Sam Mbatha was brutally murdered and set alight in June last year
As funeral details are announced, the devastated mother of slain LGBTIQ man Sam Mbatha has spoken about having to accept that her son will never come home.
On Monday, family spokesperson Kgomotso Sepeng announced that a memorial service for the well-loved marketing and communications professional will be held at the North West University Mafikeng Campus on Wednesday 19 January from 12:00.
Sam, who was 24 at the time of his murder, will be laid to rest on Friday 21 January at the Klipgat Community Hall at 08:30.
Both events will be live-streamed on YouTube, although the links will only be shared an hour before they take place.
The young man’s body was discovered in the boot of his burnt Hyundai i20 at a soccer field in Ikageng Section, Klipgat in June last year. Because the body had been burned beyond recognition, police were unable to corroborate his identity.
The victim’s family endured an excruciating six months in limbo as they waited for the results of forensic DNA tests to confirm that the remains were indeed those of Sam. This was only announced last week.
In a heartbreaking interview with SABC News, Sam’s mother, Constance Mbatha, spoke about the long and uncertain wait for the DNA results while hanging on to the slim hope that he could still be alive.
“I couldn’t sleep at night. I couldn’t eat. I always looked out the window as if he’d say, ‘Mom, please open for me, I was kidnapped’,” said Constance.
Weeping, she continued: “We finally got the results confirming that the remains are his. I was confused. I know I cried for a very long time, but [at least] this meant it is now over. It’s him. I will never see him again.”
Four suspects – Arthur Khoza (19), Thato Masetla (22), Junior Modise (21), and Mahlatsi Nkuna (21) – were arrested in connection with Sam’s murder. The motive for the attack remains unknown. The alleged killers are due to next appear in court on 2 February.
Constance told SABC that while “the law must take its course… it doesn’t help. I will never get him back. He’s gone… My one and only son.”
Mbatha was one of the more than 20 LGBTIQ individuals murdered in South Africa last year; sparking demands that the government pass the Hate Crimes Bill and take stronger action against perpetrators of discrimination and violence targeting the queer community.