Three gay teens were starved, tortured and beaten to the point of death at a camp where it promised to turn them into men.
A picture of 15-year-old Raymond Buys, published by Gay Star News, that was taken in April 2011 showed a skeletal, emaciated figure fighting for his life. Ten weeks prior, the teenager’s parents signed him up for the Echo Wild Game Rangers training course in South Africa in perfect health condition.
At the hospital, Buys was severely malnourished, dehydrated and his arms were broken in two places. There were burns and wounds all over his body and he laid in intensive care unit for four weeks until he died.
The training camps’ “general” Alex De Koker, 49, and his employee, Michael Erasmus, 29, are now on trial for murder, child abuse and neglect. They were also charged with two cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in relation to Buys’ death.
Buys’ death have been said to be the third among the Afrikaans children who attended the R22,000 ($2,400) courses, which have been advertised since 2006.
According to Buys’ mother, speaking to the Daily Telegraph, “I sent my son on this course to make him a better man, to give him a better future. I trusted Alex De Koker with his life.”
Last week, the Vereeniging District Court listened to the testimony of from a boy who stayed at the same tent with Buys, the Daily Maverick reports.
Gerhard Oostuizen, 19, claims that Buys was punished and chained to his bed every night. What is more devastating is he was not allowed to go to the toilet and on one occasion was forced to eat his own feces.
Osstuizen also said that Buys was beaten with planks, horsepipes and sticks when he failed to carry out manual labor tasks. He also claims he saw De Koker tie Buys to a chair naked with his head covered in a pillowcase, and would electrocute him with a stun gun.
According to gender activist Melanie Nathan, he said the three young men were all perceived to be “gay and clearly effeminate.”
Nathan said that with further investigation on the camp’s tactics and approach towards the boys enrolled, you see the “gay reparative undertones start to emerge.”
Two boys, Eric Calitz, 18, and Nicolas Van Der Walt, 19, had both died after enrolling at the Echo Wild Game Rangers camp. When Calitz requested to leave the camp, he was told by DeKoker “he wasn’t a moffie (gay) and he would make a man out of him.”
Calitz’s family was informed of his death via a text message, with camp saying he died out of a heart attack.
After doctors checking the body, they said that the cause was seizure, dehydration and they also found bleeding in the brain.
Van Der Walt was also claimed to have died from a heart attack, but doctors said he appeared to have been choked with a seatbelt.
Both De Koker and Erasmus have pleaded not guilty to the charges.