S. African Teen Dies After Alleged Torture at ’Gay Conversion’ Camp
A 15-year-old teen from South Africa died after he was allegedly chained to his bed, starved, beaten at a training camp that claimed could turn him into a "man," the British national daily Tthe Telegraph reports.
Raymond Buys, who had developmental issues, was placed in the hospital and put on life support two months after he entered a three-month training program at Echo Wild Game Rangers in the bush, about an hour south of the South African capital of Johannesburg.
Buys was severely emaciated and dehydrated and suffered from brain damage, a broken arm, bruises and cigarette burns all over his body when he arrived at the hospital. Doctors told his mother that her son’s chances of living were "virtually zero." Buys died two weeks later.
"I sent my son on this course to make him a better man, to give him a better future," Wilma Buys told The Telegraph. "I trusted Alex de Koker with his life."
Alex de Koker, 49, ran the training camp, along with employee Michael Erasmus, 20. The men are currently on trail for murder charges, child abuse and neglect. They are also charged with two cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
It has been alleged that Buys’ death is the third among the teens who attend the courses run by de Koker, who is allegedly a member of murdered white supremacist Eugene Terreblanche’s Iron Guards movement. According to The Telegraph, two other men have died in the same camp: Erich Calitz, 25, in 2007 from brain injuries; and Nicholas van der Walt, 19.
Gay Star News reports that the training camp has been linked to "gay conversion" therapy. Officials from the facility claim they can "make men" out of teenage boys.
According to Calitz’s sister, Mathilda Groenwald, her brother was beaten when he asked to quit the camp. De Koker, she said, "told him he wasn’t gay and he would make a man out of him." De Koker was slapped with a suspended sentence in 2009 over Caltiz’s death but escaped charges for van der Walt’s death, which was ruled to have been from a heart attack.