Members of the LGBT+ community march in the Pride parade in Durban, South Africa, in 2018. (AFP via Getty/ RAJESH JANTILAL)
A suspect has been arrested in connection to a gay man who was left bruised and battered after being stabbed with a bottle in Sasolburg, South Africa.
Segakweng Kimora Magoma was allegedly attacked at a bar in the sprawling industrial city by a gang of homophobic men who began taunting him on 24 April.
“Within a few minutes, about five or six men already were there,” he told TimesLive, “stabbing me with bottles.
“Fortunately, a bouncer saw what was happening and immediately came to my rescue.”
Free State Police, the province’s police force, confirmed that a 33-year-old was arrested Friday (30 April) in connection to the attack.
“He will appear at the Sasolburg magistrate’s court on Monday [3 May] on a charge of assault [with intent to cause grievous bodily harm],” spokesperson Brig Motantsi Makhele confirmed to the outlet.
Now recovering from his injuries, Magoma said he remains “traumatised” by the incident that comes amid a rash of homophobic violence in South Africa that has prompted increased vigilance – and fear – among the LGBT+ community.
Just weeks before Magoma’s attack, 34-year-old gay man Sphamandla Khoza was brutally murdered in an attack that deeply incensed queer South Africans.
Demanding justice after Khoza was stabbed to death, his family recoiled in horror as they followed a trail of blood from his front door to the ditch where his body lay.
What happened to Segakweng Kimora Magoma?
Segakweng Kimora Magoma told TimesLive how he visited a bar with a friend when a man approached them both and began lobbing homophobic insults at him in Sesotho.
Magoma retorted by asking the man to call his mother. That’s when the men struck.
“They were all aiming for my face,” he said. “I kept it covered with my hands at all times and that’s why they ended up stabbing my hand.
The victim was left with deep wounds on his ear and hand and scratches covering his face.
“I don’t know those people,” he added. “I have never seen them and find it puzzling why they think they can attack me like that.
“What were they hoping to achieve? Were they thinking they can change my sexuality like that?”
Civicus, a civic alliance group, said that with six known murders of LGBT+ this year alone can be hard to square with South Africa’s image as a tolerant, inclusive society.
“South Africa has been lauded as a champion for LGBT+ rights on the continent because of its progressive legal framework that recognises same-sex marriage and full equality for everybody,” the group said in a statement.
“However, in reality, the situation of LGBT+ rights has been deteriorating, with LGBT+ rights campaigners and individuals living and operating in a hostile environment characterised by hate speech, death threats and killings.”