South African gay teen was murdered. Was it a hate crime?

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According to the authorities, 17-year-old Lesley Makousa’s death was not motivated by his sexuality, but it is still unclear. The boy had been strangled with a shoelace. “It’s just unfortunate that his body was dumped there or that he was killed there,” the police report, adding that the murder does “not appear to be a hate crime for now”. Thabiso Mogapi wa Tsotetsi – Chairperson of Action For Social Justice International – told Mamba Online that Makousa was openly LGBT. Tsotetsi said that hate-based crimes against LGBT people were unusual in the area, calling Potchefstroom “an LGBTI hub”. The most recent homophobic attack in the city took place last November. Gay music student Bobby Motlatla was stabbed 39 times in his flat. That killing remains unsolved. A memorial service for Makousa will be held at the Promosa Secondary School later this week. South Africa is one of the most progressive countries in Africa, allowing same-sex marriage and adoption.

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