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Three teens starved, tortured and killed at ‘gay conversion camp’

Three ‘gay and effeminate’ teens have died after being starved and tortured at a ‘gay conversion camp’ designed to turn them into ‘men’.

Three teens labelled ‘gay and effeminate’ have died after being starved and tortured at a camp designed to turn them into ‘men’.

Raymond Buys

The picture above shows 15-year-old Raymond Buys in April 2011 as an undernourished, withered figure that seems to be clinging to life.

Buys’ parents, ten weeks previously, had enrolled him at the Echo Wild Game Rangers training course in South Africa in perfect health.

Upon his admittance to hospital, Buys was severely malnourished, dehydrated, his arm was broken in two places and there were burns and wounds covering his body. He stayed in intensive care for four weeks but his wounds were too severe and he died.

Alex De Koker and Michael Erasmus, Camp Leader & Assistant, are on trial for murder as well as child abuse and neglect. They have also been charged with two cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm to Buys.

Better man

‘I sent my son on this course to make him a better man, to give him a better future,’ Buys’ mother said. ‘I trusted Alex De Koker with his life.’

Buys was enrolled at the camp on 12 January 2011. Throughout the two months he was there, she claims to have only spoken to him three times and was told by De Koker that he was self-harming.

‘Raymond was only allowed to speak to me on speakerphone,’ she said. ‘When I asked him why he was hurting himself, he told me ‘Mum, I’m not doing it to myself”


Gerhard Oostuizen, 19, shared a tent with Buys. He told the court Buys was chained to his bed each night and was denied access to a toilet. He went on to say that Buys was also forced to eat his own excrement. The boys would be beaten with planks, hosepipes and sticks when they failed to carry out manual labour tasks, he claims.

Oostuizen also mentioned in court that De Koker tied Buys to a chair, naked, and covered his head in a pillowcase. He claimed that he would be electrocuted with a stun gun, ‘He screamed … I was scared and ran away,’.

Previous abuse

Four years prior to this case, Eric Calitz, 18, and Nicolaas Van Der Walt, 19, both died after being enrolled at the Echo Wild Game Rangers camp.

When Calitz requested to leave, De Koker reportedly told him he ‘wasn’t a moffie [gay] and he would make a man out of him’.

Calitz’s family were informed of his death via text message, saying he had died of a heart attack. Afterwards, doctors said the cause of death was from a seizure, dehydration and bleeding from the brain.

In 2007, 25-year-old Erich Calitz died from severe brain injuries, according to Afrikaans newspaper Rapport. Also that year, 19-year-old Nicholas van der Walt died at the same training camp. It was claimed he died from a heart attack, but doctors said he had appeared to have been choked with a seatbelt.

Not guilty

Melanie Nathan, gender activist, has said the three young men were all perceived as ‘gay and clearly effeminate’. Nathan also said of the ‘gay conversion camps’ that ‘with a little bit of digging, the gay reparative undertones start to emerge.’

De Koker and Erasmus have pleaded not guilty to the charges.






  1. andrew123456789

    29 Apr 2013 at 15:16

    By sending your kids to be “turned straight” you’re already abusing your child. No, the parents may not be culpable in what happened, but I do not sympathize with their motives one bit.

    • Lynn Litsey

      29 Apr 2013 at 17:36

      “Mrs Buys said her son had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and was struggling at school. The course had been recommended to her by a friend. When she went to see Mr de Koker, he told her he could help her son find a job in the wildlife trade.” I found that quote on another report of this, I don’t know that the parents knew what they were getting into.. she sent him for ADHD, nowhere have I been able to find anything the parents said about kids being gay, only the person running the camp has said that. I don’t think she knew.

      • rachel

        29 Apr 2013 at 18:09

        The worst part about that is that ADHD is such a loosely diagnosed disorder. With ADD, a very simular disorder, studies showed that doctors honestly could not tell the difference between the group of diagnosed from the control group of ‘fakers’ of the disorder. When I say ‘fakers’, i mean a group of people who did not have the disorder who pretended they did for the tests. To send your kid away for ADHD is a very uneducated decision.

      • Elias Vasylenko

        29 Apr 2013 at 18:58

        Thanks for pointing that out, this really should have been made more clear in the article.

  2. Bobbie Jo Justice

    29 Apr 2013 at 15:21

    Another case for immediate painful and public execution of the people running the conversion camp.

    • Shea Bernard

      29 Apr 2013 at 19:22

      What a loving, tolerant view

      • Adam

        29 Apr 2013 at 20:04

        Yes, we should definitely be tolerant of these people. ಠ_ಠ

      • Johnny

        2 Jun 2013 at 07:30

        Shea, are you serious? You’re pleading for tolerance for these disgusting people…at whose hands three young people are DEAD? What is wrong with you?

