Two teenage boys accused of theft were burnt to death early on Saturday morning, allegedly by angry neighbours who used a tyre and clothing to fuel the fire.
At mid-morning on Saturday, the bodies of Sakhiwe Sakhetye, 17, and Ngcina Mbana, 18, were still entwined in a grisly heap, watched over by a large crowd of mostly women and children.
There were sticks and stones lying around and the two appeared to have been badly beaten before being torched by the mob.
The apparent vigilante killing took place in Nkanini, a suburb of Makhaza off Baden Powell Drive.
Harare police spokesperson Constable Nosiphiwo Mtengwane said they were called at 6am after receiving reports of the burning.
The community was tight-lipped about reasons for the horrific attack but some said the teenagers were believed to have "stolen something, although no one would say what".
William Jonas, of the area's community police forum, said he had heard that a mob had turned on the boys after the alleged theft around 2am.
"We are still searching from house to house to find out more," said Jonas.
Sakhiwe's shocked parents Joyce and Simon Sakhetye said the last they saw of him was on Friday afternoon, some hours before his death. His father admitted that Sakhiwe had stolen things before.
"My child was naughty and he was taking drugs," Simon said. His uncle Tali Mqobosha agreed, saying he kept bad company. "My nephew was a rough boy but we were trying to get him right." Ngcina's family members said they hadn't seen him for a week. One of his relatives told Weekend Argus they had heard about the allegation of theft but could not say whether this was true.
The burnt and beaten bodies lay for hours in a sandy area surrounded by corrugated iron shacks near the Nosiseko Cash Store, which was open for business as usual.
Stray dogs had to be occasionally chased away from the bodies.
When some men in a nearby shack turned up their music, several children started to dance unconcernedly.
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During Nelson Mandela's trial, they found a document wherein he had said that some hideous punishment must be found for "traitors" (i.e. Blacks who actually support, work with and are friendly to Whites). In this document, Nelson Mandela suggested - cutting off their noses. Years later, his wife, Winnie Mandela, publicised the idea of "necklacing" the traitors - which is to burn them alive. They put a tyre around their necks, pour petrol in and set them on fire.
"With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country Winnie Madikizela-Mandela