PEOPLE BELIEVED strange things were happening in Papa’s shack.

But no one will ever know what was really happening.



Residents claimedPapa Mahlake (27) woke at midnight to perform what they believed may have been satanic rituals, praying loudly in a language that nobody understood.

Other tenants who lived next to him in backyard shacks in Angelo squatter camp, Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, said he would wear black clothes and light candles. They even claimed they saw him placing what looked like a skull and black ashes near the candles.

But one thing is for certain – whether evil or not, his rituals ended in tragedy.

Tenants said they heard him screaming and his shack burst into flames. The fire soon spread to three nearby shacks. Tenants tried to put out the fire but they were no match for the raging flames. Papa’s shack and three others around him were destroyed.

The other tenants managed to escape but Papa was burnt to death.

When Daily Sun spoke to landlord Stephen Mathebula (40), at the weekend, he said he was at a friend’s place when he was told about the fire.

“My shack was one of those that was destroyed. We’ve lost everything,” he said.

He said he warned Papa to be careful. “He used to pray every night and he would light three candles. I feared he was going to burn our shacks because when he prayed you could hear things falling and he screamed as if he was being strangled,” said Stephen.

“His family promised to fetch his spirit and I wish they would do that now. I’m not working and I depend on the little money I make from renting out the shacks. What will happen if tenants start running away because they think the yard is haunted?”

Tenants have managed to rebuild their shacks but say they have nothing to help them start over, and some said they suspect the cause of the fire was a satanic ritual gone wrong.

‘That man used to act strangely and liked wearing black clothes. He sounded as if he was not at peace with himself. We pray that he finally finds peace wherever he is,” said a resident.

An inquest docket was opened at Boksburg Police Station.

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