At least 37 people were killed today as rival black factions battled with guns, knives and axes, setting fire to shacks and chasing terrified people through the streets.
Dozens of homes were burned and hundreds of residents fled as rival groups battled for several hours during the morning in Tokoza, a black township, and in a surrounding industrial area. Hacked and mutilated bodies lay outside houses that had been burned and pillaged.
The fighting pitted mostly Xhosas loyal to the African National Congress against Zulus of the Inkatha Freedom Party in what increasingly appeared to be a tribal confrontation. The Xhosas live in a squatter camp, while the Zulus live in adjoining hostels.
At least 53 people have died in factional fighting in Tokoza since the latest fighting began on the weekend.
Xhosa squatters armed with clubs, spears and knives gathered for safety at one end of the township, while hundreds of armed Zulus in white headbands were waiting in a migrant workers’ hostel at the other end of Tokoza.
“We want revenge! . . . We want to fight!” some Zulus chanted.