Report: Transgender woman murdered in Rustenburg

Kagiso Ishmael Maema (Facebook)

The festive season continues to be a bloody one for LGBTI South Africans, as another possible hate crime murder comes to light.

The body of Kagiso Ishmael Maema, a 25-year-old transgender woman from Seraleng in Rustenburg, was discovered on Saturday, January 6.

Thabiso Mogapi wa Tsotetsi, Chairperson of Action For Social Justice International, spoke to Maema’s mother following the murder and reported the incident to Mambaonline.

Maema, who preferred to be called Ousi Kagiso, is believed to have left home on Friday evening between 8.30 and 9.00 PM. She was last seen in the company of an unknown man at Eddy’s Tavern.

The two ordered drinks in the tavern and then went out to buy ‘bunny chows’ to eat. Maema’s dumped half-naked body was found in a stream the next day by a herdsman.

She was partially covered with plastic and had wounds on her head and arm, which appeared to have been caused by an axe. It is also suspected that she was strangled.

“Kagiso’s mother is not well. She loved her child,” Tsotetsi told Mambaonline. The unexpected death will have both a deep emotional and material impact on her family.

“Kagiso was an IT student who finished her studies and who was looking for a job,” said Tsotetsi. “The mother is not working and she expected Kagiso to assist the family [as a breadwinner].”

The killing is the third incident in the last few weeks involving members of the LGBTI community, and the second in the North West province.

Married lesbian couple Anisha (30) and Joey van Niekerk (32) were reportedly tortured, raped, murdered and set alight, allegedly by seven people in Mooinooi, near Rustenburg.

On the 1st of January, 23-year-old Noxolo Mabona was stabbed to death during an allegedly homophobic altercation in Strand, outside of Cape Town.

“There is a pattern of murder of LGBTI people around the country,” said Tsotetsi. “We are being targeted. This is very worrying for the LGBTI community and activists.”

A murder case has been opened with the Boitekong Police Station. There have as yet been no arrests.

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