        • tre

          3 Jun 2013 at 12:36

          she is as sick as those who run those pathetic camps! if ya gay ya gay. get over it!! this is the 21st century not the 19th century for ppls sake!!!!!

  3. ChaosPA

    29 Apr 2013 at 15:31

    The parents are just as liable as the people who killed this kid. They contracted known murders to intimidate and abuse their child. They should go to prison as well.

  4. Anon

    29 Apr 2013 at 15:58

    This is an example of parents failing to be parents. Whether your child is gay or straight is NOT the main goal or test of parenting. His parents needed to do their research, and they failed him when they sent him to a place that they believed would fundamentally change who he was.

  5. Morgana Le Fey

    29 Apr 2013 at 16:19

    Another result of the missionary work and biblical standards being forced on people around the world.

    • David.

      29 Apr 2013 at 17:35

      Exactly. Eg-Fucking-Zactly. This is the damage caused by widespread xionism and christian/cathloci beliefs influencing cultures where not only should they not be applied, but they are actively harmful WHEN applied.

    • Shea Bernard

      29 Apr 2013 at 19:21

      Fallacy of Hasty Generalization Fey – Try again, and do attempt to construct an argument or response that is not a fallacy right out of the box.

  6. sdrive85

    29 Apr 2013 at 16:33

    Sterilize the parents, hang the camp leaders and end this charade.

  7. Betty Taylor

    29 Apr 2013 at 16:58

    absolutely disgusting.Everyone involved should be hung by the neck until could ANYONE do this(or let it be done) to teenage boys???

  8. Kayli 'Kiyo' Mills

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:11

    If you trust your child’s life to someone like that, you’re a really shitty parent. I don’t think that’s even the brunt of it though. Anyone who wants to change their own kid because they don’t like who they are is messed up.

    • David Werbenjagermanjensen

      29 Apr 2013 at 17:56

      The parents didn’t know. They believed it would just be wildlife training and a structured environment.

      • Not With Stupid

        29 Apr 2013 at 18:48

        Yeah, but they CLEARLY did not research this like.. AT ALL. Two young men died at this camp under very suspicious circumstances, I would absolutely not allow my children to a camp where it was reported a 19-year-old died of a heart attack, but was then discovered he was choked to death by a seat belt.

        ONLY did the parents do a horrible job of being a parent and making
        sure the place where THEY CHOSE to send their child was a safe place,
        they also completely failed to act when the camp leader called about
        their child’s “self harm” and EVEN WORSE when the child straight up told
        them “I’m not doing it to myself”.

        You CAN NOT argue that these parents were just horribly, horribly, misinformed, bordering on retarded. Although you could argue that they were just plain and simply, horrible and retarded.

  9. Nam Surinam

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:27

    This camp sounds pretty fun. I want to enroll myself. Can we wrestle lions and stuff?

  10. Whata Toolsack

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:27

    It is too bad that this happened, but WHAT THE FUCK are people sending their kids here anyway? A parent is supposed to love their child UNCONDITIONALLY, regardless of what or who they are. The parents should never have sent him, and I hope they feel fucking terrible. Douche-bags.

  11. Bente

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:28

    These are all Dutch names… Did these guys come from Holland?

    • miranda

      29 Apr 2013 at 17:35

      nothey are from south africa,the speak a language that is close to dutch and soare the names,thank god things like this dont happen here in Holland I think this would cause a riot over here.

    • Spacey

      29 Apr 2013 at 17:39

      South Africa was a Dutch colony at one time, so that is probably where all the Dutch names come from.

    • Elaine 1760486

      29 Apr 2013 at 17:41

      They are Africaans from Southa africa,and yes originally they would have come from Holland

    • Sam

      29 Apr 2013 at 18:07

      They’re Afrikaaner names. Afrikaaners are predominantly white South Africans descended largely from the Dutch (and English amongst other nationalities) hence the names

    • Riana

      3 May 2013 at 08:17

      Hi, I am from South Africa. These guys are Afrikaans-speaking (like me), and descended from French Huguenots and Dutch colonials (17th century), etc. as did most whites in South Africa. Most of us have French and Dutch surnames. They belong to a small far-right, conservative, racist, so-called Christian community – (Google the late Eugene Terre’Blanche and the AWB movement!!). As a White Afrikaans-speaking South African and of Christian religion, I do not associate myself with them and wish to make it clear that they are a SMALL community, much hated by the rest of SA – Black and White. Although SA doesn’t officially have the anti-gay attitude as the rest of Africa, there are still many people who need to turn around!! My (gay) brother had to leave SA many years ago, now residing in the UK, due to this nonsense. As a straight, 50 year old woman, I will fight for Gay Rights, as long as I live, even if I just influence a handful of people in my lifetime, it is better than none!! I do not allow anyone in my house, my group of friends or in my company to speak ill of gay people!! (pls excuse my grammar and spelling). xxx

  12. jondcan

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:33

    It is very unfortunate that those young men were so brutally treated. The only good thing is they will no longer have to suffer the physical abuse from the “counselors” or the abandonment from the failure of their parents.

