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Hate crimes: Thapelo Makhutle, murdered in Kuruman in Northern Cape


South Africa, April 2012

Thapelo Makhutle was killed because of his sexual orientation. Thapelo was brutally killed on 9 June 2012, and almost a year later, his trial will be heard in the Vryburg High Court. Iranti, continues to document the case and advocate for justice and an end to hate crimes.



The search for justice for Thapelo Makhutle continues

Thapelo Makhutle

Thapelo Makhutle, Photo courtesy of Thapelo’s friend


Ronnie Makhutle

Thapelo Makhutle’s older brother, Ronnie Makhutle (centre) at the Iranti event


South Africa, 21 February 2013

In the week of his birthday, Thapelo Makhutle’s family will once again face Sizwe Jajini, the 22-year old man accused of Thapelo’s murder. Jajini appears in the Mothibistad Magistrate Court, about 9 km from Thapelo’s hometown, Kuruman. This will be Jajini’s fourth appearance in court as previous schedules have been faced by further delays and setting of new trial dates.  Thapelo’s family still does not know the facts pertaining to his tragic death on 9 June 2012. 


In the same week, Thapelo’s family and friends will commemorate and remember that he was born on the 23 February.  This year Thapelo, a gorgeous and happy young gay man would have celebrated his 25th birthday.  Instead, his friends and family hold onto the memory of Thapelo’s young and happy life by celebrating his birthday on Saturday, 23 February 2013.  In memory of Thapelo, a close friend with whom Thapelo shares his birthday, Tsepo Kgatlhane is hosting a ‘back-to-school shoe drive’ campaign for children around Kuruman.  Also, a group of young LGBTI residents in Kuruman, led by 28-year old transgendered woman and another close friend of Thapelo’s, Keletile Mabilo plan to finally launch a youth LGBTI group in memory of Thapelo Makhutle. 


On this day the Makhutle’s will visit Thapelo’s grave and spend some time honoring his life.  The tightly-knit Makhutle family has been instrumental in Iranti’s follow-up on the Thapelo case and has been a source of strength for other families battling with the loss of their loved ones through hate crime-related murders. This was witnessed recently at Iranti’s “Parents and LGBTI Youth” event held on 08 December 2012 at the Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto. When Iranti invited Ma’ Makhutle and her two sons to this event, we were informed that at least 17 family members would be coming to the event in honor of Thapelo; an appreciated and commendable gesture of the family’s unending love for Thapelo.

Iranti is closely following both the court case on 21 February and the birthday events on 23 February 2013. Iranti’s media team Botshelo Mondi, Ayanda Msiza and Kelebogile Ntladi have travelled to Kuruman and will be covering the events in the next few days. Iranti continues to seek justice for victims of hate crimes, such as Thapelo Makhutle by creating an archive of memory for clear, factual, verified and in-real-time evidence-based advocacy work. This week, we celebrate Thapelo’s life beyond the grave.


Funeral and protest march

South Africa, 9 June 2012

Friends of Thapelo attending his funeral

Aliston Tsepo Kgatlhane a friend of Thapelo Makhutle.

Public Protest against hate crimes in Kuruman




Thapelo Makhutle memorial poster

Thapelo Makhutle, a 24 year old gay man from Soeding Village, Kuruman, was beheaded and his genitalia were severed and inserted into his mouth. This gruesome murder took place on 9 June 2012.  Thapelo lived his life as an out gay man. He was an activist and co-ordinated many voluntary LGBTI events in Kuruman. This is the second hate crime in Kuruman in 2012.











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