Brother of Sizzlers victim slams crime in SA

By Lindiz Van Zilla Time of article published Jan 24, 2003

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Faced with press, television crews and photographers, the younger brother of slain Sizzlers gay massage parlour owner Aubrey Eric Otgaar used his brother's funeral to call on South Africans "to get up off our backsides to save this beautiful country".

Otgaar, 56, was the oldest and the first of the eight victims of the Sizzlers massacre to be buried.

At St Anthony's Catholic Church in Kraaifontein, his brother, Tony Otgaar, spoke on behalf of the small gathering of family members who sat clustered in the first few pews.

Friends sat further back.

The large media contingent squeezed into the last row and in the pews running along the sides of the red-bricked church.

Trains rumbled past on the nearby railway line as cameras flashed.

"In townships around South Africa there are people being murdered, but this is never reported," Otgaar said.

"The grief those people feel is the same as the grief we feel here today."

Otgaar called on South Africans to rally against wrongdoing "or this beautiful country of ours will be overtaken by crime".

"We must not do this only for the white or coloured community, but for all South Africans," he said.

"The onus is on us and we must say to the government we have had enough."

Catholic priest Christopher Clohessy said people should be judged "not by what they do, but who they are".

"There is a vast difference between who we are inside as people and the things we often do," he said.

Clohessy questioned whether the lives "these eight men led had been worthwhile and what had made them become trapped in a lifestyle where they were open to abuse by others".

"Did they enjoy the work, did it fill them with joy and fulfilment?"

Clohessy said one of the victims, Travers Reade, had "lots of money, wore the best clothes and carried the latest cellphone... but was it worth it and did it matter in the end?"

"For all his money and new clothes, Travers didn't even reach his 21st birthday," Clohessy said.

Among those who paid their respects was Abé, 18, who had worked at Sizzlers until three months ago.

Otgaar then stood up and shed some light on the personality of his brother, who was known in the industry by his second name, Eric.

"I want to show the other side of Aubrey that some of you might never have known."

He and his brother had been at boarding school together, Otgaar said. His brother had always been around to comfort him and offer him support.

"He had a great sense of humour and was also extremely mischievous," Otgaar said.

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