Thirty six people were killed in Phoenix during the July riots, said South Africa Police Minister Bheki Cele today.
BELOW: Name list of the Phoenix murder victims just released by police in Kwazulu-Natal province
Of the 36 mostly black victims in Phoenix last month, 30 were shot, two were burnt to death, one was stabbed and one was run over by a vehicle, said Cele.
In his presser, the minister provided an update on total fatalities from the unrest that saw deadly racial violence between Indians and blacks.
“Two others died from the brutal injuries they sustained after being assaulted,” he told reporters.
Three Indians were among the deceased.
BELOW: One of those killed in Phoenix was renowned choreographer Delani Khumalo; he was hacked and burned
Phoenix’s historical Indian connection
Mohandas K. Gandhi – India’s famous mahatma and Father of Independence – had spent two decades (1893 – 1914) of his early adult life in South Africa as a practising lawyer.
From his lived experience, Gandhi thought black people were less civilized than Indians and complained that “they are troublesome, very dirty and live like animals” — see The Atlantic 28 March 2011 article.
BELOW: India prime minister Narendra Modi paid a visit to the rebuilt Gandhi residence during his 2016 South Africa visit
Gandhi had established the Phoenix Settlement in 1904 on one hundred acres of land which he purchased to realise his vision of self-reliant communal living.
It was here in South Africa‘s Natal – today called Kwazulu-Natal – that Gandhi founded his ashram and the satyagraha (philosophy of passive resistance) movement.
From Phoenix, Gandhi operated his newspaper Indian Opinion printed in four languages — Hindi, English, Tamil and Gujarati.
In August 1985, the preserved printing press as well as Gandhi’s original house were set ablaze by African locals during the Inanda riots.
Kasturba Primary School, built in 1954, and bearing the name of Gandhi’s wife was also destroyed by the rioters.
Today, thousands of shacks made of mud walls and tin sheets spread over what is Phoenix Settlement land. The African squatters call their shanty town Bhambayi.
Some of the Phoenix murder victims were from Bhambayi.
The EFF – a radical black political party – is organizing a march on Phoenix this week Thursday (see tweet below).
This so-called EFF protest ‘march’ – or in other words, black mobilization – could spell trouble for the town’s Indian community.