Granny Grace Nemukula, who was murdered in her house last week.
For years, the area of Tshilamba in Mutale outside Thohoyandou has been synonymous with mysterious killings. Some have even been ritually motivated, where people were killed for body parts.
Residents in the area claim that, over the years, more than 10 people - many of them elderly - have perished after being mercilessly killed by faceless killers.
In the latest killing, a 95-year-old granny was found murdered in her house at Thengwe Matangule Thondoni. Ms Grace Nemukula was alone at home when an unknown assailant gained entry by breaking a window and forcing open burglar bars before attacking the defenceless granny. She was found dead by relatives who had enquired after they could not reach her on her phone. She was apparently attacked and strangled with the cord of a cellphone charger. She was also robbed of an undisclosed amount of money and her cellphone.
The incident is believed to have happened last Wednesday evening but was only noticed on Thursday morning.
The deceased's son, Mr Khathu Nemukula, said he used to call her to find out how she was keeping. He further stated that he had tried calling her on Thursday morning, only to find that her phone was off. "At first, I assumed her phone's battery might be flat, but panicked when I found that it was still off after 10:00. At that stage, I called a family member, who went to the house to be greeted by the grim scene.”
He added that the deceased had been more than a mother to him, and it felt as if a part of him had been removed. “The way she was killed was the most barbaric. She was old but still strong as she could still till the fields, and we never thought her life would be ended this way," he said.
Khathu further indicated that many incidents of the same nature had happened in the area, with no one having been arrested. He added that he knew that his mother was gone for good, leaving the family with many unanswered questions. He would, however, be comforted if the killer or killers were arrested and jailed as many elderly people and some women stayed alone and were vulnerable to these barbaric killers.
The councillor for Ward 4 in the Thulamela Local Municipality, Mr Nenzhelele Madima, said the community was in shock. "There are so many unsolved murders in this area, but with no arrests. As a community, we will soon be petitioning the local police about these cases," he said.
Mr Benedict Nalana of the Mutale Concerned Group and Care said they were worried about the high number of murders in the area and the lack of arrests. "The law in this country favours the rich. Most of those killed were poor and we are worried that cases where victims are high-profile people, the police spare no resources to track down perpetrators. We expect the same in these cases, but it is not happening here," said Nalana.
The local senior traditional leader, Thovhele Bvudzidzhena Nethengwe, said he was highly disturbed about what was happening in his area. "People are no longer safe in this area, whether it be in the streets or at home. Crime is high here, even though we make it part of our agenda during our meetings. We are making a call to whoever might be having any information that could help the police in tracing suspects involved in crimes around here to come forth and help them crack these cases," he said.
Date:24 February 2019 - By: Elmon Tshikhudo
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.