Lunga Voko recounted the attack, which took place on March 31 — Easter Sunday — to The South African Times. At 5:30 pm, on his way home from celebrating his birthday with some friends, a group of drunken men at a gas station not too far from his house began swearing at them.
“These guys were sticking out of the windows [of their car], calling me gay, istabane, imoffie because I was wearing my shorts, but I ignored them and we kept walking,” Voko said.
When the car pulled up, Voko’s friends ran away, leaving him to deal with his harassers.
“They got out of the car and started asking me questions like why I’m a moffie, but I wouldn’t answer them,” he continued. “The next thing one of the guys slapped me and another attacked me with an iron rod, while the others gathered half bricks.”
Voko said he lost consciousness after being hit on the head, but witnesses told his family that the men had pulled his penis out of his pants to see whether he was circumcised. The men continued to beat him then finally one of them pulled out a gun and shot at Voko, tearing off part of his right ear.
The young man woke up in the hospital the next day. He attempted to report the attack, but he claims the police refused to help him, though they eventually tracked down the license plate of the attackers’ vehicle.
Western Cape police spokesman Andre Traut said police were investigating but no arrests had been made. “Crimes of this nature are perpetrated from time to time, but cannot be described as prevalent,” he said.
Voko said that while he had been ridiculed for being gay before, neither he nor his gay friends had been attacked before. He had never felt threatened until now. But gay rights activist Mabhuti Mkhangeli said the attack on Voko proves that gays are still not accepted in certain parts of the country.
“They will say it’s not normal and that culture does not permit two people of the same sex to love each other,” said Mkhangeli of people in townships.
Despite this recent attack, a young gay couple was married over the weekend in the small South African town of KwaDukuza with the full blessing of their friends and families.
(h/t: Gay Star News; Photo: South African Times)