An eighth gay man was murdered over the weekend in circumstances very similar to those of the other seven men killed in Gauteng over the last two years.
Rulov Senekal, a former ballet dancer and head of wardrobe at the Joburg Theatre for many years, was found bound and suffocated in his apartment in Braamfontein.
According to The Star’s Shain Germaner, his body was discovered on Sunday by a neighbour. There was no sign of forced entry.
It appears two men visited Senekal on Saturday evening at about 5 p.m. They signed in at security and left around 30 minutes later with Senekal’s laptop, and a black plastic bag. It is unclear if they were filmed by CCTV cameras in the building.
Acclaimed music director, arranger and orchestrator, Bryan Schimmel, said on Facebook that he was “shocked and devastated” at the news of Senekal’s death, echoing the sentiments of the city’s theatre community.
The murders of gay men began with Manolis Veloudos, who was killed in April 2010. He was followed by Jim Cathels in Berea in December 2010, Oscar O’Hara (33) in May 2011, a 47-year-old un-named landlord in Northcliff in August 2011, Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo (36) in Soweto in September 2011, Barney van Heerden (39) in Orange Grove, also in September 2011, and HIV/Aids activist and television presenter Jason Wessenaar (39) in his Pretoria West home in December 2011.
The murders remain unsolved and they share similarities in that the men were all gay, they were murdered in private homes, little or nothing was stolen and most of them were strangled. There is suspicion that at least some of the men may have met their attackers through online or cell phone dating services.
Despite the similarities in the crimes, the police have to-date rejected the theory that the same killer or killers are involved.
Pretoria-based LGBT health and well-being group OUT has expressed concern that gay men are being targeted and that “the authorities appear unwilling to acknowledge this”.
The group’s director, Dawie Nel, said in January: “There is a perception that there is a lack of interest in the cases, in part due to the sexual orientation of the victims”.