Crime | News | South Africa

Gay Man Beaten, Set on Fire In Horrific Hate Crime

A 28-year-old man has been arrested for the brutal torture and killing of a gay man in South Africa. Even more disturbing, several teenagers, aged 14-18, stood by and watched the the unspeakable hate crime - even as the victim (21-year-old David Olyn) was set on fire by the suspect.

Mamba Online reports:

DavidOn Saturday evening, the youths from the Belle Vista neighbourhood were drinking near a local dam when they were invited by a man to watch how he was “going to kill a moffie [fag].”

They arrived on the scene where they found the victim already covered in blood and tied up with wire. The teens were urged to watch as the alleged attacker bashed Olyn on the head with a brick and jumped on his face while shouting in Afrikaans, “voetsek” ["fuck off"].

Throughout the ordeal, Olyn only made groaning noises, said the teenagers. The alleged killer then placed branches around the victim and set him on fire.

According to the Independent Online, local activists have denounced the heinous murder.

Funeka Soldaat, founder of Free Gender, a human rights and black lesbian organisation, said the killing of Olyn marked a sad time for gays and lesbians.

“South Africa is a scary place for gays and lesbians to be,” she said. “It is disturbing to hear the way in which people are killed because of their sexual orientation. Sadly, homophobia will never go away.” Soldaat has appealed to political parties to invest more money in raising awareness of homophobia. “I am concerned about the future of our communities if we continue to harbour so much hate.

The Justice Department is investigating the crime and have stated that "the department strongly condemns all acts of violence against gays and lesbians." 

The suspect will go before a judge on April 3.

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  1. Wow just wow

    Posted by: Jeff | Mar 29, 2014 8:40:12 AM

  2. Wow just wow

    Posted by: Jeff | Mar 29, 2014 8:40:12 AM

  3. We may legally be the safest country in Africa but sentiments towards the LGBT community aren't necessarily any better and can vary greatly between cities, rural area's and townships. As much as I love my country it has just about the same rape rates as a warzone and we hear disturbing cases like the rape of 2 year old babies somewhat regularly. Our fairly ineffectual police aside (due to corruption and cronyism on the part of the ruling ANC) we are yet another society that perceives certain actions as "manly" but can't be bothered to deal with the darker aspect of such "manliness".
    Its nice being able to selectively reinterpret your past and your culture and designate certain groups "disgusting" whilst simultaneously ignoring the other bad things in your society as you see fit.
    In that regard humans everywhere are no different

    Posted by: AuthlimofXvim | Mar 29, 2014 8:48:17 AM

  4. Sadly in South Africa, with its progressive constitution, a gay person's safety is mainly determined by the economic class you find yourself in. Our brothers and sisters who find themselves living in the less affluent townships and suburbs created by the apartheid group areas act, face the brutality and very often fatal intolerance from a very large section of society that still upholds the conservative African tradition with a dangerous mix of Christianity (evangelicalism/ charismatic). This kind of fatal intolerance in townships/ group areas will not cease until the South African government opens dialogue with the House of Traditional leaders.

    Posted by: Cinna Bunny | Mar 29, 2014 8:50:44 AM

  5. There is a BIG mistake in Towleroad's reporting. Andre Traut is NOT the suspect, he's the police spokesperson.

    From the Independent article: "Police spokesman Andre Traut said on Thursday that the man was arrested on Sunday after 21-year-old Olyn was tortured and killed."

    That said, my god what a horrific crime and a terrible way to die! I really hope the killer never walks free again AND that the teens who just stood there and watched are also prosecuted.

    Posted by: Caliban | Mar 29, 2014 8:56:43 AM

  6. SA, like in most Western countries; you need to have someone behind the campaign for the murderers to be brought to justice.

    The only reason Oscar even has this trial is because the female police woman in charge is dead set on bringing him to justice for what he did to his girlfriend because despite the overwhelming evidence, when it happened, so much of the media and press where printing vague stories that made him out like he was a victim!

    If no one is behind this murder being brought to will be another stat. You only commit a crime like this when you feel/know you will get away with it.

    Some of these community workers are wonderful but they always seem to fit that certain personality 'naive liberal govt appointed lawyer' which is great at knocking on doors with leaflets but useless at anything cognitive.

    Posted by: Rowan | Mar 29, 2014 9:46:11 AM

  7. Another unspeakable horror incited by hate......and that hate fueled by religion and macho culture.

    Summer is coming and gays need to be careful of where they go to enjoy their vacations.....and they need to be mindful of going off alone into unsafe areas. Learn and stay alert.
    As far as I'm concerned Eastern Europe is a no, no.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 29, 2014 10:33:15 AM

  8. I have heard so many of these stories in my 46 years here and it never fails to make me physically ill. I cannot imagine the torment this young man went through.

    Posted by: WayneMPLS | Mar 29, 2014 10:45:20 AM

  9. There are no words to describe the horror and revulsion I feel reading of this terrible and heinous crime. I weep for the young victim.

    Dig a little and one will find that as with much of non-muslim Africa, the dirty, evil, bigoted, money-grubbing hand of American evangelicals is certainly behind this vehement homophobia that is cresting in places like South Africa and Uganda and Nigeria and, in our hemisphere, in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica and Haiti.

