I tweeted this isihloko this morning: Ugibelise obephethe ikhanda lomuntu (She gave a ride to a person who was in possession of a person’s head). This definitely wins the “oddest story from today” prize.

So here’s a précis/translation of the story (credit to Themba Ntshingila):

Mrs Zwane and her husband, from Newcastle, were driving home from Driefontein (near Ladysmith) on Tuesday. They saw a woman with a small baby standing on the side of the road. Ordinarily they don’t give people lifts, but “wadabuka njengomzali ebona umuntu wesifazane emi nengane” (she was torn as a parent to see a woman standing with a child), especially given the bad weather. {it was a dark and stormy afternoon}

So they stopped to give her a lift.

She was going the same way as them, so she climbed in with the child and some luggage. Along the way she complained of a sore stomach, saying she needed to relieve herself. The couple asked her to wait until they got to a petrol station, as they were then driving through a forest and it wasn’t safe. {cue spooky music}

When they reached the petrol station, she got out and rushed to the loo. The couple said she should leave the child in the car, as they were clearly together.

After almost an hour of waiting, the baby starts to cry. So Mrs Zwane looks for its bottle, in amongst the bags. In the first bag she finds clothes, and continues to the second. At first, she thinks it’s a wig – then she realises it’s actually a man’s head, with a beard and wide open eyes. She freaks out.

A crowd gathers, and police arrive, but the woman has disappeared. The head and the child are taken by the police.

And then there’s the last sentence:

Okhulumela amaphoyisa KwaZulu-Natal uCaptain Thulani Zwane uthe baxhumene neziteshi ezahlukene zamaphoyisa ezingaseNewcastle kodwa asikho esiqinisekise lesi sigameko.

KZN police spokesperson Cptn Thulani Zwane said that they are in contact with various police stations near Newcastle, but that not one of them can confirm the incident.

So despite this one crucial fact, this story is on page 8 of today’s Isolezwe, and Mrs Zwane went onto Gagasi FM with it.

I smell an urban legend.