As Human Rights Month ended, Sphamandla Khoza’s family learnt that he was killed in an alleged hate crime which sparked outrage, calls for justice and marches. Last week, the 34-year-old’s body was discovered in a ditch near his home in Ntuzuma. Khoza’s throat was slit and he was stabbed multiple times. His death was suspected to be a homophobic hate crime by his family and the LGBTQI+ community. Khoza’s cousin Ndumiso Ngidi said the killing was allegedly perpetrated by men who knew, grew up with and lived in the same neighbourhood as Khoza. “They ganged up on him, stabbed him repeatedly while he was out having fun in a neighbouring house. Not only did they murder him, but they also dumped his body. They took off his shoes and placed them in front of the gate at his home. They put him in a grave and used his shoes as some form of a trophy. “If it wasn’t for blood trails leading to where they dumped his body and curious community members, we would have never found his body. All this happens after they insulted him about his sexuality. “They treated him worse than a stray animal. I am angry and hurt. Such a beautiful life lost, all because of hate,” Ngidi said. It was alleged that Khoza was the victim of verbal bullying over his sexual orientation the night before his body was discovered. Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said a murder case was being investigated by Ntuzuma police following Khoza’s death and that a suspect was arrested and charged with the murder after turning himself in.