News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday April 21st 2019

Activist embarks on hunger strike in call for end to necklacing


Nkwame Cedile has embarked on a nine day hunger strike to raise awareness of the vigilante necklacings occuring in Khayelitsha where he lives. Cedile works at the Right 2 Know campaign offices in Woodstock. Photo: Peter Luhanga/WCN

A social justice activist is on a nine-day hunger strike to draw attention to the “animalistic” acts of vigilante necklacing in black townships.

Nkwame Cedile, 47, from Khayelitsha started his “eight plus one” campaign last Friday in attempt to draw attention to brutal acts of vigilante violence in which suspected thieves are stoned and set alight.

He is surviving on water alone and dedicates each of his eight days to the eight people who have been necklaced in Khayelitsha and surrounding areas so far this year.

The ninth day is in honour of  one “Rice” from Gugulethu who was killed by a mob of boys aged between 14 and 17 while he and others were patrolling in their community to safeguard it from youth gangsterism.

In an interview with West Cape News on Tuesday, Cedile said it was disturbing to see the killers dancing around their victims in glory.

He said that the perpetrators need counseling as such acts of barbarism could not be justified.

Necklacing first came about in townships under apartheid as a way of torturously killing people suspected of colluding with the state security forces.

It has recently re-emerged as the way mobs of vigilantes kill suspected thieves.

“We cannot be happy about that, it’s animalistic. We need to stop the self-destruction of our society.”

He said communities should stop simplify the murders by saying that police had failed them in combatting crime.

He said at the core of the problem was poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Cedile said that these issues, unless resolved by the government, would keep driving young people to commit crimes.

“Why are most of our black kids feeding into Pollsmoor Prison while white kids are feeding into the University of Cape Town?”

He felt that the ruling African Nation Congress and other parties such as the Pan African Congress and Azapo were now “failing the people they had liberated”.

He also said that churches, non-profit orgnisations as well as the community members had failed to take a stand against “senseless killings.”

Cedile has written a letter to Premier Helen Zille and Mayor Patricia De Lille highlighting concerns about necklacing.

He also intends to send the letter to President Jacob Zuma.

In it, he writes in part that young people are turning to crime to escape reality.

“Our youth turn to crime and substance abuse as a means of escape from their reality (poverty, unemployment and inequality).”

If these issues are not solved, he said “we will be a society of murderers, killing our own children.” – Francis Hweshe

Tags: African Nation Congress, Azapo, Helen Zille, Khayelitsha, Nine-day hunger strike, Nkwame Cedile, Pan African Congress, patricia de lille, President Jacob Zuma, vigilante necklacing

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