The sons of a man stabbed to death in a South African mosque have described how they tried to stop the attacker and save their father.

Ismail Bassa, 72, was reportedly killed as he slept in the mosque, in Malmesbury, north of Cape Town, when an unknown man launched the deadly assault early this morning.

According to his widow Zainab, the rest of the family were at home next door when someone began banging on their front door at about 02:30 local time (00:30 GMT).

Mrs Bassa told South African news site TimesLive her sons, Suad, 30, and Faizel, 24, immediately rushed to the mosque "with some heavy equipment" like sticks and "tried to keep the guy inside the mosque".

We tried to help him, but the guy stabbed my brother," Suad told News24. "We chased him down... and police found him."

The man, reported to be of Somali origin, was eventually shot dead by officers, who have launched an investigation,

Mrs Bassa, 59, was today trying to come to terms with her loss.

"My husband talked to everybody, he loved kids, it's a great loss for me, as well as for the community, to pass away in a masjid [mosque], murdered, slaughtered," she told news agency AFP.

"That [mosque] was his second house - you would always find him in the mosque. He left last night and said: 'I'm going now, I'll buy you another Eid dress'."