Several reports have been circulating about a transgender and gay man brutally murdered after a homophobic and transphobic attack in South Africa.
Some reports say the 23-year-old was completely beheaded in the attack in Kuruman, Northern Cape but it appears that the police file documents that his throat was severely slit.
Further investigation has revealed that several of the media reports use the Facebook page of Shaine Griqua, director of the gay group LEGBO Northern Cape, as their sole source.
According to Griqua, Thapelo Makutle was attacked and murdered on Friday (8 June) by two men for his sexuality and being transgender.
He claims that, following a verbal argument, the two men apparently followed him to the room he was renting, slit his throat and beheaded him.
They then covered his body under a blanket as if he was sleeping. A female friend found him on Sunday morning (10 June).
A source in Cape Town informed Melanie Nathans she had a conversation with the family of the deceased who confirmed that his throat slit was severely slit, but he was not beheaded. The source also received confirmation from the police.
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Makutle, who identified as both gay and transgender, was a volunteer for gay group LEGBO.
Based in Northern Cape, LEGBO provides support and health training for rural LGBT communities confronted with stigmatization and victimization.
It is also believed he recently participated in the Kimberley Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Festival. He was a drag queen known as Queen Bling and was recently crowned Miss Gay Kuruman.
Shaine Griqua wrote on his Facebook page that Makutle was a ‘well mannered and principled human being.
‘We are deeply hurt and saddened and pained by this… Just three weeks ago a lesbian was stabbed… at a night club.’
He also noted that no arrests have been made in connection with the murder and expressed his concern about the increase of hate crimes in the province.
Griqua wrote on his Facebook page that LEGBO Northern Cape and other groups will meet today to organize a march against hate crimes and raise awareness and regarding the horrific murder of Makutle.
LGBT activist Junior Mayema from People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty, a non-governmental organization based in Cape Town, said: ‘Hate crime is widespread in the townships and beyond. It is inflamed by religious groups and ignorance about South Africa’s constitution.
‘In addition the police have little or no training on hate crime which leads to many cases being either not investigated or ignored.’