Kuruman gays living in fear after man killed

By Time of article published Jun 14, 2012

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Sandi Kwon Hoo

WHILE it is unclear whether a 23-year-old gay man was decapitated by his killers in Seoding near Kuruman, the Lesbian and Gay Organisation (Legbo) in the Northern Cape says he was mutilated.

Legbo director Shaine Griqua said well-placed sources in the police had confirmed that Thapelo Makutle’s tongue and genitals had been removed.

“Part of his testicles and penis were cut off and stuffed into his mouth. I tried to speak to the forensic doctor, who was not able to elaborate.”

Griqua said he would view Makutle’s body in the mortuary today so he would know what injuries had been inflicted.

“According to our information, his neck is attached to his head only by a piece of skin.”

Griqua said he believed Makutle had been killed after an argument over whether he was transsexual or gay. The attackers apparently followed him home and killed him, Griqua said.

He said a march had been planned for tomorrow, but had been cancelled for logistical reasons.

“An awareness campaign against hate crimes, in the form of a memorial service for Makutle, will be held instead tomorrow. We expect about 1 000 people to attend,’’ he said.

Keletile Mabilo, a Legbo member in Kuruman and a friend of Makutle, said the gay, lesbian and transgender community was living in fear.

“I was attacked because of my sexuality in February this year… I was bitten on my left cheek,” Mabilo said.

“I stay in the village where my door does not lock properly and I am afraid of going to the college where I am a student. The Kuruman community is not very tolerant of gay, lesbian and transgender people, although there are about 100 of us here.”

Kuruman police spokeswoman Constable Ntombi Manie said Makutle had not been decapitated, but his throat had been slit and the cut was deep.

Police were following up possible leads, but no arrests had been made.

Makutle’s brother, Lebogang Ronny Makutle, said he had seen his brother’s body, but had not looked closely at the wounds.

“I did not have the strength. His body was intact. It appears as if a sharp, heavy object that was much bigger than a knife was used to cut his throat. We are worried because the killers have not been apprehended. We want answers.

Thapelo had been close to his three brothers.

“My mother and grandmother are devastated. He was a people’s person.”

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