    American evangelicals know that their reign of tyranny in our country is over. So, they must find other, vulnerable people elsewhere in the world to exploit and recruit into their foul, fetid religion.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Mar 29, 2014 11:22:39 AM

  10. After reading something like this I truly wish there was a loving and just god to receive Olyn and give his soul comfort and joy. That such an act of ignorant savagery can happen is amazing. I am not young or naïve, I know this and worse happens world wide. It sickens me in ways I can't begin to understand or explain. Scott Lively has this blood on his hands as one of the American Christians who export hate. His type should be called out every time this kind of thing happens. Mr. Livery should pray to his god that his type of hate never comes to visit him.

    I have often wondered how the Nazi's could do what they they could live with themselves and walk around loose in society. Then I look at Scott Lively and I see it. Good people allow him to continue to live and speak.

    Posted by: Steve | Mar 29, 2014 2:09:24 PM

  11. worst thing i've heard in a long time. so so so so sad

    Posted by: Joe | Mar 29, 2014 3:24:06 PM

  12. I expect this man (and all those who abetted him) to receive the harshest sentences available.

    How do we make this happen?

    Posted by: Randy | Mar 29, 2014 3:31:13 PM

  13. @RANDY
    You can be sure that the Christian cretins who fuel these fires will never be touched legally. But if they were drug out in the street and butchered like this poor guy was there would be a great hue and cry about the poor martyred xtians. The media would sing the praises of the sainted creep who got street justice. The only problem with doing that is that we would then be on their level.
    Sometimes in my fantasies I like to think about spending quality time with some of those vermin. Turning the other cheek seems to result in two bloody cheeks. The thought of that bright happy smiling kid being tortured by an animal eats at my guts.

    Posted by: Steve | Mar 29, 2014 5:31:51 PM

  14. There are people who say the next generations will be better... and fail to realize that homophobia is intergenerational.

    What's most disturbing is that the audience for the murder, those teenagers, are probably sleeping well at night. They're fine; it was just a little evening entertainment that they'll probably want do themselves someday.

    Steve, in my opinion there is really no problem with being on their level. You're right that when the gay community turns the other cheeck, it winds up with two bloody cheeks. The violence will escalate accross the world until if/when gays decide they want to stop rolling over on their backs and exposing their bellies like spaniels when kicked.

    Posted by: ThisIsNormal | Mar 29, 2014 7:25:31 PM

  15. Tired of global abuses against LGBT people?

    Please consider sending/posting a postcard.

    (To post, follow link, right click on image, & choose "save as.")

    Thank you!

    Further details can still be found at:

    Posted by: Stephen Mead | Mar 30, 2014 11:18:14 AM

  16. Sure Stephen Mead, just start sending post-cards... Try starting with Katya Zigheil(sp?), a leading hunter of gays, and let us know how that goes...

    Posted by: Sandy | Mar 30, 2014 1:20:30 PM

  17. Well: the ANC is corrupt, SA is a mess and it tolerates murder and killings.. What a f**ked up nation. Won't be going there. Of most places in the very homophobic African continent. I won't spend my $$$ where I'm not wanted.. People: BOYCOTT SA...That is how people LEARN a lesson: take away $$$ and they get smart real fast...

    Posted by: Robotron | Mar 31, 2014 7:07:59 PM

  18. The males (not men) who did this are worse than the wild animals in Africa. Wait they are savages: all involved. Sick,evil,disgusting,vile, repulsive,INSECURE,immature children. They ALL need to be put to DEATH !!! That'll teach 'em. The low life scum...And they probably have sex with each other and try to convince themselves they're "straight"!!

    Posted by: Robotron | Mar 31, 2014 7:11:34 PM

  19. Sandy:

    (Please see Sandy's comment to me down below.)

    Thank you for your constructive criticism. It was from feelings of rage and despair which I created the postcard(s), and of course I know the whole concept is akin to shedding a tear of rage over an inferno of futility. Googling the words "International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia", I've come across over 34 pages leading to links of various people and organizations who have attempted taking a stand against this particular form of brutality. That gives pause for hope. If you checked out my weebly page you will see that in addition to Amnesty International I provided links to vital organizations such as The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Campaign,, and the Peter Tatchell foundation,, and I imagine they have days when they feel like giving up too.
    I've written to close to a thousand of these organizations and people (including Towleroad), and received perhaps ten personal responses, thus I certainly know how my "Postcard for Humanity" campaign is an excersie in futility. I knew it before I began and certainly before I came across your comment.

    My point is this: I feel if one person of the lgbt community who is being persecuted, might see this postcard out there somewhere... perhaps that person will feel less isolated and hopeless, at least for one more moment of the day. To my critics like you I say: I am not a god who created hatred, brutality and persecution, nor do I have the power to stop these things, nor am I rich, famous or have global political clout. I am just a human being trying to "do no harm", and let my heart and soul guide me into not remaining silent in the face of the atrocities in the world.

    Meanwhile, Sandy, in regards to Katya Zigheil(sp?), a leading hunter of gays, and the zillion other heinous creeps on this planet, please enlighten me and the rest of Towleroad, what exactly are your plans to put an end to the genocidal violence that flourishes despite what we may or may not do?

    Posted by: Stephen Mead | Apr 2, 2014 7:33:11 PM

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