06/11/2011, by Melanie Nathan,
Crossroads Informal Settlement, Cape Town; Nxolo Nkosana (23) is spending an angry yet terrifying night in her home as she deals with wounds, pain and trauma of a vicious attack on her life. She was walking home on the evening of May 10th with her partner and a few friends when she was suddenly and brutally attacked.
The event was “out of the blue” as described by Nxolo Nkosana.Two men, (one from her own neighborhood), advanced on Nxolo yelling: “You fucking lesbian, you fucking tomboy”.
The man Nxolo recognized, stabbed her twice with a knife in the back. After Nxolo fell to the ground, he stabbed her two more times. “It was very quick and then I lost control.” Nxolo said. After Nxolo fell her girlfriend Sindiswa Mannivel and friends aided her as they ran yelling into the nearest yard, beating on a door, pleading for help. The second attacker, a stranger to her, ran after them with the knife but took off when they were taken into their neighbour’s house. From there the group of women arranged transport to hospital for Nxolo.
Nxolo was stabbed 3 times going down on the left of her back and once on her right shoulder above the shoulder bone. Nxolo is still baffled as to why she in particular was attacked saying; “I know the one guy, but I don’t even talk to him. So, I don’t have a sense (as to why they attacked me).” The hospital staff asked Nxolo if she wanted to open a case against the attackers, Nxolo confirmed but became too weak to continue and spent the night in the hospital. The next day it was Nxolo’s 65 year-old mother who insisted that a case should be made against the attackers, after seeing her daughter’s blouse ripped and soaked in blood.
Nxolo’s Aunt then called Ndumie Funda of Luleki Sizwe, the only grass-roots support group for lesbian victims of hate crimes in the Western Cape to assist. Ndumie responded immediately taking a frail Nxolo to Gugulethu Police station but was asked to first get a J88 form from the day clinic where Nxolo was treated.
The still weak Nxolo was then taken back to the day clinic to only hear that the doctors were off duty and would only be able to issue form on Monday 13 at 8PM.
It was then that Ndumie Funda called on her volunteers Henry Bantjez and Eugene “Huge” Brockman (also designers of the Gay flag of South Africa) for assistance. (see Picture above)
The Department of Justice appointed Luleki Sizwe, to be the coordinator for the selection process for the groundbreaking task team on homophobic hate crimes. As a result Luleki Sizwe has escalated Nxolo Nkosana’s case number to the department of Justice to fast track prosecution in the face of an epidemic of corrective rape and hate crimes e.g. the recent murder of (Nxolo’s namesake) Nxolo Nogwaza of Johannesburg and Nqobile Khumalo of KZN.
Nxolo was defiant and determined at the time of this interview stating: “I want to lay charges against these guys. We should not to be ashamed. We shouldn’t be afraid of the public. It is my right to take steps, now. If we don’t takes steps they will continue, like this.”
The fact that attackers of Nxolo Nkosana has not been arrested as yet, that the investigating officer is yet to be assigned and that these men are still roaming her neighbourhood freely over the weekend makes her stand even more courageous. For the moment, Nxolo is surrounded by her family and her beloved Sindiswa, cheering her up, getting her to smile.
In March 2011, I met together with Ndumie and Henry with Mr. Tlali Tlali of the Department of Justice who, together with senior staff assured us that police action would be swift. I am hoping that this is not another debacle of low bail and snail peace justice. We are calling out to the Police Authority and Department of Justice to ensure that the perpetrators are caught and arrested forthwith and that the Nxolo receives the care and protection necessary to ensure her rights as a victim of a horrendous cowardly crime.
Luleki Sizwe is calling for a press conference at Monday, 13th June @ 1PM at the Villa de Leeuw, 37 Leeuwen Road, BoKaap, Cape Town.
The purpose will be three fold: – for media to interview and get direct input from Nxolo Nkosana herself on her attack. – for Luleki Sizwe to announce it’s official appointment as organizers of the homophobic hate crimes task team. – to update the media on what will be happening Wednesday 15th June in parliament in regards to the forming of the task team on homophobic hate crimes.
Stabbed in the back is the work of a coward – when hate is so deep a coward is born to stab in the back! While justice is sought , a proud lesbian hero is born.
Indeed a victim becomes a survivor and a survivor becomes activist. It is clear that Noxolo’s transition has been swift.