The Sebokeng Massacre leaves more than 30 mourners dead

Relatives of the Sebokeng Night Vigil Massacre. Source: [Accessed: 10 January 2012]

Saturday, 12 January 1991

On the night of 12 January, 1991, more than 30 people were killed while attending an all-night vigil held in a tent in Sebokeng, Vaal where weeping mourners paid final respects to their comrade and community leader, Chris Nangalembe who was a member of the African National Congress (ANC). Nangalembe died on 5 January 1991 after he was kidnapped by unknown assailants and brutally murdered. His body was later found at a rubbish dump in the nearby township of Boipatong.

While attending the vigil, a gang of armed men suddenly invaded the tent where mourners were gathered. A hand grenade was thrown and exploded while the assailants began shooting randomly into the crowd of mourners, leaving 39 people dead and scores injured. A similar event unfolded Kwa-Madala Hostel in Boipatong, Vaal on 17 June 1992, where 46 residents were massacred on what became known as Boipatong Massacre.

• South African History Archive, (2010), ‘Remembering the Nangalembe Nighti Vigil Massacre’, 12 January, [online], Available at [Accessed: 10 January 2012]
• Sedibeng District Municipality, (2011), The 20th Anniversary of the Sebokeng Night Vigil Massacre’, 31 January, [online], Available at [Accessed: 10 January 2012]

Last updated : 12-Jan-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 11-Jan-2012