Man up or die | murders of effeminate teens at South African Ranger Training Camp

Were they murdered for being gay? A picture of a beaten dying teen, a picture of a Nazi-like flag – and in between a Game Ranger Camp to make “Moffies” into men

By Melanie Nathan . April 25, 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 9.41.27 PMLook at this photograph and imagine a 15 year old effeminate teen being sent” by his mother to a “Ranger Training Camp”  run by a right wing militia type,  and then showing up in a hospital bed looking like this, hooked up to life support. That is was what happened to Raymond Buys and he died two weeks later. He was emaciated, dehydrated, with injuries including several skull fractures, and cigarette burns all over his body.

Alex de Koker, the owner of  Echo Wild Game Rangers, a camp in the bush, one hour south of Johannesburg, charged $2,000 ($22,000) per month for his course, where he assured parents he could  help teens to ” man up.” Three teens are known to have died.

Buys was sent to the camp by his mother, Wilma Buys, because she thought “this course to make him a better man, to give him a better future.”

However with a little bit of digging, the gay reparative undertones would start to emerge.  de Korker 49, and his employee, Michael Erasmus, 20, have been charged with and pleaded not guilty to the 2011 murder. Charges include  child abuse, neglect and two cases of assault with intent to cause serious physical injury.

The trial began in the Vereeniging District Court this past week.   The Court heard about the alleged torture that led to Buys’s murder. Gerhard Oosthuizen, 19, reportedly testified that Buys, with whom he shared a tent during the training course, was chained to his bed every night, was refused permission to visit the toilet and forced to eat his own faeces. According to Die Beeld Newspaper, Oosthuizen told the court that Buys was extremely weak and unable to do the manual labor the boys were forced to perform. Buys was often beaten with planks, hosepipes and sticks when he did not do his duties properly, Oosthuizen said.

Shortly before Buys was admitted to hospital, Oosthuizen reportedly saw De Koker and Erasmus electrocuting Buys, who was naked and tied to a chair.

“He screamed… I was scared and ran away.” Buys was later brought back to the tent and chained to his bed. The cross-examination of Oosthuizen is expected to begin on Wednesday.

What is so shocking is that the murder of Buys is not the first, as Echo Wild Game Rangers has seen the deaths of 2 young teens, also perceived as gay and clearly effeminate, when in  2007, 18-year-old Eric Calitz and Nicolaas van der Walt, 19 both died in similar circumstances.  de Koker was handed a suspended sentence in 2009 over Calitz’s death but escaped charges for van der Walt’s death, which was ruled to have been caused by a heart attack. It was reported that de Koker told Calitz  that he wasn’t a “moffie” (like saying “fag”) and he “would make a man out of him.”

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 8.13.13 PMThe idea of the camp is to apparently make men of teens and to “cure”  ‘”feminine traits’ in male youths…” another way of saying gay reparative therapy, instead in this instance that therapy involved “beating the gay out of the kid” – torture and if torture didn’t effect the desired change, then certainly murder would; after all a dead teen is not a gay teen.

AWB FLAG

AWB FLAG

Right wing anti-gay bigotry abounds in South Africa. As it happens de Korker was reportedly a member of the extreme right wing AWB / Iron Guards movement, which had been headed by controversial murdered white supremacist Eugene Terreblanche. The Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (Afrikaner Resistance Movement AWB / Iron Guards movement is a far right white supremacist group who fly a flag with a Nazi-like death head skull centered over the “Three Sevens” symbol.  A former paramilitary group in South Africa, the AWB claims that the three sevens symbolized supremacy over the devil. They are committed to the restoration of an independent Boere-Afrikaner republic or “Boerestaat” within South Africa. They do not tolerate gays and believe in absolute gender conformity.

It will be interesting to watch as the trial continues, to see how much of the ” beating the gay out of teen”  factors into the evidence and establishing of motive. Was this in fact a hate crime – against gays, for the perception and use of rhetoric in the beatings?  While South Africa, a country with full LGBTI equality,  does not have homophobic violence as designated hate crimes in their statutory law, this aspect may still  go to motive. The exposure of the ideology while it may not feature in this case, certainly ought to. There is also no confirmation that these young men were in fact gay. However in the culture, if one is effeminate, then one is automatically perceived as gay.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 5.34.51 PMUPDATED April 29, 2013.  OBLOGDEE  found out from sources in South Africa that de Koker tried to get married while incarcerated, pending trial in this murder. His plans were cancelled as the warden informed him “I am not a wedding planner.”  We also found out that the Camp was never officially registered to train youngsters as game rangers and the certificates offered were phoney and a ploy.   It is alleged that the young men at the camp were used for forced hard labor.

