Gay man found murdered on his 22nd birthday. He’s the fourth in less than a month

Emma Powys Maurice
·2-min read

Police in South Africa are investigating the killing of a young gay man – Lonwabo Jack – who’s believed to be the country’s fourth LGBT+ murder victim in less than a month.

The body of the 22-year-old was found with stab wounds in a pool of blood on Sunday (18 April) in Mau-Mau, Nyanga East. He died on his birthday, according to the Lesbian Alliance Of South Africa (GLASA).

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana told IOL that no arrests had been made yet, and that allegations of rape had also formed part of the investigation.

“Lonwabo was a nice kid, he was always surrounded by his friends and liked fun and good times,” said Lonwabo’s father Mzwabantu.

“He was a quiet kid and would not say some of the things he would experience because he felt like he could handle them just like any other man. However, when he told us that he was raped we knew as his parents that we had to take a stand. Having a gay child has taught us a valuable lesson.”

The family are said to be distraught after learning of the manner of his son’s death. “We also suspect that he was raped because his shorts were taken off,” he added.

“It’s heartbreaking to give birth to a child and also bury them, especially because he was never sick.”

The brutal killing came days after LGBT+ protests at the South African parliament on Friday (16 April) as queer people demanded tangible action against the rising rate of hate crimes.

Less than a week ago South African media learned of the death of Nathaniel Mbele, a gay man who was stabbed in the chest near the city of Vanderbijlpark.

Shortly before this police found the mutilated remains of Andile “Lulu” Ntuthela, a gay man who was butchered and burned. He was tragically preceded by Sphamandla Khoza, 34, a gay man who was stabbed, beaten and had his throat slit in Durban.

“It comes as a great shock to hear that there has been another horrific rape and murder of LGBTIQ+ persons,” said Siyabulela Monakali, spokesperson for the women’s rights and gender-based violence group Ilitha Labantu.

“We urge members of the community to work together to help root out this scourge of violence and discrimination. We need to build communities that are tolerant and accepting of people’s diversity and not discriminate against anyone based on their sexuality.

“Homophobia is deeply rooted in toxic masculinity and misogyny that exists in our homes, communities, and society and we ought to work together to root out this toxic behaviour so that the rights and dignity of LGBTIQ+ and all oppressed persons can be protected.”

Advocates are calling on the government to hold an urgent debate on LGBT+ hate crimes and finalise the implementation of the Prevention and Combating Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill B9 of 2018.