Thapelo Makutle, a young South African who recently won the Miss Gay Kuruman pageant, was killed in apparent hate crime a week ago. While there is no clear motive yet and apparently no leads, the gruesome nature of the crime makes a hate crime seem likely.
The twenty-four year-old who identifies as gay and transgender and was an ardent LGBT activist, was allegedly murdered and his body badly mutilated in the early hours of the morning in Kuruman, a town in the Northern Cape province (pop. 12,701).
There however seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding this case specifically its identification as a hate crime since there currently is no motive or reason as to why the events went down how they did.
Legbo Northern Cape, the NGO the victim worked with, claims he got into an argument with a couple of (heterosexual) men who later followed him and murdered him although no eye witnesses to this altercation have come forward. There are also reports that he was beheaded even though the police state that he had only a “neck wound”. These have sparked an internet debate with individuals accusing the NGO is trying to blow the incident out of proportion and details for which there is no proof. There are also allegations that the police are trying to suppress information concerning this incident with the aim of letting it go unsolved.
The bottom line is that a young adult died a horrible death and all attempts should be made to bring the perpetrators of this very grisly crime to justice. I just hope it doesn’t become a case which ends up under the rug. It’s sad this is happening in South Africa which is the country with the most protective laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in Africa.
May his soul rest in peace.