“As South Africa celebrates 17 Years of independence — Freedom day on Wednesday, 27th April, the LGBTI community of South Africa and beyond, especially black lesbians in Kwa-Thema mourns the death of the latest hate crime victim Noxolo Nogwaza. She was brutally killed on Sunday, 24th April in what her family describe as a horrific murder.
Nogwaza (24) was the mother of two, a 7 years old boy and 4 year old girl. What makes her murder even more ironic is that she was killed on the same weekend that former Banyana Banyana player Eudy Simelane,was murdered in the same community in 2008 under similar circumstances. LGBTI youth of Kwa-Thema say they do not see the freedom that everyone is celebrating, activist Khanyi Mtungwa said: “We are fighting for our rights as lesbians, the way Noxolo was killed is not right they must stop killing us”. The Ekurhuleni Pride Organising Committee (EPOC) held a meeting on Freedomday, to discuss amongst other things how to fight homophobia as well as hate crime in townships especially in KwaThema where curative rapes and murders of lesbian have become a norm. Four lesbians have been murdered since 2008 in KwaThema township only. This murder happened less than a month after Nokuthula Radebe’s body was found murdered in Thokoza township in March.
The main point or on top of EPOC’s agenda was Nogwaza’s killing. EPOC’s public relation’s officer Bontle Khalo said: “ as an organisation that fights for the rights of homosexuals, we are not going to take this lying down. We will ensure that justice prevails. A murder case has been opened and the police are investigating, marches will take place before and after the funeral. We are appealing to the community to assist in sending messages to the killers”. Noxolo’s body was found by construction workers in a ditch on Sunday 24 April. It is alleged that her pants were pulled down with several used condoms around her, a beer bottle was inserted into her vagina and a concrete block/ bricks were used to smash her head and left face deformed. In relating the story Nogwaza’s uncle explained how, he picked up several parts of her face which were splattered around the gruesome scene. Speaking for the police Captain Petros Mabuza said: “Our people don’t have humanity anymore, how can someone kill another human being like that? You wouldn’t even kill an animal in that way. Perpetrators must be brought to book, no one should take someone’s life just because they dont like the way that person lives.
The funeral took place on Saturday, 30th April 2011 where hundreds of people — LGBTI members and organisations such as Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), FreeGender, POWA, 1 in 9, Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL), Treatment Action Campaign(TAC) and many respected individuals and concerned citizens across South Africa came to pay their respects and show their support to the Nogwaza family. Speaking during the service Noxolo’s aunt Nyaniso Nogwaza thanked the LGBTI community for their support “I am strong because of you guys, I wonder what message the killers were trying to send by this senseless killing. If we had all accepted her choice to be lesbian, who are they to find anything wrong with that”. The crowd chanted struggle songs and vented their anger towards the killers and the community for being silent on the matter.”