Man accused of murdering Anele Bhengu remains behind bars

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The man accused of murdering young lesbian woman Anele Bhengu in a brutal attack in KwaZulu-Natal has appeared in court.

The mutilated body of the 28-year-old Bhengu was discovered in the bushes near a school in Kwamakhutha on Sunday 13 April.

It’s been reported that she had been stabbed and disembowelled. It’s also suspected that she was raped. The brutality of the killing suggests that Bhengu’s murder was very possibly a hate crime.

She was last seen by her family when she went to stay with a friend for the weekend and apparently decided to return home at night.

Thulani Cele, 39, was arrested and has been charged with murder and assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm. It’s believed that he had fled the area to Port Shepstone where he was arrested.

A small group of LGBTIQ+ activists holding a rainbow flag gathered outside the uMbumbulu Magistrates Court on Monday during Cele’s appearance to demand justice for Bhengu and to show support for her family.

There was relief that Cele was remanded in custody pending his next appearance and formal bail hearing scheduled for 30 June.

Here are the other known victims of the LGBTIQ+ murders that have shaken South Africa since 12 February 2021:

  • Bonang Gaelae, 29, whose throat was slashed in Sebokeng on 12 February.
  • Nonhlanhla Kunene, 37, whose body was found half naked in Edendale, Pietermaritzburg on 5 March.
  • Sphamandla Khoza, 34, who was beaten, stabbed and had his throat slit on 29 March in Kwamashu, Durban.
  • Nathaniel ‘Spokgoane’ Mbele, who was stabbed in the chest in Tshirela, Vanderbijlpark on 2 April.
  • Khulekani Gomazi, 27, who was beaten to death on 3 April in Mpophomeni in KwaZulu-Natal after being accused of sexual assault.
  • Andile ‘Lulu’ Nthuthela, 41, whose mutilated and burned body was found on 10 April in KwaNobuhle, Kariega.
  • Lonwabo Jack, a young LGBTIQ+ individual who had just celebrated his 22nd birthday on 17 April. His lifeless body was found on a pavement the next day in Nyanga, Cape Town.
  • Lucky Kleinboy Motshabi, 30, whose body was found in a field in the town of Dennilton, Limpopo on 24 April. He was naked with stab wounds on his body.
  • Phelokazi Mqathana, 24, who was stabbed to death on the weekend of 1 May in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. It was reported that a man stabbed her after she rejected his advances.
  • Lindokuhle Mapu, 23, who was stabbed to death in Mfuleni, outside of Cape Town, on 9 May.
  • Aubrey Boshoga, 48, whose body was dumped outside his house in Johannesburg on 29 May.
  • Masixole Level, 28, whose body was found on a street in Kwazakhele, in the Eastern Cape, on 6 June.
  • Anele Bhengu, 28, whose stabbed and mutilated body was discovered in KwaMakhutha, KZN, on 13 June.
  • Lulama Mvandaba, who died days after being beaten outside a shebeen in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape.

Supporters are urged to sign the online petition demanding action against LGBTIQ+ hate and violence in South Africa.

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