  13. eams

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:34

    Is this for real? I cant imagine not accepting any of my kids based on who they choose as partners.

    • Kelly Shelton

      29 Apr 2013 at 19:56

      It’s a major problem. The majority of GLBT youth in the system are there because they were thrown out by their parents based on their sexuality. I believe that you failed as a parent the minute you abandon the child for being GLBT, not because they are GLBT…

  14. Phil Armond

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:37

    These murderers are not real men, they are just bigoted bullies, I hope they gat all they deserve.

    • Ellena Victoria

      29 Apr 2013 at 18:04

      Bullies? I think it goes a bit further than bullying. They are sick freaks and should be dealt with in the same manner that they put on the deceased teenagers.

    • rachel

      29 Apr 2013 at 18:16

      Bigoted bullies is an understatement at that, but agreed.

  15. Matthew LaBossiere

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:37


  16. Matthew LaBossiere

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:37

    And they are afraid of gays converting other people to be gay?… ya Straight people do it way more than we do.

  17. Eddie Keator

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:38

    Want to make you gay or effeminate acting sons a better man? Love and accept your sons as they are. I pity the judgmental Mrs Buy. My heart goes out to Raymond Buy and the other kids who lost their lives or who managed to survive at the hands of their torturers.

  18. Carl Hallowell

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:42

    Forget prison, Godwins law be damned, look at the kid! If this doesn’t bring up images of the holocaust, I don’t know what will. Looks to me like some people need to be hanged like the nazis before them.

  19. zmmerme

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:43

    That parents (term used loosely) should also be charged.

  20. Melanie

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:44

    While I don’t approve AT ALL of parents sending their children to gay concentration camps, you cannot blame them for their deaths. They didn’t kill them.

    And who’s to say that they absolutely knew of the camp’s history with deaths? They could have been like, “I don’t approve of my son’s effeminate nature – maybe if I send him to this ranger’s camp he’ll learn some more masculine things.” Obviously these camps don’t say on their brochure “will murder your gay son” or “will convert gays” on it. They would have said normal things about wilderness and camp life.

    And of course the parents wouldn’t have done much other research on it, because otherwise they would have known. Or maybe not because apparently other newspapers were reporting the deaths as “heart attacks” and not mentioning the real causes.

    Yes, I’m defending these parents. If you go purely by this article, there’s no indication of the parents being bigots. They just sent their kid to a camp they thought was safe. It’s disgusting how people read this, and immediately go “I can’t believe the parents killed their kid like that” and completely forget that there was someone in the camp ACTUALLY killing them. Good job, guys.

    • rachel

      29 Apr 2013 at 18:15

      Thank you! The murder was at the hands of De Koker and Erasmus. Whatever involvement the parents had is one thing, but that fact cannot be denied. I would hope ill wishes to De Koker and Erasmus, but instead I actually believe they have no hope and should be killed.

    • shaedgirrl99_9

      29 Apr 2013 at 18:17

      Thank you so much for your comment, I thought that I was the only one who had read/interpreted like you did. I don’t think that any parent would purposely send their child to be mistreated, tortured and killed. We as a society may never really know what the motivating factors were behind these parents decisions to send these young men to this camp. While everyone else on here is screaming for the parents’ heads (gotta love the lynch mob mentality), I’m sitting here thinking more about the pain that these families must be going through. Your comment here is the most intellegent and articulate one that I’ve read in such a long time….

    • Not With Stupid

      29 Apr 2013 at 18:56

      Let’s give the parents the benefit of the doubt and say they were purely sending their child off to learn ‘some masculine things’… to South Africa, to a camp where 2 young men previously had died under suspicious circumstances. THE CAMP LEADERS WERE PREVIOUSLY ARRESTED FOR SUSPICION OF MURDER IN 2007. I found this out by purely googling the camp’s name.

      Do you genuinely think these parents did a good job of keeping their child safe?

      Would you just say “Oh well, I’m sure it will work itself out” when you got a phone call claiming your child was “self-harming”, and then your child even straight-out told you “I’m not doing it to myself”?

