cannibal is jailed for 12 years

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

A self-confessed cannibal who ripped out the heart of his grandfather and ate it sat quietly in the dock as a Nelspruit circuit court judge sentenced him to 12 years in jail yesterday.

Thulani Nyundu, 26, of Mahushu Trust near White River, was convicted in the same court on Monday.

Nyandu had pleaded guilty to murder with aggravating circumstances before Judge Cynthia Pretorius but claimed that his grandfather had asked him to kill him and eat his heart so he could become a "very strong man".

The quiet-looking Nyundu told the court that his grandfather, Ndubane Nyundu, 63, had instructed him to slit open his chest, take out the heart, mix portions of muti and then eat the mixture with the heart.

"My grandfather told me that if I smeared the muti on his heart I would become the strongest man in the world," Nyundu told the shocked court.

He also claimed that his grandfather had told him that he was very old and wanted him to become the heir to his "power".

Sowetan first reported the incident shortly after it happened on September 3 2006 and Nyundu had been behind bars since then.

Judge Pretorius said she was pleased that Nyundu had not wasted the court's time.

He had pleaded guilty and even went to the extent of showing the police where he had hidden the axe he had used to kill his grandfather.

"You could have become a good man, getting married and having children but you chose your own destiny.

"The years you are going to spend in jail will be the best years of your life, considering that you are young and single," Judge Pretorius told Nyundu during sentencing.

Nyundu's sister, who refused to be interviewed or be identified, wept quietly after the sentencing. She left the court with their mother.