Sipho Thwala

Sipho Thwala

Sipho Thwala
Birth name: Sipho Mandla Agmatir Thwala
Also known as: The Phoenix Strangler
Born: 1968
KwaMashu, Durban, South Africa
Number of victims: 19
Span of killings: 1996–1997
Country: South Africa
Date apprehended: 1997

Sipho Mandla Agmatir Thwala (born 1968) is a South African rapist and serial killer who was convicted in 1999 for the murders of 16 women and 10 rapes and was sentenced to 506 years in prison.[1] Thwala was known by the moniker “The Phoenix Strangler”.[1]

Thwala, born and raised in KwaMashu, began his year-long rape and murder spree in 1996 in KwaZulu-Natal province.[2] His modus operandi was to lure local women into accompanying him through sugarcane fields of Mount Edgecombe near the town of Phoenix, South Africa with the promise of employment as domestic servants in hotels.[1] Once the couple were deep within the cane fields, Thwala would attack the women, bind them with their own undergarmets, rape, strangle and bludgeon them. Afterwards, he would set fire to the cane fields in hopes of destroying any physical evidence of his attack.[2]

Sipho Thwala was arrested in 1997 after South African police matched DNA found on the victims to DNA taken from Thwala in 1994 when he was arrested and acquitted of a rape.[1] On March 31, 1999, the Durban, South Africa High Court found Sipho Thwala guilty of 16 murders and 10 rapes, and sentenced to 506 years in prison.[2]


Further reading

  • Newton, Michael (2000). The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. New York: Checkmark Books. ISBN 0-816-03979-8. 

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