought myself my first car. I am happy, and I’m living again. I will never let this happen again.Not their real names*