Rights Group Says Gay Man Killed in South Africa

by Emoke Bebiak
Thursday Jun 14, 2012

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - A young gay man was killed and his body mutilated in South Africa, according to a gay rights group that on Thursday called the murder a hate crime.

Thapelo Makutle was found with his throat cut Saturday morning in a room he rented in Kuruman, a town in northwestern South Africa, police said in a statement. The motive of the killing is unknown and the case is being investigated as a murder, police said.

However, Jabu Pereira, the spokeswoman of the local gay rights group LEGBO, said Thursday that the perpetrators didn't steal anything from Makutle and his body was mutilated in a way that indicates the murder was a hate crime, an extra charge that leads to greater punishment. Makutle's body was found under a blanket with his throat cut and tongue removed, Pereira said. His genitals were also cut off and put in his mouth, witnesses told Pereira.

"The community is in a state of trauma, they are shocked," Pereira said. "The community gathered last night and we just stood with the family."

Makutle was a leader in the local gay community and open about his sexuality, Pereira said. Among other things, she said, he organized the Miss Gay Kuruman pageant.

The police report said he was 23, while a spokeswoman for the local gay rights group said Makutle was 24.

A memorial service is planned for Friday afternoon in Kuruman. The local gay rights group is organizing a protest before the service.

South Africa's constitution bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but gays here still face discrimination and violence.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


  • , 2012-06-14 16:30:10

    We can thank religion for this. Even if it wasn’t done in the name of religion, religion creates the general climate and religion, if it doesn’t directly inflame, fails to provide leadership to undo the damage it has done. This man is a hero. It is thanks to him and those brave enough to be open as he was, that the way is paved for the masses. I honor him.

  • , 2012-06-14 23:48:44

    Religion shouldnt b blamed for anything,, whoever did the crime is who shuld b blamed,,

  • , 2012-06-15 00:16:31

    How very sad!

  • , 2012-06-15 00:50:06

    Its not really religion, its da people dat pretend to follow it. If u truely love God then u would understand weather u think homosexuality is wrong or not dat taking another life is just as wrong. Descrimination is wrong period any true christian knows thou shall not kill... Its Gods place to punish not anyone else. Other peoples sins affect them not u. They use religion as an excuse... Murder is not Gods work n to think dat u can do Gods job u might as well say f God u dont need him u can do it urself... Ur suppose to believe in him n believe he knos what hes doing n trust they he will fix it. Im gay n very religios. Maybe I do sin but nobodys perfect... But I garantee I have more faith n im closer to God then 85% of these straight so called christians... Even if what I am is a sin... But I dont believe it is... Idk for sure but dats just me

  • , 2012-06-15 00:59:23

    This is in no way religions fault! This is pretend christians... Pure hate. People dat hide behind it n abuse it to try to get away wit what they have done. Any true christian knows this isnt Gods work. Murder is just as bad. Hate is just as bad. N to think u can do Gods job dats like saying u dont believe in him, like hes gonna let u down. Im gay n im very close to God. Maybe im not perfect but I have faith n i trust God will fix anything dat needs to b fixed... He will do his job n I will follow him n do my best to do my job

  • Oh Jed said:, 2012-06-15 11:46:04

    This is so sad. It’s people like him that we owe our advancements in acceptance.

  • , 2012-06-15 15:41:46

    Religion is to blame for most of the hate, wars, and genocide that has ever plagued mankind- not GOD... RELIGION!! do your homework... it isn’t God that makes people do harm but religion - people that use god for their own agendas and because people follow so freely, they succeed in destroying lives... Religion has been at the root of all evil... and GOD has nothing to do with where religion stands today - not my God... my God wouldn’t associate with such garbage

  • , 2012-06-18 09:37:18

    Ignorance can kill. The main issue is hate crime vs. murder. The police is calling it a murder while it is clearly a hateful ugly crime against humanity. It is not another murder but the fact that police covered it up the hateful nature of this crime is just as ignorant.

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