In 2007 after the first murder, de Koker was tried and received an unknown suspended sentence for the “murder” – it has been difficult to establish what the actual guilty verdict rendered as the sentence for the 2007 crime, seems very lenient. Notwithstanding his suspended sentence, for a murder occurring at his camp, and notwithstanding police suspicion that he was operating a right win militia group, he was allowed to continue to operate his camp, leading to the death of yet another teen. There seems to be evidence of cover up or failure of the South African authorities to keep an eye on a very dangerous individual.

The trial has been postponed until the end of May. de Koker and Erasmus remain in custody. We will keep you posted as more unfolds.

By Melanie Nathan, nathan@privatecourts.com
Cathy Kristofferson contributed to this article.

NOTE from Melanie:  Thank you to all the BLOGS who picked up this story and for quoting me as well as providing the appropriate credits. I would like to say that nowhere has it been stated that these teens were in fact GAY. However they were perceived as Gay because they were effeminate and also because the accused murderer referred to them as “Moffie” which means fag. But we cannot say they are “GAY”. Hence those who quoted GAY STAR NEWS as their source should know that the header “GAY TEENS” including HUFFPO which followed Gay Star News are reporting inaccurately.

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40 Comments on “Man up or die | murders of effeminate teens at South African Ranger Training Camp”

  1. Ezra Steenkamp April 25, 2013 at 11:17 PM #

    Shocking, to know that stuff like this is still happening – also another lesbian been killed also in JHB because she is Gay.

  2. D.C. April 26, 2013 at 1:49 AM #

    This is frightening and sad. It doesn’t seem possible that the boy in the picture is only 15. To think of what this poor child experienced before dying..

    • Melanie Nathan April 26, 2013 at 9:19 AM #

      If you look at his picture you wonder is this a concentration camp for gays?

      • D.C. April 26, 2013 at 9:49 AM #

        Exactly! Or someone with drug-resistant TB or HIV. Truth is often stranger and far more heartbreaking than fiction..

  3. Tracy April 26, 2013 at 4:09 AM #

    I want these b*stards sentenced & I want Raymond’s mother, Wilma Buys, also sentenced as an accessory to murder. She sent her son off with strangers rather than to accept her son as he was. Now, he’s dead. She shares the blame.

    What Alex de Koker & Michael Erasmus have done isn’t accidental damage- this was PLANNED (pre-meditated) & sustained- even as this poor boy was obviously in distress & DYING they continued to torture him!!!!

    WTF has to happen for that government to “man up”? What a bunch of quivering, quaking cowards!

    This is insanity. NO. It must stop. Echo Wild Game Rangers must be squashed like the vermin it is.

  4. Dr. Rex April 26, 2013 at 5:28 AM #

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    OMG ….. atrocities!!! Remember the Holocaust? The sign is similar …. SMH!!!

  5. Kimberly McClintock April 26, 2013 at 11:26 AM #

    Seriously that is so freaking disturbing n wrong!!! The parents should also be prosecuted for sending their kids n not just accepting and loving their child!!! See you never ever hear anything bout this on the news but the world would want to know about the “Arias trial” this world is going to end by man kind ( that means man & women) the world needs to open their freaking eyes!!!!!

  6. Mouille P April 27, 2013 at 4:13 PM #

    The Mother is most probably a victim of a father who was AWB. What a shame. I hope she never ever sleeps well again. Absurd and sad in the 21st Century. Ignorant, Ignorant uneducated idiots

  7. ChEyenne and Mari April 29, 2013 at 9:18 AM #

    This is very frightening.
    Many people try to deny or hide the truth,but, there’s still a lot of violence in SA.
    Xenophobia,Racism,Homophobia are
    The meaning issues in South Africa.
    Freedom for gay people in SA?! What?No!
    And if u black,foreign or live in townships..,
    Things will get worst for you.

    I’m sorry,but, that’s the Pure Truth!

  8. Rachel May 1, 2013 at 6:10 AM #

    They were clearly murdered for being EFFEMINATE, and this is ALSO a hate crime! Please stop brushing effeminophobia under the rug by implying that every time someone is attacked for being effeminate, it must *really* be just because they’re gay… that’s not the case, in fact often the REVERSE is true, and when people say they hate or want to assault gay males, what they REALLY mean is that they hate and want assault effeminate males. It’s the effeminacy they really care about and they are merely conflating “gay” with that concept. There is a LOT of hatred in the world,l including the gay community, for males who don’t sufficiently conform to gender stereotypes. In the USA, man beat his toddler to death for being effeminate. He said nothing about his son being gay, he just “wanted him to act more like a boy”.

