Family beats up their gay tenant

Albert Kafuka was assaulted by his land lady and family. Photo courtesy of Albert Kafuka.

Tariro Washinyira

12 June 2013

Albert Kafuka heard his landlady’s nephew shout, “I wonder why mum allows these … sexual animals to stay in the house and bring in their dirty behaviours.” Kafuka, who is gay, was then beaten up.

Kafuka was a tenant with a family of four. Both the family and Kafuka are from the DRC.

Kafuka says he heard Joe Mbuyu, the nephew of his landlady, yell, “I wonder why mum allows these home –sexual animals to stay in the house and bring in their dirty behaviours. These dogs and stupid people must move out today. I am going to kill someone. … If you do not move out today someone must die. You should stop controlling my mum … today I am going to kill you.”

Kafuka was then summoned to the family’s lounge for a meeting. When he asked the landlady, Betty Sanga, if it was a rental or a family meeting, he became the target of a violent attack. Kafuka says Mbuyu unexpectedly lifted a vase that was filled with stones from a nearby table and crashed the vase into Kafuka’s head. He then ran to the kitchen and grabbed a knife with the intention of stabbing Kafuka but the rest of the family calmed him.

Kafuka believes the reason for the argument is his sexual orientation.

After the assault, Kafuka’s room-mate took him to Goodwood police station. A police officer then helped Kafuka get medical attention and open a case. In an emailed response to GroundUp, Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut of the South African Police Service confirmed that the police are investigating an assault with grievous bodily harm case. “A 36 year old man was arrested and went to court on 3 April.” The case was postponed.

It appears that Sanga wanted to get rid of Kafuka, because, according to Kafuka, she refused his recent attempts to pay rent, taking only money for water and electricity. Also according to Kafuka, she instead informed him and his room-mate that they both needed to look for a new place to rent but she did not clarify how many months’ notice she was giving them. They intended to heed her warning but were unable to find a new rental in the short period before Kafuka was assaulted.

Kafuka said, “The relationship with the landlady became unpleasant and one day when we were coming from Cape Town with my friend, we found her son-in-law busy changing the locks. When we asked if something was wrong with the locks, she said we will talk. On the day I was injured, we were in our room eating supper and our landlady summoned us for a meeting which led to the attack.”

“Right now I do not have a place to stay. A friend offered me to stay with him for three days. Now that the three days are over I do not know where I am going to stay. I am in pain and I am still taking medication,” Kafuka said.

Kafuka says that last Wednesday Mbuyu called him to request a meeting, which he refused. He told Mbuyu that he had nothing to say to him and could only speak to him in the presence of his lawyer. Kafuka believes Mbuyu wants to persuade him to drop the assault complaint against him.

When contacted, Sanga refused to speak to GroundUp because, she explained, Kafuka is pursuing legal action against her nephew. Sanga provided a number she claimed to be Mbuyu’s contact information, but he did not answer GroundUp’s calls.

Mbuyu will appear in court on 20 June.