NEWSPAPER: Noxolo Nogwaza Funeral on Facebook
There is very encouraging news from South Africa. The Ministry of Justice has launched an initiative to combat anti-LGBTI and gender-based violence, reports the South African Press Association.
The announcement comes three years after the SA government announced in May 2011 that it would establish a task force to address the escalating number of anti-LGBT attacks. South Africa is the only nation that enshrines LGBT rights in its constitution. Lesbians, gay men and transgender men and women are routinely targeted by violent attacks—and killed—despite those protections,
"Notwithstanding the comprehensive constitutional and legal framework and protection for LGBTI persons, we have sadly witnessed acts of discrimination and violent attacks being perpetrated against LGBTI persons," [Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said last week]. South Africa's justice system would deal harshly with those found guilty of such discriminatory behaviour, he said.
[The task force also developed] a working definition of hate crime, as South Africa did not yet have specifically designated legislation on it. The matter would be opened for public debate, but it remained to be decided who would conduct this debate.
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. South Africa is also the only African nation to guarantee marriage equality and gay adoption.
Despite these protections, the reality is quite harsh 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 and rape. A rape is committed every 17 seconds in South Africa, according to Interpol.
"In a country of 49 million people, around 50,000 rapes are reported each year," reports Al Jazeera. "Alongside the official figures is the alarming statistic that just one in nine women actually report a sexual offence to the police. Victims are often ridiculed by the police, cases are seldom properly investigated and nine out of every 10 men arrested go free."
An estimated "510 women report being the victims of “corrective” rape every year in South Africa and [at least] 31 lesbians have been murdered over the past 10 years because of their sexual orientation," according to South African human rights activist Ndumie Funda.
The SA government announced in May 2011 that it would establish a task force to address the escalating incidents of anti-LGBT attacks in its nation. That announcement came only weeks after the brutal death of Noxolo Nogwaza attracted international attention. The 19-year-old lesbian "was gang raped, stoned and stabbed to death using shards of broken glass." Noxolo’s murder remains unsolved and the violence and attacks have continued. Meanwhile: A gang of brutal robbers and serial killers have targeted gay men around Johannesburg and Cape Town over the past four and a half years. At least nine men have been killed.
You May Want to Read:
SAFRICA: 22 Year Sentence After "Corrective Rape"
SAFRICA: Police Arrest New Suspect in Serial Killings
SAFRICA: Trial Date in Murder of LGBT Activist
SAFRICA: Arrest in Brutal Murder and Mutilation
SAFRICA: No Arrests After Brutal Murder
SAFRICA: Gay Man Slain in Brutal Attack
ANC Refuses to Strip Gay Rights
SAFRICA: One Arrest in Gay Serial Killings
SAFRICA: More Fears of a Serial Killer, Another Gay Killed
SAFRICA: Police Deny Reports of Serial Killer
RSA: 5 Gay Men Killed, Serial Killer Suspected
SAfrica to Fight Hate Crimes and "Corrective Rape"
Mixed Verdict in Murder Trial of SA Lesbian Footballer
3 Men on Trial for Murder of Lesbian SA Footballer
Black Gay Men in SA Targeted for Rape, Abuse\
SAFRICA: Murdered Lesbian's Body Discovered in Trash Bin