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Necklacing is the practice of summary execution and torture carried out by forcing a rubber tire, filled with petrol, around a victim's chest and arms, and setting it on fire. The victim may take up to 20 minutes to die, suffering severe burns in the process.

In South Africa[edit]

The practice appears to have begun in the Cape area of South Africa in the mid-1980s. One incident sometimes cited as the first recorded instance of necklacing took place in Uitenhage on 23 March 1985 when a group of people killed Benjamin Kinikini, a local councillor who was accused of having links to a vigilante group. Kinikini and members of his family were dragged out of their house, stabbed to death, and their bodies set on fire.[1] Two of those judged to be the perpetrators, Wellington Mielies, 26, and Moses Jantjies, 23, were hanged on 1 September 1987.[2] But in this case the victims were killed by stabbing, and not by burning tyres.

Something similar seems to have happened in the killing of Matthew Goniwe and his fellow anti-apartheid activists by the police in July 1985.[3]

Necklacing "sentences" were sometimes handed down against alleged criminals by "people's courts" established in black townships as a means of enforcing their own judicial system. Necklacing was also used by the black community to punish its members who were perceived as collaborators with the apartheid government. These included black policemen, town councilors and others, as well as their relatives and associates. The practice was often carried out in the name of the ANC, although the ANC executive body condemned it.[4][5] In 1986 Winnie Mandela, then-wife of the imprisoned Nelson Mandela, stated "With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country" which was widely seen as an implicit endorsement of necklacing,[6] which at the time caused the ANC to distance itself from her,[7] although she later took on a number of official positions within the party.[7] The number of deaths per month in South Africa related to political unrest as a whole from 1992 through 1995 ranged from 54 to 605 and averaged 244.[8] These figures are inclusive of massacres as well as deaths not attributed to necklacing.

The first victim of necklacing, according to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, was a young girl, Maki Skosana, in July 1985.[9]

Photojournalist Kevin Carter was the first to photograph a public execution by necklacing in South Africa in the mid-1980s. He later spoke of the images

He went on to say:

Author Lynda Schuster writes,

Archbishop Desmond Tutu once famously saved a near victim of necklacing when he rushed into a large gathered crowd and threw his arms around a man accused of being a police informant, who was about to be killed. Tutu's actions, which were caught on film,[13] caused the crowd to release the man.

Necklacing returned to South Africa in 2008 when black South Africans turned against black immigrants from the rest of Africa. The influx of immigrants led to violence, looting, and murder in some of South Africa’s poorest areas; this violence included necklace lynching.[14] This raised concerns that the latent practice might return once more as a form of public protest in the wake of service delivery failures by the ruling ANC.[15]

Some commentators have noted that the practice of necklacing served to escalate the levels of violence during the township wars of the 1980s and early 1990s as security force members became brutalized and afraid that they might fall victim to the practice.[16]

In other countries[edit]

This practice of lynching is found in the Caribbean country of Haiti. It was prominently used against supporters of Jean-Claude Duvalier's dictatorship at the beginning of the democratic transition, from 1986 to 1990.[citation needed] There were about 45 or so at the close of 2010, including about 40 in Grand'Anse Department.[17]

In the early 1990s, university students in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire were plagued by burglars stealing from their dormitories. The students took matters into their own hands by capturing the alleged thieves, and then executed them by placing tyres around their necks and setting the tyres on fire. Ivorian police, powerless to stop these necklacings, could do nothing but stand by and watch.[18]

In 2006, at least one person died in Nigeria by necklacing in the deadly Muslim protests over satirical cartoon drawings of Muhammad.[19]

The practice is widely used by drug dealers in Brazil, where it's called micro-ondas[20][21] (allusion to the microwave oven).[22] Journalist Tim Lopes was a notable victim.

Necklacing was also widely used in the armed insurrection led by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna in Sri Lanka. A graphic description of one such necklacing appears in the book The Island of Blood by journalist Anita Pratap.


