JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — When news spread that Zulu folk singer Khulekani "Mgqumeni" Khumalo had returned from the dead, thousands of fans descended on his rural home.
The man claiming to be Khumalo, an award-winning traditional maskandi musician who apparently died in 2009, said he had been kept captive by zombies who wanted to put a nail into his head.
He said he woke up last week in a field in Johannesburg, and somehow knew his way around the city.
Police had to use a water cannon to control the hysterical crowds that gathered outside Khumalo's family homestead in Nquthu, a village in northern KwaZulu-Natal province, to catch a glimpse of the man, according to South African newspaper the Times.
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The mystery man addressed the crowds Sunday, announcing his "resurrection" over a loudspeaker.
"I am Mgqumeni. And I know that some of you might not believe, but yes, it's true — it's me," he said to rousing applause, the Times reported.
"I have been suffering a lot at the place where I was kept with zombies. It was hell there and I am so grateful that I was able to free myself and return to my family and you, my supporters," the man said.
Some in the crowd doubted it was Khumalo, noting the man was missing the singer's trademark dreadlocks, had lost a substantial amount of weight and gained a gold tooth.
But a number of family members, including Khumalo's grandmother and two of his wives, said they believed it was him, the Sunday Tribune reported.
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On Monday, police detained the man while carrying out DNA and fingerprint tests to learn his true identity.
Today it seemed to be all over for the impersonator: he was arrested and charged with fraud after police compared fingerprints and found he was not Khulekani “Mqgumeni” Khumalo.
Police have identified him as Sibusiso John Gcabashe, 28, and he has been remanded in custody until Feb. 14.
“My son traveled all the way from Johannesburg with the hope of seeing his father, only to find that the man was a hooligan," Khumalo’s former girlfriend, Zehlise Xulu, told the Mercury.
"I was annoyed when he repeatedly referred to me as his lover,” she added.
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