DURBAN - AN INANDA family fear their loved one, who has been reported missing, may have become a victim of gender-based violence.
Ntando “Ncu” Khumalo, 25, left home in Inanda on August 1 to purchase items from a clothing store in the Durban CBD but has not returned home. Her mother Nokuthula Khumalo fears that because Ntando is a lesbian she may have been targeted. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) crimes have also been highlighted during Women’s Month in August.
Khumalo is losing hope that she will see her daughter alive again.
“My hope of finding her alive is fading. I will accept whatever fate now,” she said.
Anele Bhengu, 22, of KwaMakhutha, south of Durban, was found dead by community members on the morning of June 13. She was a member of the LGBTQI community.
According to Khumalo, her daughter was asleep when she left home on Sunday morning to visit her sister in Phoenix. When she returned home, Ntando was not there.
“I thought she would be socialising in a tavern a stone’s throw away from our home. In the evening she had not returned. It was unlike her.
“She always returned home or phoned to inform me that she would be spending the night with relatives or friends,” said Khumalo.
“One of her friends said she had come to his house that morning (Monday) and asked to borrow a mask. She was going to town to buy some clothes. The friend even asked what she was going to buy for the R200 that he saw her carrying.
“She said she had more money in her pocket and would be back later. We looked everywhere. We searched parks and looked through bushes in the community,” said Khumalo.
She added that on Tuesday they went to the Vela police station in Inanda to report her daughter missing, but were turned away and told to go to Mtshebheni police station.
“The police assumed she had gone off with a boyfriend. I told them that she was a lesbian. At Mtshebheni they said they couldn’t help us. We must go look for her at friends, hospitals and mortuaries. We have not stopped looking. I went back to the police station on Thursday and opened a missing person’s case. I am still waiting for a case number to be sent to me. My daughter has never done anything like this.”
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said Inanda police were investigating the matter.
“A missing person’s case was opened for a 25-year-old woman. Police are still looking for her.”