Gay man Sphamandla Khoza was found brutally murdered a short distance from his home (Screenshot/eNCA)
A community in South Africa is demanding justice for the brutal murder of a gay man who was stabbed to death and dumped in a ditch near a school.
Sphamandla Khoza, 34, was stabbed, beaten, and had his throat slit in a suspected homophobic hate crime in Inanda, Durban, last week. His family reportedly followed a trail of blood from his front door to the ditch where his body lay.
Khoza was openly gay and is said to have faced threats whenever he left the house; the last time he was seen on heard from, he was being verbally abused for his sexuality.
“It is heartbreaking,” his cousin Ndumiso Daluxolo Ngidi told News24 on Friday (2 April). “He was openly gay. Everyone knew he was gay. He had a partner.”
“His crime was to live openly as a gay man,” he continued on Facebook. “Yes, Spha died because someone hated his sexuality so much that they decided to end his life.
“As a child, Spha was full of life. He commanded attention with his infectious laugh and random dance moves. He always managed to get us all into trouble because he dared go where adults said we shouldn’t. A leader of the pack in so many ways.”
“This community is still resistant to accepting LGBT+ people and still holds very conservative attitudes that are founded on culture and religion,” said an activist speaking to eNCA.
“Unfortunately such sentiments, such attitudes often manifest in either gay-bashing or in extreme circumstances, as happened with Sphamandla, murder of queer bodies.”
On Thursday Sphamandla Khoza’s loved ones carried Pride flags in a solemn march through his neighborhood to keep the focus on his case. The march ended with a vigil at the ditch where his body was found, which activists filled with candles and homemade lanterns.
This is a ditch where Sphamandla Khoza’s lifeless body was dumped after being stabbed multiple times for being openly queer. #RIPSpha#justiceforsphamandlakhoza #JusticeForSpha pic.twitter.com/Ywnp22Z5kp — Homocentric (@uBabaKaEnzo) April 1, 2021