The search for Ntokozo Zuke ended in tragedy after his body was identified on Monday (Photo: Facebook)
The tragic news of the brutal murder of Ntokozo Zuke, a vibrant 24-year-old gay man, has left friends, family, and community members in mourning in KwaZulu-Natal.
Zuke, who worked as a Senior Admin Clerk, was last seen alive on May 8th after attending a funeral with friends in the Reunion area near Durban. He never returned home.
After an agonizing two-week search, his devastated uncle discovered his body in a mortuary in uMzinto on Friday, 19 May.
Limited details are available regarding the circumstances surrounding his murder, and it is still unknown whether his killing was a hate crime related to his sexual orientation.
Friends and community members who fervently shared Zuke’s missing person alert and calls for information on his whereabouts were horrified to learn of his death.
“It was around this time last week on Saturday when we danced together, and that was the last time I saw you,” wrote one friend. “The perpetrators must be found and prosecuted; we all want answers!”
Another said: “Even beautiful things have endings but it doesn’t mean they have to be forgotten…Rest in peace my brother/friend see you on da other side.”
Hlengiwe Buthelezi, Director of the KwaZulu-Natal LGBT Recreation organisation, spoke to Zuke’s grandmother on Friday.
“The details are very sketchy,” said Buthelezi. “We have all been searching for him for the past two weeks. He was brutally killed, with severe wounds. It’s a tragic state of affairs. So sad.”
Zuke was openly gay within the community and had come out to his family. “He was an amazing person,” said his friend and colleague, Thenjiwe Mthembu, speaking to Mambaonline.
“He was a risk-taker, caring, and always had a positive outlook, even during tough times. He would shed tears and then crack a joke. I will miss the laughter; he was always a ray of sunshine,” she added.
Friends and family gathered to celebrate Zuke’s life at a vigil on Saturday, 20 May.