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The Hlophe royal family and local residents in Ndwedwe on Durban's north coast are reeling from shock after the local chief's sister, Zimbi Dingeni Hlophe, was beaten to death by her live-in lover on Saturday night.
After killing her, Mandlezulu Mandlenkosi Mnguni committed suicide by hanging himself. The two allegedly had an argument over a R50 note.
Zimbi, 50, was the sister of the Hlophe clan chief inkosi Vukani Hlophe, who told Sowetan yesterday that his sister was killed for allegedly hiding a R50 note Mnguni, 68, had asked her to keep "safe".
"Apparently, when he arrived at home he couldn't get the money and assumed that my sister had spent it. He then started assaulting her.
"However, he later found the money, which is what we assume led him to decide to take his own life," said inkosi Hlophe.
The couple's son, Mzamo Hlophe, who witnessed the incident, said when he arrived home just after 8pm the two were already fighting.
"When I arrived home my father was assaulting her.
"He whipped her until she collapsed. While beating her he kept on asking where his money was. After she had fainted, he found the money," Mzamo said.
He said in the morning he found his father hanging from a tree in the yard. "He must have hanged himself during the night because I only found him in the morning - and he was dead."
Police spokesperson Captain S'fundiswa Hlophe said police found a letter allegedly written by Mnguni.
"In the letter he apologised, saying he had not meant to kill her. He said he was just warning her, but she died. He also asked that relatives should not feel sorry for him since he was the one who had killed his lover."
Hlophe said Hlophe's face was also badly bruised.
"She was badly hurt in the face, and although there were laceration marks, we are convinced that he used his fists as well," he said.