Source: African Activist
South African activists organised national protests on Sunday, May 15 ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) to place pressure on the government and civil society to speed up the formation of the hate crimes task team addressing "corrective rape." Protests came after the rape and murder of Nqobile Khumalo in KwaMashu outside of Durban.
Durban Protest Outside of City Hall
The murder of a Durban woman has angered the gay and lesbian community, who are demanding government take hate crimes more seriously.Kekeletso Khena of The White Flag Campaign and Tshidi Telekoa were early pioneers in creating awareness about the "corrective rape" of lesbians in South Africa. You can read Kekeletso's story in an article published in 2003 titled, "Corrective Rape makes you an African woman."
Nqobile Khumalo, 23, went missing on May 4 and her body was found in a shallow grave near her parents’ home in KwaMashu’s F-Section two days later, said police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge.
A man has been arrested in connection with her murder and is in Westville Prison awaiting a bail application.
Khumalo’s funeral was held in KwaMashu on Saturday.
Police say they have no knowledge of Khumalo’s murder being linked to her being a lesbian. But Lexit - an organisation that defends the rights of lesbian and bisexual women - claims Khumalo was killed because of her sexual preference.
The organisation staged a protest outside the Durban City Hall yesterday, singing and waving placards, to show anger at the murder.
“This is part of a nationwide protest because many lesbians are being raped and killed yet nothing is being done,” said chairwoman Thobeka Khoza.
“We will continue to protest until something is done about this. In KZN, at least eight lesbians have been raped and murdered but their attackers have not been caught.
“The government is not protecting us and our rights.”
Offenders needed to be prosecuted for hate crimes in addition to murder, she said.
Khumalo’s mother and her girlfriend were too traumatised to speak to the Daily News yesterday.
Mdunge said police did not group crimes according to the public’s sexual preference: “All cases are given the same priority and a human being is a human being.
“Both nationally and provincially, crimes against women and children are regarded as priority crimes and viewed in a serious light.”
Kekeletso Khena of The White Flag Campaign, wants government to condemn the killing of lesbians:
“Clearly our votes don’t mean enough… They must stand up and say something is wrong with this barbaric act.”
Visual Activist Zanele Muholi, also an early pioneer in fighting "corrective rape," made this request on her Facebook profile:
Can the artists around world speak out and DENOUNCE these 'curative rapes' and brutal murders of black lesbians in South Africa. Use your CREATIVE ARTS and express... We need your support, show us that you care about US as women first before anything else...We can't fight this war (on our) bodies alone.