The late Gift (Disebo) Makau
Another South African woman has been raped and horribly murdered in an apparent lesbian hate crime attack, this time in Ventersdorp, in the North West province.
According to media reports, the half naked body of Gift (Disebo) Makau was discovered in the Tshing location with a running hose pipe shoved down her throat and into her stomach.
It appeared that she had been raped and then strangled with a shoelace and a wire that were found around her neck.
There are conflicting accounts as to her age, which range from 18 to 24-years.
Makau’s cousin, Lucky Gaorongwe, told Times Lives that her family, to whom she was out, was devastated.
“Her mother is not coping at all, but we’re trying – and people have been supportive,” he said.
“She was a cool girl who was never violent. She enjoyed playing and refereeing soccer games in the neighbourhood,” he added.
Makau’s aunt, Mpho Gaorowuwe, told ENCA that she believes that the young woman was killed because she was a lesbian.
“They’ve been trying for a very long time to figure out why she does not want to date guys. They’ve always asked, ‘how is it possible that a girl does not want to date guys,'” she said.
A 24-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the attack. He was set to appear in court today.
The DA’s National Spokesperson, Phumzile Van Damme, responded to the tragic news by announcing that the party will request a debate on the protection and strengthening of LGBTI rights when Parliament reconvenes this week.
During the debate, the DA will call for the roll-out of a nationwide public education campaign on LGBTI rights driven by the Departments of Education, Social Development, Police and Justice.
Van Damme said that the campaign must deal with “the ignorance and deep-seated prejudices” related to homosexuality.
“It is absolutely horrifying that members of South Africa’s LGBTI community have to live and love in fear,” commented Van Damme.
“Sadly, the government is not doing nearly enough to protect LGBTI rights, and rid South Africa of homophobia,” she added.
Writing on Facebook, lesbian rights groups FEW sent its condolences to Makau’s family. “This is really sad. And we are expected to celebrate women’s month and wear ‘doek’ for what exactly? No cause for celebration!” added the organisation.
A number of previous attacks on LGBT South Africans have revealed a trend of a disturbing and brutal violation of their bodies.
In July last year, the body of 26-year-old Duduzile Zozo was found in Ekurhuleni near Johannesburg with a toilet brush rammed into her vagina. In June 2012, 24-year-old Thapelo Makhutle had his throat slit to the point of being almost decapitated in Kuruman. His genitals had been cut off and stuffed into his mouth.