By Melanie Nathan, June 12, 2012. (9:00 AM PST)
Reports have come in from the Northern Cape Province in South Africa, of the beheading of a gay (LGBTI) community member who identified, according to sources, as a Trans woman, in what apparently appears to be a brutal crime with a clear message of hate.
Shaine Griqua of the LEGBO Northern, a local NGO reports the gruesome death of their volunteer members, in an announcement, stating “I would like to share our loss pain and hurt with you, a member and volunteer group and from the Kuruman community in the John Taolo Gaetsiwe district was beheaded this past Sunday.”
The report notes an incident with the attackers where the victim got into an argument regarding sexuality.
The attackers apparently followed the victim to the place where she rented a room and beheaded her:
“They left his [her] body under a blanket as if he was still asleep. Thapelo Makutle , 23, was a support based volunteer and was well trained by LEGBO NORTHERN CAPE in partnership with the office of the NC NGO Coalition in Kuruman. He [she] recently participated in the Kimberley Gay and Lesbian Festivals hosted by OUT IN AFRICA, he was a beauty queen known as Queen Bling well mannered and principled human being.” stated Griqua.
The office of the director of LEGBO Northern Cape and the Provincial Coordinator of the NC NGO Coalition are planning a meeting with LGBTI NGO’s and Civil Societies on Wednesday the 13th June 2012 to plan an awareness campaign around this issue for this coming Friday the 15th July.
I am still waiting for independent verification of the story and more details surrounding what appears to be an horrific hate crime.
Although South African LGBTI people enjoy full equality under the SA Constitution, there is no hate crimes legislation. The death penalty has been abolished in South Africa. This, in a recent spate of anti-gay killings, coincides with a time when Parliamentary Traditional Chiefs are attempting to remove LGBTI rights from the South African Constitution.
The South African Constitution Protection Coalition has reached out to Mr M K Mansura, Acting Deputy Secretary to Parliament, with 20,ooo signatures obtained in petitions from Avaaz and Change.org, for a response to a memorandum regarding the Constitutional review.
A Spokesperson for the Coalition noted in am emotional communication to the Secretary, attached to a report of this incident:
“People are dying. Our people. Your people.
We need to know that parliament is not making light of the fact that the Traditional leaders are proposing or even discussing taking away LGBTI rights. The more overt and demonstrative support we have from parliament and the presidency, the more sensitized the public will become towards LGBTI rights and people.”
UPDATED – 1;59 PM PST June 12, 2012
A source in Cape Town informed me of a conversation with the family of the deceased who confirmed to her that they were told that the head of the victim was attached and that it was a severe throat slit. The source spoke to police who explained that the cut was extremely deep as they slit the throat and the head was about 50 per cent loose from the neck but attached.
Article has been updated to reference source information as to victim’s sexual identity.
LEGBO Northern Cape is an HIV/AIDS Charity – It’s website is currently offline.