Namibia: Rise in Deadly Hate Crimes Against LGBTQIA+ Community


Sexy Fredricks was the 6th queer Namibian reported to be murdered in recent months (Photo: The Namibian)

Thirty-year-old Sexy Fredricks (named by the media as Christof Fredricks) is the latest victim in an alarming spike in deadly hate crime murders of queer people in Namibia, with politicians being blamed for the crisis.

A passerby discovered the transgender woman’s naked body with 32 stab wounds on Thursday in Otjomuise, Windhoek. Police confirmed reports that her genitals had been cut off and placed on her chest, a clear statement of hatred.

According to The Namibian, Fredricks was last seen by her family on Wednesday when she set off to visit a friend. Fredricks’ aunt, Beniqna Visser, was called to the scene where she confirmed the victim’s identity.

An Alarming Trend in Violent Hate

In a statement, Equal Namibia said that Fredricks’ “horrific death sent shockwaves through the nation and is another brutal attack against members of the LGBTQIA+ community after the increase in homophobia and transphobia in the country…”

Fredricks is one of six queer people reported  to have been murdered in the country in recent months, often under appalling circumstances. They include Gerome Helgrain (41) in September 2023, Vernon Gavin (52) in January 2024, Queen Uwuseb (35) in February 2024, Gurney Elrich Uirab in March 2024, and Stanley Cloete (36), also in March.

In January, two men also viciously beat and sexually assaulted a transgender woman in Walvis Bay, dumping her with a fractured skull on dunes near a mall and leaving her for dead.

Namibia has witnessed intensified queerphobic sentiment and decisive debates on the basic rights of LGBTQIA+ people following a Supreme Court ruling on May 16, 2023, that mandated the state to recognise same-sex marriages registered in countries where they are legal.

Politicians and religious leaders responded with a backlash, condemning and vilifying the LGBTQIA+ community and staging several demonstrations against the ruling.

Lawmakers in September sought to reverse the court’s decision by passing a bill outlawing all same-sex marriages, raising concerns about the potential erosion of judicial independence and the rule of law. The bill has not yet been signed into law by President Nangolo Mbumba.

Activists have laid the blame for the recent violence against members of the LGBTQIA+ community at the feet of politicians who stirred up anti-queer vitriol and fearmongering.

Political and Religious Leaders Silent Amid the Carnage

“Our Members of Parliament have blood on their hands,” tweeted LGBTQIA+ activist Omar van Reenen. “History will remember. During apartheid, politicians used ‘swart gevaar’ to stoke up violent hate against black people. During democracy, politicians vilify the LGBTQI+ community as pushing a ‘gay agenda’ to otherise them.”

Speaking to the Windhoek Observer, LGBTQIA+ activist Nicodemus Auxumub slammed the queerphobic politicians behind the bill. “They also forget that we are taxpayers. No one is above the law. Lawmakers are violating the Namibian Constitution. These are people’s lives they’re talking about. If leaders are instigating violence, then we will never be safe,” said Auxumu.

The lack of condemnation by those in political and religious power of the latest deadly attack has not gone unnoticed.

“The silence from politicians, parties, and the President shows us as Namibians one thing. WE NEED NEW LEADERS. If not a single MP has their own voice. If not a single party can be brave in this moment. Then the system does not work for the people, except for elite themselves,” said van Reenen.

“The churches have been awfully quiet about all the homophobic murders and the femicide in the country,” commented SisterCanIDoUrHair on X. “That’s what happens when you blame evil on a supernatural entity instead of taking accountability of how your institutions spew intolerance and violence instead of love.”

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend