Friday, April 29, 2011

Brutal Attacks on Black Lesbians in South Africa Continue, Three Years After Simelane's Murder

I am re-posting a message I received this morning from the Forum for the Empowerment of Women in Johannesburg. Noxolo Nogwaza was raped and murdered this week, three years after the outcry over Eudy Simelane's murder should have brought these assaults to an end. Every few weeks, it seems, another woman is killed: Nokuthula Radebe, just 20 years old, was killed a month ago.
Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee (EPOC) and the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) call on all supporters for equality and dignity for all, to join us in specific actions calling for justice for slain lesbian, Noxolo Nogwaza and all the other LGBT people who have lost their dignity and lives on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in South Africa.


The body of Noxolo Nogwaza, a 24 year old lesbian, was found lying in an alley in Kwa-Thema at about 9am on Sunday, April 24 2011. Noxolo’s head was completely deformed, her eyes out of the sockets, her brain spilt, teeth scattered all around and face crashed beyond recognition. Police and other witnesses at the crime scene say that an empty beer bottle and used condoms were pushed up her genitals. Parts of her body had been stabbed with glass. A large pavement brick that is believed to have been used to crash her head was found by her side.
Noxolo was raped and murdered in a similar manner as that in which another member of EPOC was murdered, 3 years ago today. Eudy Simelane’s body was also found in an open field in Kwa-Thema. She had been raped and murdered, crimes that the perpetrators confessed to. Just last year, a gay man in the same township was attacked by eight men, who attempted to rape him. Luckily, he escaped the “vultures”. The men, as they attempted to rape him, were heard saying, “We are determined to kill all gay people in this area and we will do it.” 
Noxolo will be laid to rest at a cemetery in Kwa-Thema on Saturday, April 30, 2011. EPOC and CAL call on all your support in this time of grief and shock. Please come and stand with us.
What can you do?
1. Come and join us as we lay Noxolo Nogwaza to rest. The funeral will take place in Kwa-Thema on Saturday, April 30, 2011. For those outside Gauteng and South Africa, you may send condolence messages that will be read out at the funeral to and wreaths/ flowers can be purchased online at for pick up on Saturday morning. Have them labeled EPOC for Noxolo and we will pick them up. For those around Gauteng, there will be a taxi to transport mourners to and from Constitutional Hill in Braamfotein and at the Baragwanath Taxi Rank, Soweto. Please be at your station by 7:30am on Saturday. Also confirm your attendance with / 0733711556. The address of the home where the funeral will be held is 19206 JAQISA Str, Ext 6 in Kwa-Thema (behind BP Garage, Duduza Rank).

2. Call, fax or email Tsakane Police Station and demand for a speedy and thorough investigation into the rape and murder of Noxolo Nogwaza. The reference number of the case is 635/04/2011.
Tel: +27 11 363 5347/8/9
Fax: +27 11 363 3454

3. Call, fax and/or email the South African Government and demand that they openly speak out and take action against the increasing violence towards LGBT people in South Africa. The contacts of the officials to contact are below;
His Excellency Jacob Zuma
President of the Republic of South Africa
Tel: +27 12 300 5200
Fax: +27 12 323 8246
His Excellency Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe
Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa
Tel: +27 12 300 0501/+27 21 464 2128
Fax: +27 12 323 3114
Mr. Jeffrey Thamsanqa Radebe
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development
Tel: +27 12 357 8212/8217
Fax: +27 12 315 1749
Mr. Nathi Mthethwa
Minister of Police
Tel: +27 12 393 2810/2811
Fax: +27 12 939 2812
Gen. Bheki Cele
National Commissioner of Police
Tel: +27 12 393 2874
Fax: +27 12 393 1530

4. Hold demonstrations at South African Embassies in your countries demanding that they speak out against the increasing violence against LGBT people in South Africa. There will be national demonstrations held in South Africa before and on the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), come May 17, 2011 and we encourage that you hold a demonstration at the embassy around the same period.
For more information please contact:
1. Ntsupe
Chairperson, EPOC
Tel: +27 732 263 287
2. Bontle
Tel: +27 732 270 026

3. Victor Mukasa
Project Coordinator, Human Rights Defenders project
Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL)
Tel: +27 784 363 635


  1. Thanks for posting this Jennifer - Hope all your readers take action --- international pressure *does* make a difference! The SA Min of Justice will have to pay attention. (But, I grew up near Kwa Thema - where Noxolo & Eudy were attacked - and seems to me that changing attitudes, undoing the generations of misdirected post-apartheid anger, power-dynamics etc is going to take years...)

  2. Hi, it's been a while since this article was posted but I'm writting an article on the same subject and it came up during my research . I live in thokoza where Nokuthulu lived and was killed . Just wanted to make the point that corrective rape and murder are not a general practice in our township and these brutal murders were both shocking and disturbing . Openly lesbian community in thokoza is "growing" and although the hate fueled deaths of innocent people cannot be excused they have not been in vain , they have opened the eyes of many to the realities of homophobia and contributed to the active fight against all types of hate in all places.

  3. Thank you so much for commenting, and for giving readers a sense of the bigger picture. Please let me know when/where you publish your article. JD


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