The moment the man approached the couple
What was meant to be a commemoration of a gay Brazilian couple’s love on a Camps Bay beach turned into a homophobic nightmare.
Photographer Wesley Vorster was asked by tourists Platão and Rafael, who are on holiday in Cape Town, to do a couple’s photo shoot on Glen Beach, with the city’s natural beauty as a backdrop.
Nearing the end of the shoot, Vorster was taking a picture of the two men on some rocks above him when a furious beachgoer approached the couple and began shouting at them.
According to Vorster, the man was outraged that the two fully clothed men had been showing affection in public. He allegedly accused the tourists of being paedophiles and of trying to sexually stimulate his two children, who were sitting about 50 meters away.
“His body language was aggressive and he raised his hand. He said things like ‘Are you putting on a show for my children?’ and ‘Are you getting turned on by doing this in front of little boys because you want to touch them?’ It was really gross.”
When the man realised that the shocked couple struggled to understand him, he turned to Vorster and asked if he spoke English or Afrikaans, to which the photographer replied: “I don’t speak your language!”
Vorster told Mambaonline that he feared for the safety of his horrified clients and tried to defuse the situation. “Because they were quite high up on the rocks I was just worried that if I did anything to antagonise him… I didn’t want anything dangerous to happen.”
Vorster insists that Platão and Rafael were in no way behaving inappropriately and noted that a straight couple were sitting nearby being much more intimate, without provoking the man’s ire.
“They weren’t doing anything untoward. It’s so bizarre how he reacted so aggressively to something that was so harmless.”
The couple, who have been married for three years, were left devastated that a loving and beautiful moment became one filled with hate and anger. “Rafael was visibly upset. When we got into the car he started crying,” said Vorster.
“I think when you are in a foreign country it’s all amplified. They’d obviously read up online about how gay friendly Cape Town is. That’s why they chose to come here. And they kept saying in the car that they couldn’t believe that this happened. It was quite upsetting for them.”
The episode was witnessed by Shaun Westley, who happened to be on the beach. He told Mambaonline that the man “got incredibly close to physical violence and was incredibly aggressive”.
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“I felt terrible for them. I even cried,” said Westley. “They told me that one of the reasons that they chose Cape Town was because of its [gay-friendly] reputation.”
He didn’t take down the couple’s details but was so moved by the incident that he later put out a call on social media to find Platão and Rafael. He was put in touch with Vorster, who has since released a picture in which, he says, he captured the moment the angry man approached the couple.
Westley has appealed for the public to help identify him. “I would like this person’s name and surname as I am intending on pressing charges with the SA Human Rights Commission. Let’s remind this guy what the SA Constitution says,” wrote Westley on Facebook.
In the meantime, he and Vorster have organised a social event with their friends for Platão and Rafael, before they leave for Brazil on Friday, to show the community’s support and camaraderie.
If you have any information that could assist Westley contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org.