Published on 13th May 2008 by

To know Richmond is to know Sifeso Nkabinde. This man was the foremost figure in the plague of violence that makes Richmond the most nightmarish town in South Africa. To die in Richmond is not to die as a man woman or child with a name — you die as a member of either Nkabinde’s United Democratic Front or the African National Congress. The followers of each party are polarised in Richmond.”When my time is up it will be up…I cannot really lock myself in the room because I am scared they will kill me… it will be up because I believe when I came into this world God had plans for me.” The plan that Nkabinde ultimately died for was control of Richmond. To die in this KwaZulu -Natal town today is not to die as a person with a name — you die as either a member of Nkabinde’s UDM, the ANC or Incartha. The whole community is polarised by its loyalties to rival parties and has descended into vicious gang warfare. Nkabinde was arch prince over the killings. Originally with the ANC, he was thrown out after allegedly spying for the apartheid regime. He stood accused of 18 murders but through a combination of police bungles and witness intimidation the case collapsed. And so the violence goes on. In a blood-spattered room, the body of a pregnant woman lies slumped in a corner. Her whole family was murdered here in their beds. The climate of fear has forced hundreds to flee. Now Nkabinde’s death has led to more killing in revenge attacks.

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November 1998


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