On June 13, South Africans awoke to the shocking news of the murder of 28-year-old Macassar-born queer activist and dancer Kirvan Fortuin.
Fortuin was known widely for their contribution to the Cape Town ballroom scene where many knew them affectionately as the Mother of House Le Clap.
It’s been reported that they were allegedly stabbed in the chest by a 14-year-old girl after a quarrel erupted at the house of a friend in Macassar, in the Western Cape. As a result of the injuries sustained in the stabbing, Fortuin passed away while being transported to the hospital.
The young suspect has since been detained on a charge of murder and will be processed according to the Child Justice Act.
“This is a tragic loss for the queer community,” says Love Not Hate Manager Roché Kester. “It is a hard pill to swallow given that such an inspirational person’s life was taken so easily in this callous manner. Kirvan was not just a phenomenal artist but also worked towards the visibility of queer culture and advocated for awareness on HIV/AIDS.”
Fortuin’s accolades include being bestowed with the ministerial award at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports Awards in 2019.
This year, to commemorate The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, Fortuin hosted a virtual ball on Instagram, providing necessary space for queer people to be together even in the time of COVID-19.
Kester says: “It is hard to make sense of this loss, especially at the hands of a person this young. It is worrying that violence has become so normalised in our society that a youth can so easily take the life of another in such a senseless manner.
“Serious intervention needs to take place concerning the value of life and dignity in South Africa. Our youth require intervention from educators and parents alike to ensure that we raise children who are compassionate, understanding and kind and who do not act out in violence or discrimination.”
Love Not Hate extends its sincere condolences to the Fortuin family.