A primary school teacher from Amanzimtoti, south of Durban, claims to have been attacked by three violent homophobes during a birthday celebration on the beach.
Michael Anderson was preparing to celebrate his 21 st birthday, wearing a Durban Pride t-shirt when he drove to the beach to meet with friends. However, according to reports by MambaOnline, three men started verbally harassing him when he got out of his car in the parking lot.
“I do speak a little bit of Zulu, and because of the shirt saying gay Pride they were speaking about the fact that I was a ‘stabane’ (a derogatory word for an LGBTQ person),” Michael said.
“I’ve been blessed in that I haven’t really been affected by any homophobic people before. I’ve never really been in this position so I kind of just brushed it off and proceeded to move from my car down towards the beach area. They were following me but at the time I thought that, ‘you’re just being paranoid’,” he says.
Michael sat down at a local café to wait for his friends but as time passed he decided to stroll along the beach to see if he could spot his friends, who wasn’t replying to his text messages.
Michael was soon ambushed by the same men that were hackling him.
“I at first assumed it was a mugging, so I gave them my cellphone and they took my watch, and my gold ring which I had been given by my [late] grandfather. But then the homophobia came through, where they started asking me if I ‘wanted to be a woman’ with my hair and ‘why am I wearing earings?’ And then they ripped my shirt as they proceeded to beat me. I managed to punch the one guy but it was three on one. And then one guy got on top of me and proceeded to choke me while they kicked and punched my face and head.”
Thankfully, a nearby fisherman heard his screams and rushed to assist him. Michael says that the assailants ran away to nearby bushes.
Michael suffered bruising on his face and head, and a neck injury. He says the attack has left him with trauma that he is now getting professional help to overcome. He penned a letter to his attackers on Facebook in which he said he forgave them.
“The amount of support and love I have received is absolutely overwhelming. I wasn’t expecting it at all.”
He hopes that his suffering will “help other people” and will highlight the reality that the LGBTQ community continues to face discrimination and violence in South Africa.
Link to Letter: