Cape Town man stabbed to death in suspected hate crime

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Mvumisi Tshonepi was stabbed to death in a suspected hate crime.
Mvumisi Tshonepi was stabbed to death in a suspected hate crime.
  • Mvumisi Tshonepi, 26, was killed on Sunday after being stabbed in Joe Slovo while walking with a friend.
  • The family suspects the incident is a hate crime due to Tshonepi's sexuality.
  • Police have opened a murder case.

The Konzapi-Tshonepi family in Cape Town is reeling after their son's life was taken in what they believe was a targeted hate crime.

Mvumisi Tshonepi, 26, was walking with a friend in the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Langa when he was stabbed in the chest by an unknown man. 

Confirming the incident, Western Cape police spokesperson, Captain Frederick van Wyk, said Tshonepi was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

"An unknown man fled the scene on foot and is yet to be arrested," added Van Wyk. 

Tshonepi's mother, Nomboniso Konzapi-Tshonepi, said since her son's death her home has been packed with people paying tribute.

READ | Durban man shot and killed on Freedom Day for 'being gay'

This, she said, was a testament to her son's reciprocated love for people.

"I got woken up by a call early Monday morning telling me my son had been hurt in Joe Slovo," the heartbroken mother said.

She added that the information suggested that Tshonepi was walking with a young woman when they were attacked:

The lady was slightly injured but my son was not so lucky.

Konzapi-Tshonepi said the murder might be a hate crime because her son was openly gay and proud of his sexuality.

"He was accepted in his family and the community," she said, adding that even his priest welcomed him.

Luxolo Ndlovu, founder of LGBTQIA+ organisation Kasi Pride, said having pride in one's sexuality was something with which the township community battled. 

"Most heterosexual men in the township have issues with queer people, despite us only wanting to live our lives and not bother or be bothered by anyone. There is an unspoken power dynamic here," said Ndlovu.

He added:

There is a need for dialogues to take place to educate people in the township that we are just people with the same needs to be loved, cared for and accepted like anyone else, regardless of how we identify.

Konzapi-Tshonepi described her son as "a people's person".

"I saw that these past few days when people from all walks of life came to pay their respects. With him being so well loved, it's hard to believe anyone could have wanted to hurt him," she said.

"I have reason to believe this was a hate crime, it just doesn't make sense. The only person who can confirm this is the woman he was with who is now nowhere to be seen. Her staying away is very worrying, especially if she has nothing to hide," she added. 

Cape Town man was killed on Sunday in Langa.
Mvumisi Tshonepi, 26, was killed on Sunday in Langa, Cape Town.
Supplied Supplied

Social media users and friends who knew Tshonepi said they believed the incident to be a hate crime because he had all the love to give and would never hurt anyone. 

Tshonepi's mother was battling to come to terms with the loss of her son. 

She added that she was grateful to have had him, saying:

I still can't believe he has passed away.

The family will bury Tshonepi on 8 October in Stutterheim, Eastern Cape.

Langa community police forum chairperson Alfred Magwaca said the community was in shock at the loss of a young life.

"What is happening in our communities is unbecoming. We are trying to do as much as we can to encourage people to not be vigilantes or perpetrate crimes of any kind," Magwaca said.

"There are so many interventions in place, but it seems that people aren't heeding the call to denounce such hate crimes," he added.

"These senseless killings have no place in our communities," added Magwaca.

SAPS urges anyone with information to come forward and contact Langa Detectives Branch Lieutenant Colonel Priscilla Rassie at 021 695 8020 or 082 469 2585, alternatively call Crime Stop at 08600 10111 or via the My SAPS app. 

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