The brutal murder of Elvis Nyathi at the hands of a bloodthirsty mob

Everson Luhanga

Mbhodazwe Elvis Nyathi, 43, was already in bed with his wife when there was knocking at the door of his shack with men’s voices demanding that he open the door and produce an ID document.

Elvis tried to explain his situation to them. He ran out of his shack into the street only to be confronted by an even larger group who stopped him.

The gang had been walking the streets of Diepsloot ext 1 knocking on doors of people they suspected of being foreign nationals, demanding to see their documents.

Then the madness began.

Elvis’ brother, Godknows Nyathi, 49, said the group started beating him up with clubs, steel pipes and stones.

“They took him back into his shack accusing him of having a firearm,” said Godknows.


“They threw everything out of the shack, scattering his possessions all over the street, but they didn’t find a gun.

The angry mob took Elvis outside where they continued beating him up.  

Then a man appeared with a tyre. While Elvis was screaming for help and pleading for his life to be spared, the tyre was placed around him, he was doused with petrol and set alight – a barbaric method of execution known as necklacing.

“The mob watched until my brother was a heap of ashes,” said Godknows.

All this time Elvis’ wife was waiting for him to come home. She hoped they would bring him back – but then she received the horrific news that her husband had been burnt alive.

Elvis’ neighbour, also a Zimbabwean, was beaten and left to die. On Thursday morning when Scrolla.Africa visited the scene, there were blood stains where he was lying before being placed in a wheelbarrow and then taken to hospital in a private car.

Another neighbour was spared from being burnt by gas when the mob saw that she had a small baby.

On Thursday morning, tears and emotions were high at the scene where Elvis was murdered.

The family performed rituals to collect his spirit.

Godknows said his brother was not a criminal but he was killed like an animal.

“He was a quiet man. He was a gardener working in Fourways,” said Godknows.

Minister Bheki Cele visited the Nyathi family later in the afternoon. Cele, who had delivered 16 new police vehicles at the troubled police station, said police are ready to fight the criminals.

So far, no one has been arrested for the seven people who were killed last weekend and no one has been arrested for Nyathi’s murder.

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