      Would you just leave your child in South Africa in the care of 3 men previously arrested for connections to murder?

      • Not With Stupid

        29 Apr 2013 at 19:00

        Those last two things I mentioned are both terrifying and alarming BY THEMSELVES.

        But together? And with no action by the parents especially after the “self-harming” phone call?

        These parents ABSOLUTELY need to be neutered and spayed.

    • Jason Valentine

      29 Apr 2013 at 18:57

      Seriously? They sent their kids for reparative therapy and the kids died. Did they tour the place? Did they question WHY they weren’t permitted to talk to their children? No, the believed unconditionally that this camp was going to “fix” their kids. I spent most of my life being hauled to places that were supposed to “fix” me…nothing like this…with a mom that wanted me to be a certain kind of person. Abuse starts when the PARENTS decide their kids are the ones need fixing because they reject something about their kids…or something is too hard for them to deal with….if your kids are broken..look in the mirror..chances are its your perception.

    • glorrierose

      29 Apr 2013 at 19:33

      Excuse me, but that history is written all over the internet.

      Google “alex de Kroker” plus the word “death” with the date range from 2007 to 2011. Multiple stories were published about these earlier deaths. So you mean its ok if parents don’t bother to do a bit of research on the camp before the send their kids?

      BZZZZT. Sorry, wrong answer.

    • Kelly Shelton

      29 Apr 2013 at 19:54

      By sending them to a “turn straight” camp, they are bigots. Their children weren’t broken, there was no reason to send them. Accept your child is gay and move on. The minute you try to change them for something they cannot control is the minute you abuse their child.

      I hope they suffer as much as their children suffered because they couldn’t accept them.

    • Holly Appleberry

      30 Apr 2013 at 03:20

      We also don’t know that the parents did nothing to try to get their son out of the camp after they realized there was abuse going on. Once in another country, and under the control of the abusers, it may have been very difficult to get him out. The lesson for others is, don’t send your kids away to camp in a foreign country. Also don’t trust your kids with strangers without doing some research.

  21. Jade

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:51

    “moffie” translates better to the word “faggot”. Just by the way..

  22. Randazzle

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:57

    This article seems a little unbelievable to me. A young man dies in 2007 from choking from a seat belt and people are still sending their children there?

    • imominous

      29 Apr 2013 at 18:06

      No more unbelievable than Oklahoma state senator Brian Renegar endorsing the fradulent Scientology drug rehab, ‘Narconon.’ Oddly, he came out in support after allegations of fraud and medical malpractice were raised. And six people died. Yet, people are still sending their children to Narconon. Go figure. People just don’t google enough before making life changing, expensive decisions.

      • Shea Bernard

        29 Apr 2013 at 19:29

        Yep – if you find it from Google’ing, it MUST be true.

  23. Thuto Angelo

    29 Apr 2013 at 17:58

    This should be called a concentration camp smh

  24. Lars MÃ¥rten Rikard Nilsson

    29 Apr 2013 at 18:13

    When the head of the camp says your kid is self-harming and your kid says otherwise and they only allow them to speak to you through speakerphone it’s high time to question these people and get your kid out of there even if you knew absolutely nothing was going on beforehand. The parents should be put on trial same as the other murderers, they are parents they re supposed to ask questions on their kids behalf and make sure they are safe, instead they trust the word of strangers with a less than good track-record over their own kin. Despicable.

  25. leafz00

    29 Apr 2013 at 18:13

    Why was the camp not closed in 2007 and the monster who killed 2 people not in jail? Had that happened, then Raymond would still be alive. I hope those monsters get the death penalty. Oh, and parents, your children being gay is not something to try to beat out of them or correct. Love your children as they are.

  26. shaedgirrl99_9

    29 Apr 2013 at 18:25

    The lynch mob mentality that is so prevalent here is sickening. Everyone wants to place the blame on the shoulders of the parents, but that is not where it belongs. I VERY HIGHLY doubt that these parents sent these young men to a camp to have them tortured and killed. Nowhere in the article does it state that the parents sent them there because of the possibility of their sons being gay. There are other reasons why parents send their children to camps like this. Before you decide to bash these parents, you should remember a few things-
    *Three families have had their worlds destroyed. These were someones sons, uncles, nephews, etc etc.
    *The emaciated condition of these children at the end of this DID NOT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT. Place the blame on those who deserve it, in that case it would be the so called “counsellors”, who not only witnessed the deteration of these children, and not only turned a blind eye, but actively condoned it. These children did not need to die. All it would have taken was just ONE person to pick up a phone and call for emergency services….

