A twenty-six-year-old man from Botshabelo, Stephen Nketsi, died on Wednesday evening as he was alleged to be headed home from an event celebrating International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) at a nearby location.
Widepsread rumours suggest that Nketsi was killed and if police investigations reveal that he was murdered, his death will mark the second death in the province involving gays in recent weeks.
Last week the burnt body of 28-year-old Matiisetso Smous was found burnt beyond recognition in Maokeng in Kroonstad. Her death was also believed to be a hate crime against lesbians.
Police in the province says they are unable to comment on the cases as the matter was still under investigation.
Peer educator at Free State Rainbow Seeds, an NGO that advocates for members of the LGBTI community, Thabiso Chaka, says Botshabelo used to be one of the most gay-friendly places in Mangaung.
“We are now all shocked because this means that as members of this community we are no longer safe,” Chaka adds that the organization feels threatened and now more than ever feel the need to engage communities on how members of the LGBTI should be treated.
Chaka says his organization is also working with the police to find out the cause of Nketsi’s death and if this was a random crime or a hate crime as they suspect.
Free State Rainbow Seeds will host a community dialogue at Botshabelo’s Love Life Centre to discuss matters affecting the LGBTI community on 27 May 2017 from 08:00.
The organization has invited representatives from SAPS and community Policing Forums around Botshabelo and other government departments as well the Botshabelo community at large. They hope to have a positive engagement and reduce these killings.
Pulane Choane- Courant News