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PRESS RELEASE: Iranti remembers Thapelo Pule Makhutle – 10 years on

23 JUNE 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On June 9th, 2012, the body of 24-year-old Thapelo Pule Makhutle, was found mutilated in his rented room in Seweding, Kuruman in the Northern Cape. In an effort to ensure justice would be served for this gruesome and horrific murder, Thapelo’s was the first ever case of violations against an LGBTIQ person documented by Iranti. In February 2013, 2 days before his 25th birthday, Iranti supported the court case to ensure that Thapelo’s family and friends remained represented and visible. 

To date, Iranti has recorded close to 100 cases related to the perpetual violence exerted on the LGBTIQ community across the country for just existing. South Africa is currently the only country in Africa with constitutional protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, gays and lesbians in rural areas and black townships remain victims of discrimination and violence.

Iranti, and a legion of other national organisations have worked tirelessly over the past decade to educate, guide, provide statistics and advocate for systematic and societal accountability. We have also offered a myriad of solutions to these continuous violations, and ensuring that state actors protect and defend LGBTIQ persons.

As Iranti continues to monitor Hate Crime cases against the LGBTIQ community, the justice system continuously overlooks the pain and suffering of LGBTIQ persons and their families. Many hate crime cases remain unresolved, survivors are revictimised by officials and others have become cold cases. This attitude of neglect and lack of service delivery is extended and reflected in the ways in which due care is not applied to narratives around hate crime cases. 

This year, Iranti reflects on its 10 years of existence and our contributions to defending the rights of LGBTIQ persons in Africa and the growing discourse on human rights. 10 years after his death, Thapelo’s murder continues to serve as a painful reminder of why Iranti’s work is important in upholding the memories of Thapelo and many others that have had their lives taken from them at the hands of a violent society and the state’s failure to affirm their rights and freedoms.

As we look ahead, Iranti renews its commitment to defending the lives and rights of LGBTIQ persons and calls for the protection of queer bodies in South Africa and Africa, by our families and communities, by states, by the law and definitely by ourselves: we will not tire to demand accountability. The spirit of Thapelo and many others who lost their lives for living their truth continues to drive us in advocating for the rights of the LGBTIQ people in South Africa, Africa, and the world. 

For media enquiries contact:

Nolwazi Tusini, Communications and Media Manager
nolwazi@iranti.org.za

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