The “Queen of Manenberg” has made his final bow.
Manenberg residents are grieving the loss of LGBTQI activist Leslie van Rooyen who lost the fight against Covid-19 over the weekend.
Hartseer residents will gather outside his home in Kei Street on Thursday night where they will light candles in a memorial service for the activist dubbed the Queen of Manenberg for his work to assist queer people.
Leslie had been hospitalised just over a week ago after he was diagnosed with Covid-19.
The popular activist who launched the first ever LGBTQI feeding scheme from his home, which is also a safe house, spent his 45th birthday on a ventilator struggling to breathe.
Sister Aletta Ranc, 48, says on Saturday she was allowed to visit him at Groote Schuur Hospital.
“He was in ICU and they said I can visit him. I went there and sat and sang to him and he still kicked his one leg as I played music for him. I was so hopeful because it looked like he was recovering,” she says.
But on Sunday morning Aletta received a call from the hospital saying his condition had deteriorated.
“They phoned me just before 8am and said it didn’t look good, I rushed there and before I could get there, he died. They said his lungs and kidneys gave in.
“We are very heartsore because Leslie was the light in our lives and he fought so hard but in the end he couldn’t anymore.
“I had so much hope on Saturday that we would soon see him again in Manenberg doing what he loved and that was to work with people and children.”
While in hospital, residents held prayer services outside his home.
Last year Leslie launched the LGBTQI feeding scheme where along with his team they feed thousands of hungry children and their parents each day.
The home is also a safe haven for people who have been attacked or rejected by their families due to their sexuality.
Over the years, more than 2000 people have sought shelter there.
Aletta says residents are invited to a candlelight vigil and memorial service at the Kei Street home at 6.30pm tonight.
“We are busy with funeral arrangements but don’t have a date as yet. The funeral will be restricted to only 50 people but we will allow for the community to come to the house to say farewell,” she says.