Report: Queer teenager takes own life in Limpopo after alleged abuse

The late queer teenager Bruce Shaba, also known as Bruce Mashava

Friends have taken to social media to share their shock at the passing of the queer teenager (Photo: Mashava Bruce / Facebook)

A tragic incident has occurred in Limpopo, where a queer teenager is believed to have taken his own life following reports of alleged anti-LGBTQ abuse.

On Thursday, Mamba received an unconfirmed report stating that a young person named Bruce Mashava had died by suicide in Giyani after experiencing rape and assault. Initially, he was identified as a 19-year-old.

The Giyani Central News Facebook page later claimed that he had been raped and stabbed to death in his home, while other Facebook posts suggested that he had been hanged by “angry residents”.

On Friday, SABC News reported that the police confirmed the young individual, now identified as Bruce Shaba, was 17 years old and had died by suicide. This was “apparently” due to alleged bullying and discrimination from some family and community members.

According to the mother of the teenager, who spoke to SABC, “The news came to me that my son committed suicide. He was told to leave where he was staying. I have a lot of questions that I would ask him if he was here. They told me he committed suicide. How can he commit suicide? Something is fishy. I don’t understand; I’m shocked.”

The teenager’s Facebook page, under the name Mashava Bruce, indicates that he attended or was attending Giyani High School. In one photo, he captioned, “Imma’ just do me, when it feels right.”

Many of his friends expressed their shock and heartbreak on social media at his passing. One person said, “Rest in peace, my friend. We had plans for this recess…my heart is bleeding…fly high, baby.”

Another wrote, “Why Mashava Bruce? Why Chomi? Why is the question that I cannot get answered.”

The police have opened an inquest docket to investigate the incident.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm, please reach out to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group Suicide Crisis Line at 0800 567 567. They are available at any time, day or night, to provide support.

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