A young man of 20, working for two weeks at Sizzlers as "Dean, was supposed to be at the house on Sunday. But he was feeling ill and spent the night in his bed at his Sea Point flat. The next morning, still in bed, he was listening to the radio when the report about the attack was aired. I began to shake uncontrollably, he told Die Burger.
The owner of Sizzlers, 56-year-old Aubrey Otgaar, known to everyone as Eric, was the first to be laid to rest. A service was held at St Anthonys Catholic Church on January 23, 2003. According to the Cape Times the following day, Father Christopher Clohessy said people should be judged not by what they do, but who they are.
Family of Aubrey Otgaar
Tony Otgaar said that the family was close, and, despite them not approving of his brothers choice of business, they were all able to voice their opinions and still remain close. A former lover described Aubrey as an amazing person, funny and a prankster. He saw Aubrey on the latters birthday, just five days before his death. Aubrey was very happy and excited about meeting a new Internet-lover in Eastern Europe in February.
Travis Reade had turned 20 on New Years Day. He liked to live fashionably and flashy, buying the best clothes and the latest model of cellular phone. He was described as soft and kind. His father, Len, had known for a number of years that Travis was gay and a masseur, although Travis never wanted to admit the latter. He had moved to Cape Town from KemptonPark, Johannesburg, two years before the massacre, and had been living at Sizzlers. Len had attempted to convince his son to leave his chosen profession, but to no avail. According to Len, in The Star, Travis liked earning a lot of money and didnt want to leave.
Sergio de Castro
When 22-year-old Sergio de Castro was three, his mother left home. His father died four years later, leaving Sergio with only one close relativehis half-brother Dane, born of his fathers second marriage. Apparently, Sergio played musical chairs with relatives who didnt really want him until he finally went his own way, ending up in Cape Town in 2000. At the time of the killings, he was sharing a flat in Sea Point with a friend. Sergio was quite talented, playing the flute and guitar, singing in a church choir, speaking Portuguese and learning Hebrew, but what he wanted to do, was web design. He had completed a course at a computer college, but was unable to find work, being told he was too inexperienced. Sergio had worked at Sizzlers in the past, but had quit because he had had enough. Two months prior to the killings, he had gone backout of financial desperation, his flatmate later discovered. Sergio owed the computer college R13,000 (approx. $US 2,2030), and his job at a coffee shop wasnt paying the bill. All his friends denied that he had a drug problem, only a need to be loved. Sergios cousin, Ricardo Afonfo, said this in the CapeArgus of January 19, 2004: One thing that really amazed me was how many friends he had that cared about himthey were really his family.
Unfortunately, not much is known about Marius Meyer. He was 21 years old at the time of the murders, and he was originally from Barkly West, which is a small town in the Northern Cape province. Marius was taken to Groote Schuur hospital after the attack, but died there later the same day.
Stephanus "Fanie" Fouché
Stephanus Fanie Fouché was only 17, although his age was presented as higher. In August 2002 he told his adoptive parents that he wanted to leave the smallish town of Theunissen in the Free State province, and go to Cape Town to look for work. His father characterized him as polite, responsible and good-natured. Fanie phoned his parents at every day. When he failed to call that Monday morning and reports of the massacre came in, they knew their son was among the dead. On the Thursday after the murders, his father collected Fanies body and took him back home. A year later, in the January 30, 2004, CapeTimes, Fanies father said that his son had hated violence, but that is exactly how he diedviolently. Fanie was their only child. He told the CapeArgus, in an article on January 19, 2004, that whatever Fanie was doing there, I have always been very proud to call him my son and I always will be.
Warren Visser, 22, had been working at Sizzlers for a bit longer than a month. He was a qualified computer engineer. His mother was convinced that he was a sex worker, despite his vehement denials and assurance that this was not the case. His parents had been trying to identify the massage parlor where he was working, and were actually considering kidnapping him. Warren spoke to his mother only hours before the attack, and she implored him to leave his line of work. Sadly, he only asked her why she didnt trust him.
Jüan Meyer was 20 when he died. He was from a town near Vereeniging, which is close to Johannesburg, and came to Cape Town two years previously. He left his boyfriend in search of financial success. In 2002 he worked at a casting agency, but quit in November. His boss was under the impression that Jüan had left for home. Although his parents were aware that he was gay, they didnt know that he was working at Sizzlers. Financial difficulty made it impossible for Jüans parents to come to Cape Town after his death, but friends bought them the necessary tickets and arranged for a fund to raise money to help with the funeral. His former boyfriend described him in the January 24, 2003, Saturday Star as a "peoples person who made friends wherever he went.
Timothy Boyd was the last victim to be identified. He was 29. Timothy moved to Cape Town in September 2001 from Johannesburg, and worked in the sex industry for the money. He was actually straight. When his girlfriend of four months discovered that he was working at The Barracks, another gay massage parlor in Sea Point, she broke up with him. Her reason was his dishonesty about it rather than the nature of his work, and they remained friends. The Barracks, however, did not look kindly on the fact that Timothy had a girlfriend, and he was fired. That was how he ended up at Sizzlers a month and a half before the killings. She said that he had a lack of direction in his life and was involved in drugs, but had amazing manners. He was the perfect gentleman and he treated women extremely well, she told the CapeArgus. He had a way of making people feel comfortable about being themselves. She said the one dream that Timothy had was to be a father.
Gregory Berghaus, 43, was a prop stylist and antique collector, and worked at an auction house in New York, where he had lived for the 15 years prior to his death. His mother described him in the Cape Times as very bright, very generous and kind. He was creative and artistic, with two degrees which he worked very hard for. But more importantly, he accepted people for who they were. This is an admirable thing ... I am not the kind of person who easily accepts people. She said she missed his laughter the most.
Mayor Mfeketo lights candle at service
On Saturday, January 25, 2003, a memorial service was held at the Holy Redeemer Anglican Church in Sea Point for the victims of the Sizzlers massacre. It was organized by the church, the African National Congress (the ruling party of South Africa), gay and lesbian rights groups such as the Equality Project and the Triangle Project, as well as the sex workers group Sweat. More than 300 people gathered among burning candles, some sitting on the floor. There were many tears. Emotions were particularly fragile when Lana English sang Ave Maria. The mayor of Cape Town, Nomaindia Mfeketo, said that she knew no words that can heal the pain at the moment ... but we must make sure that through their death something good can happen in this community (Independent On-Line, Jan. 25, 2003). She said the best remembrance would be to clean up Sea Point and neighboring Green Point of drugs and crime.