Murdered: 24-year-old Thapelo Makhutle

Police have confirmed that not only was 24-year-old Thapelo Makhutle’s throat slit but his genitals were cut off and forced into his mouth.

Earlier, Shaine Griqua, Director of LEGBO, the organisation which first alerted the media to the past weekend’s brutal attack, issued a statement claiming that Makhutle’s “throat and neck was so badly slit, a string of skin held his head and neck together”.

Griqua also said that “witnesses state that Thapelo’s genitalia were severed and forced into his mouth”.

Colonel Bosman from the Kuruman Police told Mambaonline that while reports that Makhutle was decapitated were exaggerated, the claim about the mutilation of his genitals and their being placed into his mouth by his killer or killers was correct.

She also confirmed that the door to the young man’s rented room had been broken down, presumably by the attacker or attackers.

Bosman said that the case was still being investigated, no arrests had yet been made and that the motive was still unknown.

The brutal mutilation of Makhutle’s genitals, however, appears to support unconfirmed reports that his murder was related to an argument with two men about his sexual orientation or his gender identity.

According to Griqua, Makhutle’s killing follows an unsolved attack on a lesbian woman in the area earlier this year. She was reportedly murdered, her genitalia were cut out and a bottle was inserted into her body. It is unclear if the two attacks are related.

Jabu Pereira, Director of Iranti-Org, a queer visual media NGO, accused police of being ill-equipped to handle hate crime attacks.

“Despite ongoing homophobic attacks in South Africa, the police remain ignorant and insensitive to how they should address hate crimes,” he said.

Makhutle was an active member of the Northern Cape LGBT community. He was known as ‘Queen Bling’ and ‘ThaBling’ and was recently crowned Miss Gay Kuruman. Griqua said that Makutle identified as gay but had also referred to himself as being transgender.

Makhutle’s funeral service will be held on Saturday at 7 a.m. at the Bendelle Village Anglican Church.

“Now we have to bury a young, innocent and bright young man on National Youth Day. This is so sad,” commented Charmaine van den Heever, the NC Provincial Coordinator for the NGO Coalition.

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