Tankiso Esther Tawanyane dies after being gang-raped and set alight. Photo: Ronica Tiro/ Facebook.

Calls for justice for gang-raped and set alight queer member

Society calls for justice following the inhumane attack on Tankiso Esther Tawanyane who was gang-raped and set alight for her sexuality


Tankiso Esther Tawanyane dies after being gang-raped and set alight. Photo: Ronica Tiro/ Facebook.

Justice is being called upon for Tankiso Esther Tawanyane, a queer member of society who was gang-raped and set alight.


The 34-year-old female, who worked as a security guard at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital, succumbed to her injuries on Saturday, 8 October after she was brutalised the previous day (Friday, 7 October).

Tankiso was found in front of a shack and rushed to the hospital following the incident which took place in Lethabo Park in Roodepan, Kimberley, on Friday at about 20:20.

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According to News24, Lieutenant Colonel Sergio Kock, police spokesperson, said the victim was apparently raped by three unknown men who later set her alight with paraffin.

He added that the Galeshewe Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit is investigating the rape and murder of the victim.

“Anyone with information must urgently call D/WO Lesego Oliphant on 082-495-4605 or Capt. Sebata Tsiu on 082-874-4613. Information can also be sent anonymously via SMS to 32211 or through the use of the MySAPS app. The investigation continues.”

Lt Col Kock
Tankiso Esther Tawanyane was gang raped and set alight last week. Photo: Ronica Tiro/ Facebook.


As the call for justice intensifies, DA member of the provincial legislature, Ofentse Mokae, who visited the family appealed to the Police Commissioner, Major General Koliswa Otola to treat this incident as a hate crime.

“I am appealing to Police Commissioner, Major General Koliswa Otola, to consider the possibility that this may have been a hate crime, as the investigation continues, and to up the ante in terms of arresting the perpetrators.”

Mokae, who had known the victim from their upbringing, committed to helping the family during this difficult time.

Speaking to DFA, he said: “I have known Tankiso since my childhood and attended school with her at Thabane High School. Acknowledging her brutal death was extremely hard and I can only imagine how difficult it must be for her family to come to terms with what has happened.
“Given the trauma experienced by her family and the strain that they now find themselves under, I have committed the DA’s support in terms of putting pressure on provincial government departments, including the departments of Safety and Social Development and the Premier’s Office, to make good on their promises relating to assistance promised to the family”.

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Mokae added that he also took seriously the family’s concerns that Tawanyane may have been vulnerable to attack, as she was a member of the LGBTQI community.

Memorial service details of Tankiso are as follows:

Date: Friday, 14 October 2022.

Time: 4pm

Venue: 6549 Kunene Street no5 (Kimberly).

This is a developing story.