Necklaced twins 'good boys who loved church'

2015-09-17 07:32
The spot where the boys' bodies were discovered. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

The spot where the boys' bodies were discovered. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Johannesburg - The family of 16-year-old twins Sabelo and Samkelo is still coming to grips with the fact that they are not only dead, but that they also were necklaced in an open field.

Holding back her tears on Wednesday afternoon, Elizabeth Mayisela, the pair's great aunt, told News24 that for as long as she could remember, they were good boys who loved going to church.

"I know them as good boys, they were good boys and loved church. Where things went wrong I have no idea, but I knew them as kids who loved church."

She says she had heard that the boys were gang-affiliated.

"People say they were also part of this OVL."

Three teenage boys have been killed and three houses burnt in violence between residents and gang members in Daveyton, on the East Rand.

Members of a gang called OVL killed a teenage boy in Etwatwa on Sunday by forcing a tyre over his body, dousing it with petrol and setting it alight. Four OVL members were arrested on Monday.

'They broke open the door and got him'

On Tuesday, Sabelo and Samkelo Mayisela, both OVL members, were killed in the same fashion as the first boy, a practice known as necklacing.

On Wednesday, the grieving Mayisela family sat quietly in the living room as Elizabeth described the moment the family heard the news that their boys were being sought by an angry mob of residents from a neighbouring community.

"My sister's daughter [who also lives here] works late hours, when she was getting dropped off at home she saw a large crowd of people outside the house," Elizabeth says.

(Mpho Raborife, News24)

The driver then told Elizabeth's niece Dudu that he wouldn't drop her off until they found out what was going on.

"They got out, went to go see what was happening. Apparently they [the group] found one of the boys in the backroom. I'm not sure if he was sleeping or what, but he had locked himself in the room.

"They broke open the door and got him and took him. Where they found the other one we don't know. We just found out that they burnt them, both of them."

Elizabeth said the boys' mother passed away in 2010 and they had been living with their grandmother, her sister, ever since.

Their grandmother was not taking things well, she said.

Residents fed up with gangs

Less than two kilometres away, Martha Nhleko's home was broken into and vandalised, allegedly by the same community mob that had attacked the Mayisela home.

It appears as though residents from a neighbouring township were frustrated with the havoc the gang-related youths were causing, and had decided to do something about it.

The group entered Nhleko's yard and proceeded to set alight the shack that her eldest son, Africa, was staying in. No one was home at the time of the incident.

(Mpho Raborife, News24)

On Wednesday afternoon, Martha's brother and eldest son were installing new door handles in her home after the group also tried to break into the house.

Africa, who is 22, said this was not the first time their home had been targeted.

"When they first came here [two weeks ago] and broke our windows we thought it was a petty thing. We didn't want to go to the police, but my mother insisted and went to open a case.

"When they came for the second time [last week] and stabbed my friends who were in my room at the time, then we started wondering what these guys were after.

"It's been three weeks now of them doing things here. First it was breaking our windows, then stabbing my friends, and now burning my shack. I have no gripes with anyone, so I don't know why they would target my room."

He said he knew Sabelo and Samkelo because they were classmates with his 15-year-old brother, John.

"I know those two boys who were killed, they were my brother's friends. The same day my friends were stabbed here at my house, those boys are the ones who told me who had stabbed them. That's when I came to the house to check on my friends."

Pressured into joining a gang

Africa said he felt his family was no longer safe in their home.

"I feel like the only thing to do is leave home. My mom also has to move out for a short time, until we put in safety precautions.

"My little brother shouldn't live here anymore either because we don't know if it's him or me [that they're after].

Africa and his mother described John, who had been relocated for his own safety, as an obedient child who was always home and focused on his school work.

They said John was not the type of child who would ever engage in gang-related activities, but because he attended the same school as some of the OVL members, he was bound to befriend some of them.

(Mpho Raborife, News24)

'We are not part of any gang'

Although most boys in Etwatwa were pressured at a young age to align themselves with some kind of gang, in order to gain "protection" and "notoriety" in their respective neighbourhoods, Africa said he and his group of friends were not affiliated to a gang.

"I'm not part of any crew, even if you asked any of my friends. We are not part of any gang.

"I have five or six friends, and we are unaffiliated. One of our friends used to be a member of the OVL gang then he got out, but he is the only one."

When his friend decided to leave the gang, he decided to hang out with Africa and his group of friends. One day some OVL members came to fetch him and take him back, Africa said.

"When they came to get him, we told them to leave him alone because he was now with us, he wasn't going anywhere. Ever since then, there has been tension around here.

"But we don't bother anyone."

Samkelo and Sabelo Mayisela will be buried at the weekend. Their grandmother was not available to speak to News24 as she was making final arrangements for the funeral.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  gangs

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