Tucked in a remote corner of South Africa, this frightened village of 3,000 people has suffered a murder almost every month, occurring with clockwork regularity for a year.

ZINGQOLWENI – Sleep is something that the inhabitants of Zingqolweni abandoned many months ago.

Tucked in a remote corner of South Africa, this frightened village of 3,000 people has suffered a murder almost every month, occurring with clockwork regularity for a year.

The brutal series of killings has earned Zingqolweni a chilling moniker: “The Village of Death.”

All 11 victims have been elderly people, most of whom were women and most of whom lived alone.

They have been stabbed to death in their homes after nightfall, when pitch darkness falls over a village where the unpaved roads are unlit.

Nobongile Fihla, 50, spoke to AFP as she walked back from the cemetery.

Her mother was among the first victims, killed in May 2021.

“I found my mother there, next to the door, lying in a pool of blood. Her throat was slit,” Fihla told AFP.

Her aunt was then found stabbed to death in the same thatched round hut where the two sisters lived.

No-one saw or heard anything.

The homes, known as rondavels, are far apart from each other in Zingqolweni, a Xhosa-speaking community lying three hours from the nearest large city of East London.

Here the sun sets behind the green mountains of the Eastern Cape province by 6pm (1600 GMT) in the winter months.

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