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Picture Alleging Two South Africans Were Turned To Snakes Is FALSE!

CLAIM: Malawian man turned two xenophobic attackers to snakes, alleges Facebook post.

FALSE: Findings show that the picture attached to the claim has appeared several times on the internet as far back as 2017 conveying multiple stories. And, granted there is no sufficient evidence to disprove the claim that people were turned to snakes, the use of this old photo makes the claim questionable.

Full Text:

On 12 September, this bizarre Facebook post which was said to originate from Durban, South Africa surfaced. It claimed that a Malawian man had turned two xenophobic attackers who wanted to set his house ablaze to snakes. 

Facebook Image

The post has garnered 418 Likes, 162 Comments and 440 shares. The comment section showed varied reactions. While many were amazed by the post, some other people found the post amusing and wished the man could turn more of the xenophobic attackers. A man, also in the comment section claimed the incident happened in Oshogbo. He wrote, “I don see this picture before, na for Oshogbo this scene happen.”


In depth research conducted by Dubawa revealed this image has been the subject of several stories as far back as 2017. However, stories relating the picture to xenophobia surfaced in April with the Zambian Observer as the ringleader.

The April 3, publication by Machinep.com gives a more detailed explanation of what happened prior to the magical display. The publication explained that there was an argument that lasted for about 45 minutes between a Malawian man and two xenophobic attackers where the latter threatened to get rid of the man and torched his house.

The event was reported to have happened on a hot afternoon and both the man and his attackers were residents of the same area in Durban, South Africa. The Malawian man who was not identified, got angry and turned the attackers to two long snakes. Other residents begged the magician to restore them but he refused and requested to be given a sum of R200.00 before he could.

This April 2nd-publication by Dailytimes.ng created a background to the event. It revealed that a week prior to the event, Malawians were being attacked in Durban. The attack was reported to be a retaliation of stolen goods belonging to a South African. This apparently  resulted in 100 Malawians being displaced.

Same play, different cast…

It was a different story entirely when we arrived the third page of google image results. The Protagonist turned out to be a Zimbabwean, not a Malawian as inferred in the reports above. 

The man was spotted in 2017, on a street of Mabvuku town, Harare, Zimbabwe dragging two snakes and chanting continuously as he walked down the road. The report by legit.ng said the snakes were passed down to him by his father and the drama displayed was a way of getting rid of them as advised by his pastor.

Informationng reported the same event on May 8th, 2017; stating that it took place on a Sunday.


Although there were publications by several media platforms on the same topic, it is still not enough to corroborate the veracity of the claim. This is because the picture attached to the claim has appeared several times on the internet as far back as 2017; conveying another story no less. Consequently, there is not enough evidence to prove the truthfulness of the claim.

Timeline of Appearance

September 12, 2019South africaTwo Xenophobic attackers turn into snakes after they tried to burn another Malawian man’s house in Durban. He’s now demanding R200,000 to change them back,

April 3, 2019Malawian Man Turns Attackers into SnakesMachinep.com

April 2, 2019Malawian man turns his attackers into snakesDailytimes.ng
April 2, 2019PICTURES: Malawian Man Turns His Xenophobic attackers Into Snakes Zambian Observer
June 11, 2018When my favourite show is about to start & i wanna be all alone@TrendingSAon3
Twitter Post
May 8, 2017Man Drags Two Large Snakes on the Streets Chanting Incantations in Broad Daylight…Find Out Why | Photos

2017Man drags two large snakes down the road while chanting incantations 
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