A 23-year-old gay activist has been murdered in South Africa following what local media are reporting as an argument about his sexuality and gender appearance.
Thapelo Makutle (pictured), commonly known as ThaBling, was killed in the small town of Kuruman, in Northern Cape province, on June 9 in what local LGBTI rights group LEGBO is calling the latest case of homophobic hate crime in the country.
LEGBO, in collaboration with the NC NGO Coalition and queer media organisation Iranti Org, has called for the provincial police commissioner to urgently investigate and arrest the perpetrators.
Makhutle’s two attackers are believed to have followed him to the room where he lived, cut his throat, and mutilated him before stuffing his genitals in his mouth, MambaOnline reported.
“It’s so sad. I can’t describe the pain we are feeling right now,” LEGBO director Shaine Griqua said.
“We demand to have the right to access the forensic reports and to be updated on the current investigation.
“We are shocked that the Mothibistad Police have not made any arrests at this stage.”
A police official said the area had not had any reports of hate crimes before, something Jabu Pereira, the director of Iranti, said was untrue.
“Despite ongoing homophobic attacks in South Africa, the police remain ignorant and insensitive to how they should address hate crimes,” Pereira said.
Makutle, who was recently crowned Miss Gay Kuruman, identified as both gay and transgender, and was a volunteer for LEGBO.
The organisation said it was devising an awareness campaign about Makutle’s attack.