On March 23, 2011 Wilma Buys received a phone call that her 15-year-old son Raymond had been admitted to the hospital for tests. What his mother saw when she arrived at the hospital is nothing short of horrifying.
He was semi-conscious and convulsing, with his arm broken in two places. There were burns and wounds all over his body. Buys was severely malnourished and dehydrated, and a medical report predicted that his chances of recovery were “virtually zero”.
Raymond had spent the previous ten weeks at the Echo Wild Games Rangers training course in South Africa; a camp that promised to turn ‘boys into men.’ In 2007, Eric Calitz, 18, and Nicolaas van der Walt, 19 died at the same training camp; Now, the camp’s ‘general’ Alex De Koker, 49, and employee Michael Erasmus, 20 are on trial charged with murder, child abuse and neglect and two charges of assault for Raymond’s death. Raymond Buys mother spoke to The Daily Telegraph about her son’s death. She explained that she’d only spoken to her son three times, on speakerphone, during the time he was at the camp and she spoke to De Koker twice. On one occasion De Koker told her that her son was harming himself.
“When I asked him why he was hurting himself, he told me ‘Mum, I’m not doing it to myself’,” she said. ”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.”
As the details emerge in Raymond’s death it is becoming quite clear that he was not harming himself. Another boy who shared a tent with him told the court that Buys’ was forced to eat his own feces, was chained to the bed every night, had a pillowcase placed over his head, was shocked with a Taser, forced to eat cleaning powder and endured a list of other torturous punishments. Eric Calitz and Nicolaas van der Walt suffered similar ends. Calitz sister said that her brother requested to leave the camp in 2007 and was tortured as a result. The family was notified via text message that he died of a heart attack, an autopsy later revealed he died of seizure, dehydration and bleeding on the brain. Calitz sister said that her brother was called gay and told that the camp would make him a man. Koker later received a suspended in the death of Calitz but was never charged for van der Walt’s death.
Melanie Nathan, a gender activist did some digging into Koker and found that he was reportedly a member of a far-right, white supremacist group. She explains that she discovered the camp has undertones that it is a place to send your son to if you want to cure him of homosexuality.
The idea of the camp is to apparently make men of teens and to “cure” ‘”feminine traits’ in male youths…” another way of saying gay reparative therapy, instead in this instance that therapy involved “beating the gay out of the kid” – torture and if torture didn’t effect the desired change, then certainly murder would; after all a dead teen is not a gay teen.
In other words Camp Echo was a ‘gay conversion camp.’ Incidentally in the United States, California became the first state to outlaw ‘gay conversion therapy’ for minors’ last fall and New York lawmakers are set to introduce a similar ban. The California law is headed to federal court with opposition calling it a violation of parental rights and freedom of speech. The entire mainstream mental health community has renounced the therapy and said that it is detrimental to the mental health of gay youth. Homosexual teens are already five times more likely to commit suicide than the average ‘non-gay’ teenager. Furthermore, the therapy has proven time and again to be ineffective in ‘curing’ a person that is homosexual. Recently, John Paulk a former ‘gay conversion therapy crusader’ said that he is gay once again. Every scrap of evidence proves this therapy does not work! It doesn’t work because being gay is not something that people choose any more than you and I choose our eye color.
So now the parents of these three boys in South Africa are left with the deaths of their children forever on their hands. Is that harsh? I guess a little bit, as parents we would never wish that something happen to our kids, but it is what it is. These parents sent their children to this camp to become ‘men’ and instead they became corpses. South Africa is a country that gives the LGBT community full equal rights (unlike ‘Murica) but they do not have hate crime laws that cover these types of crimes. Hopefully these men spend the rest of their miserable lives behind bars for the deaths of these kids.