Thapelo Sehata (Facebook)
Thapelo Sehata, who identified as a member of the LGBTIQ+ community, died last week Wednesday after she was severely assaulted.
The 23-year-old from Desmond Park was discovered in the bushes along a road near the Helen Franz Hospital in the town of Senwabarwana (Bochum) in Limpopo. She had injuries to her face and chest.
“An ambulance was called, which took her to hospital where she passed on,” commented police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo in a statement.
He said that the investigation will “determine whether the victim was raped or not”.
Mojapelo added: “The motive for the incident is unknown at this stage, but gender-based violence cannot be ruled out.”
It was reported that the Limpopo Department of Social Development is providing support to the young woman’s family.
While it’s not yet known if Sehata’s murder was an LGBTIQ+ hate crime, she joins a growing number of LGBTIQ+ individuals who have been killed in South Africa this year.
Most recently, Sheila Lebelo, a 33-year-old lesbian-identifying woman, was murdered and possibly raped in Atteridgeville, outside of Pretoria.
Het body was discovered on Monday 28 June in a house in Atteridgeville. She was naked with her clothes scattered nearby. There was no obvious cause of death.
Here are the 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 in June.
- Motse Moeketsi, 36, whose body was discovered in Freedom Park in Gauteng after he was reported missing on 18 June.
- Sheila Lebelo, a 33-year-old lesbian-identifying woman, who was murdered in Atteridgeville, outside of Pretoria, in June.
In addition, gay man Sam Mbatha is still missing after a male body was discovered in his burnt-out car in Klipgat in the North West province on 17 June. The remains have yet to be identified through DNA testing.
Supporters are urged to sign the online petition demanding action against LGBTIQ+ hate and violence in South Africa.