Pieter Rossouw’s profile picture

There’s growing anger within the local gay community over an apparently fake profile by a Pieter Rossouw that claimed that its creator had committed suicide after coming out last week.

Messages of outrage and sympathy were exchanged on a Facebook memorial fan page and Rossouw’s profile, many believing that the 18 year old had killed himself because his parents had reacted badly when he told them that he was gay.

“OMG !!!!!!! My mother not only freaked, she f @ nking flipped out … Dad is still at work so will let you all know …” was the last status update on Rossouw’s profile on January 10.

The next day a close “friend”, a Sean Cronje, announced on Facebook that Rossouw had committed suicide and even posted his friend’s apparent suicide letter on the social networking site.

“Why Pieter? With so many people who loved you, why would you do this?” wrote one distraught person on Rossouw’s profile, many hailing the teenager as a brave victim of homophobia.

Soon, inconsistencies began to appear in the story when it became clear that most, if not all, of Rossouw’s 1,262 friends had never actually met him.

Changes were also made to the profile after Rossouw had apparently killed himself and it was noted that Cronje’s profile had only been created a day before the apparent suicide.

LGBT e-newletter Gayspeak.co.za further discovered that no one with the name Peter or Pieter Rossouw had been born on the birth date indicated on Rossouw’s profile. The furore even made it to the pages of Beeld and Sondag newspapers.

“I was beyond pissed upon finding out, but now I am laughing. Laughing at the whole damned thing–what else can you do?”, wrote Wayne-Anthony Soltis, one of Rossouw’s friends on Facebook who created the memorial page and also claimed to have been fooled by the hoax.

“Harbouring a hatred for WHOEVER this person is would benefit me in no way; it would just wear me down and make me tired.”

Coenie Kukkuk from Gayspeak is not, however, prepared to let the matter rest: “The question remains – who is the real person behind the Pieter Rossouw and Sean Cronje profiles?” he asked.

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