South Africa: Dancer and LGBTI activist killed; motivation still unknown

25 June 2020
Kirvan Fortuin dancing
Image: Kirvan Fortuin / Kirvan Fortuin on Instagram


12 June: South African dancer and choreographer Kirvan Fortuin was stabbed near Cape Town and died on the way to the hospital, reported Zam Magazine 

A 14-year old girl has been arrested for her alleged affiliation with the murder. The motivation for this action is not yet known, but the investigation is ongoing. 

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I have been judged, criticised, mocked, sabotaged, bullies and even received death threats for being who I am and the work that I do. Today we celebrate International World Pride Month, and today I would like to say again, I will always and forever fight for the visibility and voice of th marginalised within mainstream, whether in corporate, civil, commercial or the art world. When I started House of le Cap 3 years ago, I would get messages from people in my industry saying “be careful that these flamboyant ways don’t distract your beautiful choreography” and “are you sure this is what you want to do so early in your career as a choreographer” it broke me, and pulled me away from theatre and dance, because basically what they wanted to say was “die moffie geit moet nou ent kry.” Too many POC, queer people, poor people and people from the Cape Flats and every other rural community have died for me to live restricted because I’m considered the other. Their deaths will never be in vain whilst I’m around. Today we remember those we paved the way for us and most importantly why. Since I started House of le Cap we have raised R10 000 for HIV/AIDS awareness, food vouchers for several local NGO’s and made sure that our trans community got their treatment and medication during lockdown. So before you judge based on the fact that I’m a coloured Moffie from Macassar please refer to the above, and ask yourself what have I done for my community. Two weeks ago we celebrated and commemorates International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and in partnership with the Kingdom of the Netherlands in SA we hosted our first virtual ball, which attracted over 15 000 across the globe. This week I will be hosting SA’S biggest queer event. The ball culture has always existed in Africa, long before I was born so it is something that is embedded within us. Balls are a platform for expression and activism. It is a place where we celebrate each other and question certain things in society. My balls always make some sort of political statement, because balls are and should be a parody and satire on society. As Africans we are at a phase where we are eager to define us.

A post shared by Kirvan Fortuin (@kirvanlecap) on

Fortuin was the founder and artistic director of the Kirvan Fortuin Foundation and the founder of the House of Le Cap, South Africa’s first ballroom houseHe was also known LGBTI activist and professional dancer in the Netherlands.  

According to the Zam Magazine, the dancer received many awards for his artistic performances in South Africa, the Netherlands and Switzerland.  

Freemuse documented that in 2019, nine artists were killed. The State of Artistic Freedom 2020 reports that two artists were killed in Uganda, and one in each of Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Iraq, Mali, Russia and USA.  


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