Vigilantism And The Paradoxes Of Sovereignty

In October 2015, Lubabalo Vellem was arrested in Masiphumelele,1 a townshrlip of some 40,000 people some twenty-five miles south of Cape Town. Many of its residents are migrants from elsewhere in the country or the African continent at large.

Vellem, aged 35, was accused of instigating “mob justice” in the wake of what was taken to be the drug-related rape and murder of a fellow resident, 14-year old Amani Pula. A popular soccer player, Pula had been set upon while waiting for the morning transport to school.