hate crimes against black lesbians (1)
Last year, the news that Zoliswa Nkonyana had been attacked and murdered for being a lesbian made the airwaves and attracted international support. This year, two other women who lived are reported in the news as having being attacked for their sexuality and politics.
The sad and maddening thing is the low level of coverage this incidence received from the South African media. Instead we were bombarded with the usual theatrics of politically and economically powerful men and their further political plans vis a vis the presidential race.
While I find my words, I am posting a press-release from the Joint Working Group in this post, and more in a later post.
GAY AND LESBIAN COMMUNITY PRESS RELEASE
WEEK: 09 –13 JULY 2007
Lesbian Killing: We Demand Justice!
(July 9, 2007) The South African lesbian and gay communities through the Joint Working Group* and partner organisations STRONGLY CONDEMN the killing of Sizakele Sigasa (34) and Salome Masooa (23) from a township in Johannesburg. They were found (Sunday 8th July) murdered, execution style, in a nearby field in Meadowlands; a shocking image that is not so new in South Africa in the light of the recent increase in violence and rape against women either identified as, suspected of or supporting lesbian and gay rights.
Gays and lesbians are men and women, human beings who deserve equal rights and treatment – not to be ridiculed or called names, beaten, tortured, raped or killed. These gross human rights violations are not just inhuman and barbaric – they must not be tolerated! Sizakele and Salome’s killers, like everyone else, HAD NO RIGHT TO THREATEN OR KILL THEM.
Violence against lesbians and gays is unSouth African. Here, oppression and discrimination have no place, still there are parents who reject or kick children out to the streets; siblings, friends and communities who hurt, beat, rape, torture and even kill lesbians and gays. If they survive all this, they face further victimisation at in the hands of the police and even the courts – THIS IS NOT JUSTICE AT ALL. People who inflict harm upon and even kill lesbians and gays (or anyone else) do not belong in South Africa. Leaders and communities that do not oppose violence against gays, lesbians, women, children, rape survivors and HIV+ people do not belong here.
1) We call on the Meadowlands Police Services to investigate this matter – efficiently and rigorously;
2) We call on other state bodies and communities to support the families by working with the Police and the Prosecuting Authorities towards ensuring that the killers are brought to book.
We express our deepest condolences to the bereaved families and friends. We offer our support to the colleagues and comrades as they mourn the death of these two precious women.
MEMORIAL SERVICE: Thursday 12 July 2007, 12h00-15h00 (Epelegeng Centre)
FUNERAL: Saturday, 14 July 2007, 12h00 (Meadowlands Community Centre)
(Contact: Busi Kheswa, Gay and Lesbian Memory In Action, 011-717/4239/1963
Prudence Mabele, Positive Women’s Network, 078 383 9529
For assistance in dealing with trauma and loss or for a debrief please contact the:
UNISA Centre for Applied Psychology: 012 429 8089/8544 or Out- Well Being: 012-344-6500
Issued by Nonhlanhla Mkhize (031 301 2145) for the Joint Working Group (JWG).
The JWG is a network of LGBTI organisations and partners in South Africa. Our Vision is to strengthen the organised LGBTI sector to maximise our response to LGBTI needs through partnerships, collective use of resources, and drawing on the strengths of participating organizations in contributing towards social justice and the reconstruction and development of South African society.