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Amakrwala lead reign of terror in Lower Crossroads

By Buziwe Nocuze

Residents of Lower Crossroads in Cape Town are falling victim to a wave of robberies committed by amakrwala (“new men”).

Zingiswa Funde, 35, experienced this firsthand when a group of amakrwala approached her while she was visiting her family.

“I never thought they were going to rob me because they had just returned from initiation school in December, where they were taught how a real man should conduct himself,” said Funde.

It was only after they had taken her cell phone and money that she realised she had been robbed.

“There were four of them, carrying a bottle of Russian Bear vodka; they asked me if I could give them money to buy juice to mix with their vodka,” Funde recalled.

When she informed them that she didn’t have any money, they surrounded her and began searching her belongings.

“While they were busy searching, they passed the vodka around, drinking it through a straw. They took everything, and I still can’t believe that they robbed me while dressed in new men’s clothing.”

A resident, who requested anonymity for fear of being targeted, told Scrolla.Africa that the new men have been terrorising the community for months.

“They have learned nothing during initiation school. I heard they were involved in robberies before going in, and residents had hoped they would return as changed individuals who would respect the community,” said the resident.

He further disclosed that people are now organising and strategising on how to handle the situation, as they are tired of being mistreated in their community.

Some victims shared their harrowing experiences, highlighting the disrespectful behaviour of these criminals.

“They told us not to be fooled by the clothes that meant nothing to them. I was shocked because they should have respected the clothes they wore after returning from initiation school,” one victim said.

A 40-year-old resident recounted how he was forced to drink a shot of vodka.

“I despise them. Yes, I drink, but I don’t drink Russian Bear. On the day they robbed me, after seeing how stressed I was, they insisted I drink to alleviate the stress caused by them. It was incredibly disrespectful.”

Sikelela Zokufa, the founder of Somagwaza Institute, which focuses on the preservatino of traditional initiation, expressed shock upon hearing about the new men’s actions.

“It’s evident that they haven’t learned anything during initiation. The responsibility to change lies with them. Sometimes, while they are there, they behave as if they have changed,” said Zokufa, expressing hope for the new men to alter their ways.

Philippi East station commander Colonel Mzwabantu Jada said he is pushing his members to do more patrols in the area.

“We always encourage community members to open cases when these incidents happen. They must also give us information and we promise that we will keep their names anonymous.”

Pictured above: Lower Crossroads residents are depicted being terrorised by new men, who sometimes coerce their victims into drinking vodka after robbing them, claiming it will alleviate the stress caused by their actions

Image source: Buziwe Nocuze