The late Bonang Gaelae
A recently-engaged queer couple is no more after one partner was killed and the other injured in a horrific hate crime attack in Sebokeng in Gauteng.
According to community-based groups, on 12 February, Bonang Gaelae, 29, and her partner of four years, who prefers to be idenified as Chippa, became involved in an argument with a man they knew from the community regarding an electricity outage in the area.
It’s believed that the man made advances on Bonang and also threatened the couple. When they tried to move away, he allegedly hit Chippa with a brick, knocking her to the ground. He then allegedly stabbed Bonang in the neck.
Bonang was driven to the hospital by a friend in a desperate attempt to save her life but she did not survive the brutal attack. It’s been claimed that the police and an ambulance were called but only arrived hours later.
According to Bonang’s Facebook page, the couple got engaged in October last year. On her own Facebook page, a devastated Chitta Chippa wrote after the assault: “Um soooo broken. Have no words. Um I loved n love you you know n u know babe no one will replace u my wife.”
The Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) reports that a murder case and a case of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm have been opened at the Sebokeng Police Station. A man has been arrested and will next appear at the Sebokeng Magistrates Court on 24 February.
“It goes to show that we are not safe in the community,” activist Azania Sengwayo, representing Vaal LGBTI, FEW and Iranti, told MambaOnline. “It says a lot about the men in our communities. These men feel like they have power over us, our bodies, our sexuality and who we chose to associate with.”
Sengwayo described the ongoing violence again women and queer people in South Africa as a “genocide” that seems to have no end. “The hate for women, for black women, for queer women and people who don’t conform is very very high in the community. We are tired of saying ‘come let’s teach you about LGBTIQ’ and ‘let’s sensitise you’. People must just change!”
Sengwayo called for the perpetrator to face swift justice. “We hope this case goes forward to prosecution. Iranti has worked with cases before that never went anywhere, years after the incident. We hope the perpetrator gets the maximum sentence,” Sengwayo said.
Bonang’s funeral was held on Saturday 20 February in Taung in the North West Province. A petition has been set up calling for the alleged perpetrator to be denied bail.