Mark Minnie’s death thrusts child rape crimes into spotlight

The author was found with a bullet wound to his head in Port Elizabeth on Monday, next to a firearm which didn’t belong to him and a note.

Mark Minnie, co-author of 'The Lost Boys of Bird Island' poses for a portrait during an interview few days before his death on 10 August 2018 in Port Elizabeth. Picture: Gallo Images/Netwerk24/Lulama Zenzile

JOHANNESBURG - The death of author Mark Minnie has thrust the crime of child rape into the spotlight, with researchers warning violence against minors remains universal and systematic.

Minnie was found with a bullet wound to his head in Port Elizabeth on Monday, next to a firearm which didn’t belong to him and a note.

His death comes days after the controversial book he co-authored The Lost Boys of Bird Island was published.

The book contains explosive revelations of child rape by powerful men during apartheid.

Speaking on Talk Radio 702 earlier on Wednesday, Professor Christi van der Westhuizen said the victims of these crimes suffered brutal violence.

“It’s a stigmatised term and it becomes those people over there who are paedophiles. We should call it what it is… these are child rapists.”

LISTEN: Minnie could have written suicide note under duress - Jacques Pauw

Meanwhile, Tafelberg Publishers has expressed shock over the death of the author.

The publishers say it was in contact with Minnie on Sunday night but hadn’t heard from him since.

Tafelberg says that during the last communications with Minnie, he sounded enthusiastic about the book’s publication and to expose the 30-year-old secrets.

The publisher adds nothing indicated that the author would take his own life, calling his death sudden and unexpected.

Additional reporting by Tendai Malaudzi.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)