Mbodazwe Elvis Nyathi

Mbodazwe Elvis Nyathi, 43, was a Zimbabwean national living in Diepsloot, a South African informal settlement.  He was a husband, father of four and worked as a gardener in Fourways.  Late at night, a small but angry group came knocking at the gate – demanding to see his identity documents. Nyathi, who was undocumented, hid in the vicinity until the mob found him. The mob whipped his wife, Nomsa, and stole money. The mob demanded 300zar to release the victims but Nyathi and his wife only had 50zar. Then they beat him, stoned him and set his body alight just 20m from his house.

Family members clean Nyathi’s ashes and blood from the street

Vigilante groups have been protesting against crime and poor policing of immigration laws.  The campaign against foreigners is being led by Operation Dudula, an isiZulu word meaning “to push out.” The group, led by Nhlanhla Mohlauli (also known as ‘Nhlanhla Lux’), has been carrying out raids on what it alleges are brothels, drug dens and trading stores run by foreigners in central Johannesburg and surrounding townships.

Since 1994, tens of thousands of people have been harassed, attacked, or killed because of their status as outsiders or foreign nationals. These vigilante groups have also turned against South African nationals who have darker complexions or speak Tsonga or Venda. The underlying reasons for the attacks are poverty and gross inequality in South Africa.

No one has been arrested.

We demand justice for victims of xenophobic attacks.

Rest in peace Mbodazwe Elvis Nyathi.

Nomsa Tshuma, the widow of Nyathi, weeping outside their dwelling.


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