    The way the laws are in most of the world at the moment, whatever these men are found guilty of will ONLY be a hate crime if motivated by homophobia. Effeminophobia and sometimes transphobia alone doesn’t count. THAT has to change. We have to start taking both the negative portrayals of feminine males in the media more seriously (they’re disproportionately villains or shallow and bitchy, instead of sweet and endearing as the victims of these hate crimes usually are) and ALL discrimination against feminine males more seriously.

    • Melanie Nathan May 1, 2013 at 7:48 AM #

      You will note that the words “perceived as gay”. The right wing (AWB) type culture in South Africa perceives all effeminate men as gay. Its a known fact there. The one victim was called “moffie” by the accused. That word is derogatory and means “faggot” in South Africa. So we do not in this article assume the victims to be GAY – we say that because they were effeminate they were perceived as GAY. We also do not suggest that such is a a “correct” perception or conclusion. The question of motive as a hate crime – well in SA murders against gays or effeminate people are not hate crimes – there is no such definition in the law. So in reality such a hate crime does not exist there. However if prejudice were indicated (of any sort) it could point to a motive. The big question in this case is going to be mens rea (intention) or culpabale homicide (neglect).

  9. Tim May 1, 2013 at 7:26 PM #

    I want to thank you for stressing there is no basis for the assumption the victims were gay.

    Since it appears GayStarNews was the main source for “news”papers, blogs, and websites, it is incumbant upon GSN to address this issue.

    • Melanie Nathan May 1, 2013 at 9:35 PM #

      I wrote the article before GAY STAR NEWS and ghey quoted me in their article, yet saw fit to make up a header that said the teens were gay. I contacted them and others who copied their misreporting – some have made the necessary corrections, including HuffPO

    • Melanie Nathan May 1, 2013 at 9:39 PM #

      I wrote the story days before GAY STAR NEWS; they quoted me and saw fit to make up their own header saying “GAY TEENS…” which was inaccurate. there has been no such confirmation. That said most bogs who copied them that I wrote to, changed their header, others have yet to,HUFFPO changed their article too after I contacted them and corrected them.

  10. jerbearinsantafe May 1, 2013 at 7:37 PM #

    Reblogged this on JerBear's Musings & Memories and commented:
    More details on the story I blogged about the death of young men who were effeminate and perceived to be gay. This is the blog entry that started the reporting in gay media outlets. I think you will find this deeply disturbing but necessary reading.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mort d'un ado sud-africain torturé dans un camp qui veut transformer les garçons efféminés en «hommes» « Yagg - April 29, 2013

    [...] Attention, histoire quasi-insoutenable. Raymond Buys, 15 ans, est mort après avoir été envoyé dans un camp qui promet de transformer les garçons efféminés en «homme», rapporte le Daily Maverick. Raymond avait des difficultés à l'école et le camp a été conseillé à sa mère par un ami. Pour 2000 dollars par mois, le responsable du camp promettait de transformer les garçons qu'on lui confiait "en hommes". Une autre manière de dire qu'on veut transformer les gays en hétéros, selon l'activiste américaine Melanie Nathan, qui connaît bien l'Afrique du Sud (Lire Man up or die | murders of effeminate teens at South African Ranger Training Camp). [...]

  2. Gay Teens tortured to Death « milkboys – The Boys Blog - April 29, 2013

    [...] were all perceived as “gay and clearly effeminate”. In reference to “gay conversion camps”, Nathan writes: “With a little bit of digging [into the story], the gay reparative undertones start to emerge.” [...]

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  11. Unfortunately With Madness, We Are Not Alone… at A Gentleman's view. - April 30, 2013

    [...] into Koker and found that he was reportedly a member of a far-right, white supremacist group. She explains that she discovered the camp has undertones that it is a place to send your son to if you want to [...]

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  13. LiberalAmerica.org | Murder Trial For Men Accused of Torturing 'Effeminate' Teen To Death Delayed Until The End Of May (VIDEO) - LiberalAmerica.org - May 1, 2013

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  17. MAN UP OR DIE | MURDERS OF EFFEMINATE TEENS AT SOUTH AFRICAN RANGER TRAINING CAMP | Scotties Toy Box - May 1, 2013

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    […] month we reported the shocking case here on OBLOGDEE of the owner of Echo Wild Game Rangers, Alex de Koker, 49,  and his co-accused, Michael Erasmus, […]

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