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article imageGay rights activist killed in South Africa

By Anne Sewell     Jun 14, 2012 in World
Kuruman - According to a South African gay rights group, a 23-year-old gay man was killed and mutilated on Saturday in a hate crime. Police are investigating.
Thapelo Makutle was found dead early on Saturday morning, with his throat cut. Police say they are investigating the crime as a murder, and that a motive is unknown.
However, a spokesman for the gay rights group in northwestern South Africa, Jabu Pereira said today that the killing was a hate crime. She states that nothing was stolen from Makutle's home and that his body was mutilated. According to Pereira, neighbors heard a commotion early on Saturday morning and a close friend of Pereira found his body under a blanket and covered with blood. Pereira says that the Makutle was an outspoken supporter of gay rights.
According to IOL News in South Africa, Gay and Lesbian Organisation in the Northern Cape (Legbo) has claimed that his tongue and genitals were removed.
Legbo director, Shaine Griqua, said, “It is worse that we initially thought. Part of his testicles and penis were cut out and stuffed into his mouth. I tried to speak to the forensic doctor, who was not able to elaborate. The police are refusing to admit that this is a hate crime.”
Griqua added that he would be viewing the body in the mortuary to find the exact nature of Makutle's injuries.
“According to our information, his neck is only attached to his head by a piece of skin connected to his throat,” he said.
According to Griqua, Makutle was killed after an argument in a bar over whether he was a transsexual or gay and his attackers followed him home and killed him.
Griqua says that a march in protest had been planned for Friday, but that it had been cancelled due to logistical problems.
He said, “An awareness campaign against hate crimes, in the form of a memorial service for Makutle, will instead be held at the St Mary’s Anglican Cathedral on the corner of Voortrekker Street and Federal Mynbou in Kuruman at 3pm on Friday. We expect about a thousand people to attend."
“Legbo has contributed R10 000 (around $1 200) towards the awareness campaign while the Provincial Director General’s Office has contributed anther R10 000 towards the funeral, catering and transport.”
While the South Africa constitution bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gays in the country still face discrimination and violence. After Makutle's brutal murder, the entire gay, lesbian and transgender community is now living in fear.
More about Gay, Rights, South Africa, Thapelo Makutle, Murdered
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