There are positive developments after last week's brutal killing of a lesbian in South Africa. Four men have reportedly been arrested in connection with the death of 25-year-old Mandisa Mbambo, who was found naked, bound, beaten and stabbed in her home north of Durban. It is believed she was also raped.
Mbambo's funeral was held on Sunday. A friend of the family says that he saw a man beating the victim outside her home on the day before she was killed, reports The Independent.
Ephraim Mbambo told the grieving crowd that he had been at home last week when he heard a neighbour scream, "nayi ingane ibulawa (someone is killing the child)." The neighbour even screamed out the name of the person who was beating Mbambo.
"I went outside with my wife and saw the person beating Mandisa," he said. "I then went to him and asked him why he was beating her, and told him that if she was in debt to him, I would pay."
He stopped beating her and then we all went home. Mbambo said the next day he received the a call telling him that the she had been murdered. "When I got there, I could see that it was more then one person who had done this to her. Mandisa was a child who tried hard in life and worked several jobs to make some money."
Meanwhile: The ruling African National Congress has strongly condemned claims that traditional culture justified anti-LGBT discrimination and violence. "Gay rights are human rights and no homophobic violence or prejudice should be tolerated," said Western Cape ANC secretary Songezo Mjongile, quoted by The Citizen.
Same-sex acts are currently illegal in at least 38 of 54 African countries. Four nations—Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan—boast the death penalty for gays or same-sex activity. South Africa and Seychelles are the only African nations that protect LGBT rights. SA is also the only African nation to guarantee marriage equality and gay adoption.
Despite these protections, the reality is much different for many Black LGBT South Africans. Life in the impoverished townships is far less tolerant. Lesbians, gay men and transgender men and women are often targeted by violent attacks.
Brutal so-called "corrective rape" and murder are increasing against lesbians in the townships, as well as rape and attacks against gay men and transgender women. South Africa has the world's highest rates of crime rates and rape. A rape is committed every 17 seconds in the RSA, according to Interpol
Also: An apparent serial killer has been targeting gay men around Johannesburg. At least eight gay men have been killed during the two year killing spree in Gauteng Province. An arrest was made in March but the investigation has stalled.
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