A KILLER makoti striking fear into Nelson Mandela Bayresidents for weeks has turned out to be nothing more than urban legend.
Like something from a Halloween tale, a message circulating on social networks and cellphone messaging services over recent weeks warns about a man pretending to be a makoti – a new bride in isiXhosa – who kills people.
"He knocks at people's doors and he kills the first person to open the door, or he screams like a woman outside and when one goes out to check he kills that person," the message reads.
While some were quick to dispel the rumours yesterday, others were afraid to speak about it, fearing the killer makoti would come after them.
Kwazakhele taxi driver Thabiso Pakisi, 36, said he had first heard about the "killer makoti" from passengers.
Shortly afterwards, he heard someone screaming, but he was not sure if he was just being paranoid after hearing the story.
"I immediately armed myself with my okapi [knife] and went outside to see what was happening, but there was no one,
"I was just waiting for someone to come to me, then I was going to deal with this so-called makoti.
"I have also seen [messages about] him, but have not heard of anyone coming forward about a family member who has been murdered by this makoti."
Xolani Mboyi, 45, of Korsten, said he was ignoring the rumours "because they can actually drive one insane".
"Why are the police not involved in this? Where are the family members of the people who have been killed by this makoti guy? The last time there were rumours about a talking goat, but we have never seen it. Now it's this," he said.
"People are forever coming up with stories, like now there are rumours that it will stop raining when the tortoise that comes from Cape Town reaches its destination in Butterworth."
Simphiwe Kose, 39, of Rolihlahla township near Zwide, said the killer makoti had been a hot topic in his community.
"I heard that he rapes and kills. This is very scary because now we have to be alert all the time.
"Something should be done. Whoever he is, he should be dealt with. We have sisters, wives and children that we have to worry about all the time," he said.
The only woman who was willing to comment – Andiswa Pasiya, 22, of Mount Road – said she was aware of the killer makoti rumours.
"It's very scary, especially because I stay alone. Once it's dark, I lock myself indoors, because I don't know when he might come to my area," she said.
Uitenhage police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Marianette Olivier said police were aware of the rumours.
"According to information we've received, a woman is heard crying at night – especially around midnight. Residents claim the crying makoti knocks on doors and when residents open the door, they are attacked and stabbed by the woman
"The rumours have been doing the rounds in the community for the past three weeks.
"These claims are untrue. There are no reported cases to substantiate them," Olivier said.
Motherwell police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said detectives in his cluster had also heard the rumours, but nothing had been reported to the police.