  1. ^ Parker, Peter, In the Shadow of Sharpeville: Apartheid and Criminal Justice, p. 263, ISBN 9780814766590 
  2. ^ Parks, Michael (1987-09-02), S. Africa Hangs 2 Blacks for Murder, Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2013-12-14 
  3. ^ Dixon, Norm (1993), South African cops invented 'necklace' murders, Green Left Weekly, retrieved 2013-12-14 
  4. ^ "The Black Struggle for Political Power: Major Forces in the Conflict". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  5. ^ Fihlani, Pumza (2011-10-12). "Is necklacing returning to South Africa?". BBC News. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  6. ^ David Beresford (27 January 1989). "Row over 'mother of the nation' Winnie Mandela". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  7. ^ a b . AfricaFiles http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=3791. Retrieved 2013-12-07.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Elirea Bornman, René van Eeden, Marie Wentzel (1998). Violence in South Africa: A Variety of Perspectives. HSRC Publishers. p. 19. ISBN 0796918589. 
  9. ^ "Truth And Reconciliation Commission". Doj.gov.za. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  10. ^ "Truth Commission Looks At First "Necklace" Murder". SAPA. 4 February 1997. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  11. ^ Tim Porter (18 February 2003). "Covering War in a Free Society". Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  12. ^ Lynda Schuster (2004). A Burning Hunger: One Family's Struggle Against Apartheid. Ohio University Press. p. 453. ISBN 9780821416525. 
  13. ^ Cowell, Alan (1985-07-11). "Bishop Tutu Saves Man From Crowd". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ Violence erupts in South-Africa, Blackademics, 2008
  15. ^ http://www.environment.co.za/documents/water/KeynoteAddressCSIR2008.pdf
  16. ^ Turton, A.R. 2010. Shaking Hands with Billy. Durban: Just Done Publications. http://www.shakinghandswithbilly.com
  17. ^ "Protests over Haiti's cholera outbreak turn violent". CNN. 15 November 2010. 
  18. ^ Kaplan, Robert D. (1996). The Ends of the Earth: A Journey to the Frontiers of Anarchy. New York: Random House. p. 14. ISBN 0-679-75123-8. 
  19. ^ Musa, 'Njadvara (19 February 2006). "Muslims' rage over cartoons hits Nigeria". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 18 September 2009. 
  20. ^ Fábio Grellet (24 May 2010). "Autorizado a visitar família, condenado por morte de Tim Lopes foge da prisão" (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro: Folha de S. Paulo. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  21. ^ O Globo (18 September 2008). "Polícia encontra 4 corpos que seriam de traficantes queimados com pneus" (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro: Federação Nacional dos Policiais Federais. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  22. ^ "micro-ondas". WordReference. Retrieved 2013-07-06. .

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necklacing — Please support Wikipedia.
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10 news items


Thu, 02 Oct 2014 00:33:06 -0700

Activist guilty of 'necklacing' murder. 2014-10-02 09:32. Johnnie Isaac, GroundUp. Angy Peter (Facebook). Multimedia · User Galleries · News in Pictures Send us your pictures · Send us your stories ...
Mail & Guardian Online
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:48:45 -0700

Then there were the indirect killings she was responsible for by her public advocacy of necklacing, that unique South African invention Madikizela-Mandela played such an ignoble role in developing, which involved burning someone to death with a rubber ...

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal
Thu, 02 Oct 2014 07:22:27 -0700

Such killings were a gruesome form of execution used mostly in black townships to punish victims accused of collaborating with the white government, "necklacing" involved forcing a gasoline filled rubber tire over a victim's neck and shoulders and ...

The Age

Democracy Now
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 07:28:37 -0700

Some Macoutes who committed capital crimes suffered the popular justice called "Père Lebrun," or necklacing: A tire, filled with gasoline, was placed around their bodies and burned. AMY GOODMAN: Haiti: Killing the Dream, produced by Hart and Dana ...

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:42:23 -0700

Speaking after his wife addressed the Iowa crowd, Mr. Clinton explained his 1994 Haiti intervention: "The military dictator down there was putting tires around people's necks and setting them afire, in an affectionate policy called necklacing," he ...

Independent Online

Independent Online
Wed, 17 Sep 2014 07:39:44 -0700

Cape Town - Parliament started a “know your speaker” campaign on social networking site Twitter on Wednesday, following the opposition parties' defeat in a vote of no confidence in Speaker Baleka Mbete. The official Twitter site (at)ParliamentofRSA ...
Mail & Guardian Online
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 02:07:30 -0700

Shortly after Du Preez was released on bail in October 2012, he was kidnapped and killed by necklacing. Peter, who was heavily pregnant at the time, and Mbadi were arrested for his murder. “I didn't realise in my own country I'd have to hide from the ...
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 05:00:00 -0700

The defence has disputed the police officers' claims that the deceased spoke clearly and without pause in naming his assailants, and that he explained to the police how he was forced into a van, assaulted, driven to the location of the necklacing and ...

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