Mystery surrounds the murder of gender and housing activist Ayanda Denge, whose body was found in her room at the Helen Bowden Nurses Home.
Cape Town - Mystery surrounds the murder of gender and housing activist Ayanda Denge, whose body was found in her room at the Helen Bowden Nurses Home.

Denge, a trans woman, was stabbed in her room at the home last week and will be buried on Saturday.

It was reported that Denge’s room was locked with a padlock from the outside and it was only when a leader at the residence peeped through the window, out of concern, that they noticed her body on the floor.

Denge was a sex-work activist.

Sex Work and Education Activist Taskforce (Sweat) spokesperson Lesego Tlhwale called for an urgent investigation. “We want police to give us closure of what really happened to Ayanda? Who killed Ayanda? We want justice for Ayanda.”

Tlhwale said it was hard to speculate on what could’ve happened to Denge. “She identified as a trans woman, an activist for sex workers, as well as one of the leading activists at Ahmed Kathrada (Helen Bowden) House. At this stage we don’t know what happened and it happened in the middle of the night, it’s dark and there is no electricity there.”

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said: “Our detectives are working around the clock in an effort to find the perpetrator/s to solve this case.”

Reclaim the City spokesperson Bevil Lucas said Denge was living with someone and that person had subsequently disappeared.

“The person may or may not be a suspect, but we found it suspicious that the person has disappeared.”

Lucas said Denge was very outspoken about her sexuality.

Lucas said security at the building was something they continued to work on. “A year ago, a comrade Rasta, was murdered at AKH, but it was in an altercation with security.

“Our biggest challenge is that security providers at the building were contracted by the province and were purely at the building to protect the infrastructure.”

He said occupants have however, formed security task teams that patrol the area and have set a lock-down time, for everyone to be in their rooms.

Embrace Dignity founder Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge said, “We will continue with her (Denge’s) struggle for the rights of transgender people and all others exploited by the system of prostitution.”

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Cape Argus