Political and social commentator Pieter Howes has passed away, allegedly after taking his own life.
The news was confirmed on Facebook by his father, artist At Botha.
“I just want to let all my friends know tonight that my youngest child Pieter has passed away – I’m struggling to process it, and know that with all my FB friends, I won’t be able to answer your messages. I know you care, and that’s enough. Love, At,” he said in Afrikaans.
Howes was a South African political and social commentator who wrote for publications including US-based website The Inquisitr. He also founded The Enwhitenment Project, described on Twitter as “a social collective that aims to build awareness of all things related to Whiteness in order to bridge the racial divide.”
Before this, he was known as an actor, theatre director, playwright, and television scriptwriter under the name Pieter Bosch Botha, which he changed to Howes after getting married to his partner Craig Howes.
He was possibly best known for his large following and significant presence on social media, particularly Twitter.
He considered himself a supporter of social justice and believed that white people in South Africa needed to play a role in owning up to and addressing their role in past injustices. His views were left-wing and he expressed open support for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
Howes sent out a few tweets on May 3, prior to his passing, that some on social media have cited as evidence that his plans to take his own life had already been made, including one calling on people to “be kind to one another” and one saying that he was “not afraid of the moment of death”.
His cause of death is believed to be suicide, television reporter Thinus Ferreira reports on his blog.
His body was reportedly found in a Sandton hotel on Saturday after he didn’t return home and his husband used cellphone tracking technology to find him.
He suffered from bipolar disorder, playwright and family friend Wim Vorster told Netwerk24.
Many people have taken to social media to express grief and offer condolences to his family and friends.
Just learnt of @PieterHowes ultimately passing.
Condolences to the family and friends.
Pieter always had open and interesting views & his wittiness will dearly missed.
Death be not proud!
— Tumi Sole (@tumisole) May 6, 2019
Very saddening to hear about Pieter Howes.
— Portia Gumede (@portiagumedesa) May 6, 2019
You were a bright, enduring flame of righteousness in an often unjust world. I will miss your voice and your constant and unwavering belief that people should default towards love and not hate.
I wish we could have just one more evening on the deck. RIP.
— Tracey Lomax (@LoudMouthedChic) May 6, 2019
A recent and incredible thread from @PieterHowes ❤️ may he rest in power… I learned so much from him, the articles he wrote, and the conversations we shared here on Twitter. My condolences go out to his family and friends. https://t.co/cyj8grRb69
— Black Lives Matter (@RobynPorteous) May 6, 2019
Unconfirmed reports that Pieter Howes has passed on. Reading the tweet below it seems that he knew something. My thoughts are with his family. https://t.co/HLn0NiWMi6
— Renaldo "Ngamla" Gouws ???????? (@RenaldoGouws) May 6, 2019