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Sat Apr 25 18:00:40 SAST 2015

Raped, killed for being gay

ANDILE NDLOVU | 18 August, 2014 06:35
A gay rights activist holds a rainbow flag. File photo
Image by: MARKO DJURICA / REUTERS

A 24-year-old man has been arrested in Ventersdorp, North West, accused of what appears to have been "corrective rape".

Gift Makau, 18, was found dead in Tshing location on Friday.

She had been raped and strangled with wire and a shoelace. A running hose had been forced into her mouth.

Her cousin, Lucky Gaorongwe, said yesterday that her murder was particularly shocking because the suspect was well known in the area.

"She [Gift] had never been abused or heckled in the community," her cousin said.

"She was a cool girl who was never violent. She enjoyed playing and refereeing soccer games in the neighbourhood."

He said her family, who knew she was a lesbian, was devastated.

"Her mother is not coping at all, but we're trying - and people have been supportive."

Makau, the youngest of three children, is to be buried on Saturday.

The police said yesterday that a man will appear in the Ventersdorp Magistrate's Court today.

Jabu Pereira, director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex human rights organisation Iranti-org, said: "These heinous crimes have to end.

"Our government must invest in public education programmes aimed at changing public attitudes."

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