Image courtesy of: abc.net.au
An intellectually-impaired cricketer of South African-Indian descent was beheaded in a ritual sacrifice in the coastal town of Umzinto, which is located 600 kilometres away from Johannesburg.
Nawaz Khan, 23, went missing on October 31 before his body was found near his home on Saturday. It is understood that Khan was lured to a forest near his house by his best friend Thandowakhe Duma and a traditional healer.
According to police, it was there that Duma and the traditional healer launched a savage attack on Khan with a bush knife before proceeding to behead him.
Duma was charged with murder after breaking down when police questioned him. The 21-year-old also confessed that the healer had told him to bring a human head to address the problems Khan had been dealing with.
Duma also led police to the site where he and the healer had hid Khan’s head after the horrific attack.
The healer went on the run after the sickening incident, but he was later apprehended thanks to help from the residents in Umzinto.
Two more people have also been arrested in connection with the case as they were found carrying Khan’s mobile phones, which they claim they bought from Duma and the healer.
Khan was a promising young cricketer despite his disability and his talent was recognised when he was named the Intellectually Impaired Cricketer of the Year in 2013, an award he received from current South Africa Test captain Hashim Amla.
“He was thrilled when he received his award from his idol, Hashim Amla, calling it the happiest day of his life,” Khan’s mother, Zakia, said.
Khan’s mother added that even though her son could not read or write and was mocked about his disability, he still managed to excel in the sport and subsequently went on to represent his country.
Winston Stubbs, a former national cricket convener and team manager, was saddened upon hearing about the death of Khan, and said: “He was a very disciplined, committed wicketkeeper and batsman. I have known Khan since he was 13. What a big loss for his family and cricket.”