    • glorrierose

      29 Apr 2013 at 19:20

      Of course they didn’t do that for that purpose. But they decided that something was wrong with their boys because they were “effeminate.” There is culpability in that ridiculous, ignorant and bigoted assumption. There was NOTHING WRONG with these kids that needed correcting. The parents are at fault for making that decision.

      Also they should have closely monitored the camp and taken their kids out when they weren’t allowed to communicate with them. That is total B.S.

    • glorrierose

      29 Apr 2013 at 19:26

      For more details, here are several other sources:

      The three-month training course is run by Alex de Koker’s Echo Wild Game Rangers. At two months into the course, one teenager was admitted to hospital with severe injuries, which he died from two weeks later.

      The course, which costs R22,000 (£1,500), and its managers have been linked by several reports to “gay conversion therapy”, and its victims have been said to have been “perceived as gay and clearly effeminate”.

      The leader of an “ex gay” boot camp in South Africa is facing trial after revelations of torture, starvation and death of gay teens in his care have taken the continent by storm.

      The Echo Wild Game Rangers Course was advertised to parents as a place to turn boys into men, with the subtext and promotional materials promising to turn effeminate gay teens into straight masculine guys. But what some parents got back after sending their teens to ‘course’ general Alex De Koker were not strapping macho-fied men, but frail, near-death sons with stories of unimaginable torture.

      If you are going to defend the parents, better get your facts straight first.

  27. Mr. Tickles

    29 Apr 2013 at 18:29

    Fuck cultural relativism.

    • Shea Bernard

      29 Apr 2013 at 19:27

      Finally someone with some sense

  28. Alla Kerman

    29 Apr 2013 at 18:35

    A “conversion” camp?? a full-on concentration camp worse than the ones during the Holocaust is what I would call it. And I’m NOT being overly dramatic and exaggerative when I say what I say.!!

  29. rockafella7

    29 Apr 2013 at 18:51

    It’s like sending left-handed kids to a camp to make them right handed.

  30. John Wells

    29 Apr 2013 at 18:59

    Of course the parents are culpable. They essentially murdered their own children.

  31. Jason Valentine

    29 Apr 2013 at 18:59

    To the people exonerating the parents…I am a parent of a 21 year old son myself..and all I have to say is…Seriously? They sent their kids for reparative therapy and the kids died. Did they tour the place? Did they question WHY they weren’t permitted to talk to their children? No, the believed unconditionally that this camp was going to “fix” their kids. I spent most of my life being hauled to places that were supposed to “fix” me…nothing like this…with a mom that wanted me to be a certain kind of person. Abuse starts when the PARENTS decide their kids are the ones need fixing because they reject something about their kids…or something is too hard for them to deal with….if your kids are broken..look in the mirror..chances are its your perception.

  32. fariasrv

    29 Apr 2013 at 19:16

    Isn’t “reparative therapy” of any type a clear violation of the South African constitution’s protections for GLBT people?

  33. glorrierose

    29 Apr 2013 at 19:18

    I think the parents of these young men bear at least part of the blame. WARNING TO PARENTS: let your kids be who they are. They will be happier and healthier for it. The WORST thing you can do is to try to turn them into something they are not. There is NOTHING WRONG with being an “effeminate” male!

  34. Captain Optimist

    29 Apr 2013 at 19:19

    I’m sorry, but if your CHILD tells you that he’s not hurting himself, but he’s clearly being hurt, you get him OUT OF THERE. The parents are just as culpable as the counselors.

  35. john henry

    29 Apr 2013 at 19:24

    one human treatment to another human being sad

  36. jc therese

    29 Apr 2013 at 19:30

    If you send your child to one of these repulsive gay conversion camps, then you yourself are an absolute disgrace to human nature. The people who did this to those poor boys should be shot in the head as far as my oppinion goes.. This is disgusting.

  37. Jeanette Victoria

    3 May 2013 at 00:54

    This was never a “gay conversion camp” It’s a Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging’s training camp for white separatists in South Africa. According to the young mans mother he “was very excited to be training as a ranger”. No where in any SA news feed are these young men identified as homosexuals.

  38. Jeanette Victoria

    5 May 2013 at 02:25

    It NOT a “gay conversion camp”. It’s a self-styled Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging’s training camp for white separatists in South Africa. According to the young man’s mother he “was very excited to be training as a ranger”.
    Reply Fave Share 2 May 3:52 PM

  39. Byron Ledger

    10 Oct 2013 at 16:37

    if u ask me u dot love your kids as they are if u send your kids there I hop the fucking hat u you should love them how they are

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