Signals rise of rampant violence against lesbians in South African Townships
Melanie Nathan, June 25, 2012.
The murder occurred at her family home in Mau Mau, Nyanga, a township near Cape town. Phumeza was shot dead inside her home. This is the same township where Nontsikelelo Tyatyeka was found dead in a dustbin last year.
Funeka Soldaat, an LGBTI rights activist from the group Freegender reports: “Last night I received a call from comrades in Nyanga. A very young lesbian was shot dead inside the house in front of the family.” Soldaat went to visit the family today, noting that the distraught mother was too shocked to receive visitors
“I’m coming from Nyanga after seeing the family of the deceased. The name of the victim was Phumeza who was only 22yrs old. The killer was kicking the door and when the victim opened it the killer shot her. Phumeza pleaded “why?” and the he shot her again at close range in the forehead, killing her.”
Enraged by the continuing escalation of crimes against the LGBTI community, and especially lesbians, Township activists are calling on the community to unite, be on their guard and to help the family of the deceased cope with this senseless and cruel crime.
Community meetings are planned to demand swift justice and government progress to control rampant homophobia.
We will report more with updates as we receive more information.
Solly Nkolonzi the brother of the victim is pleading for someone to come forward with information. “We don’t know why Phumeza was killed. She was not a naughty child. She was a lesbian, but she never did any wrong things.” Solly said his sister had returned home shortly after 8pm on Saturday. Her mother and six-year-old niece were watching television.
“My mother told us when the man shot her, Phumeza asked him what she had done, but he shot her again and then a third time. For someone to shoot someone in front of their own mother and six-year-old niece is ruthless. They are both shaken by the incident,” said Solly.
He said the gunman took his sister’s cellphone and left.
Free Gender chairwoman Funeka Soldaat said members of the group had known Phumeza casually after meeting her at the funeral of Nontsikelelo Tyatyeka, the lesbian whose body was found hidden in a wheelie bin at her neighbour’s home in Mau Mau last year.
Soldaat “We are concerned that it is becoming a norm for lesbians to be attacked in that area,” she said. “It is the same neighbourhood where Nontsikelelo was murdered because she was a lesbian. “It seems like some people in that community don’t want to tolerate lesbians. “It is scary to see young people being killed brutally because others are simply not comfortable with their sexual orientation.
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