A young lesbian woman has been gunned down in front of her family in what could be a hate crime related to her sexual orientation.

Twenty-two-year-old Phumeza Nkolonzi from Nyanga, Cape Town, who was openly lesbian, was shot three times by a man who burst into her home on Saturday night.

Despite her pleas, Nkolonzi was murdered in cold blood in front of her mother and six-year-old niece who had been watching television.

LGBT blogger Melanie Nathan quoted Funeka Soldaat, an LGBTI rights activist from the group Freegender, reporting the following after visiting the family:

“The killer was kicking the door and when the victim opened it the killer shot her. Phumeza pleaded ‘why?’ and then he shot her again at close range in the forehead, killing her.”

According to the Cape Times, the motive for the murder is unknown and the killer reportedly said nothing during the attack. He took Nkolonzi’s cell phone and walked out the home.

Solly Nkolonzi, the young woman’s brother told the newspaper: “We don’t know why Phumeza was killed. She was not a naughty child. She was a lesbian, but she never did any wrong things.”

Soldaat said that she believed that Nkolonzi was murdered because she was lesbian. “We are concerned that it is becoming a norm for lesbians to be attacked in that area.”

In September last year, the decomposing body of 21-year-old Nontsikelelo Tyatyeka, a lesbian woman, was found in a bin in Nyanga.

“It is scary to see young people being killed brutally because others are simply not comfortable with their sexual orientation,” Soldaat said.

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