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Kidnapped lesbian’s body found in mineshaft two months after she was abducted

Danai Nesta Kupemba June 30, 2022
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Refiloe Malope was kidnapped by two men. Her body has not been found. (Credit: SAPS)

A 31-year-old South African lesbian’s body has been found in a mine shaft almost two months after she was kidnapped.

Refiloe Malope was abducted on 9 May by two men who stuffed her into the boot of their car, having approached her asking for help fixing the vehicle.

Her body was discovered by a specialist camera in a mine shaft in Benoni, Gauteng on Friday (24 June), according to News24. Malope’s body was recovered on Monday (27 June).

Police spokesperson brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said: “After four hours, the body was brought to the ground, and that’s when it was positively identified as that of the missing Malope.

Her brother David Malope told Sowetan Live: “We are relieved we have found her.”

Two suspects, police sergeant Thabo Letudi Moses Mokoana, 40, and Modirelwa Maxwell Mokoana, 42, were arrested in connection to Malope’s kidnapping and murder.

Limpopo provincial commissioner of police, lieutenant general Thembi Hadebe told Mamba Online: “We hope that the recovery of Malope’s remains will bring closure to the family as much as it strengthens our case against the accused.”

The two suspects will appear before the Nebo Magistrates Court on Thursday (30 June) for a formal bail application. They face charges of kidnapping, murder and defeating the ends of justice.

South Africa continues to grapple with it’s rising hate crimes against queer people. (Credit: RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images)

Malope lived as an openly queer woman in her village of Kgaphamadi, outside Groblersdal, with her girlfriend.

Queer people in South Africa continue to face violence, with crimes against the community rife.

On June 4, a gay man named Emmanuel Mouers was stabbed to death in an altercation over what bathroom he should use.

In May, Ruth “Nikki” Chigowe, a young Zimbabwean mother, was found stoned to death after receiving death threats because of her sexuality.

Kamva Gwana, organiser from the LGBT+ movement Queer Lives Matter, told Reutersthat South Africa is facing a “crisis” of anti-LGBTQ+ violence.

“This is a crisis, and it is worse than we thought, it is a war on queerness,” Gwana said.

A survey conducted by The Other Foundation in 2016 highlighted the attitudes that many South Africans have towards the queer community.

The survey found that a staggering 72 per cent of South Africans thought that homosexuality was “morally wrong”, compared to 51 per cent who felt that queer people deserve equal rights.

 

More: South Africa

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