News / Africa

South Africa Establishes Team to Respond to Homophobic Crimes

Delia Robertson

The South African government has established a task team in partnership with non-governmental organizations to combat homophobia and homophobic crimes. The move comes after the latest brutal murder of a lesbian activist.

Last month Noxolo Nogwana, a lesbian activist was stoned, gang-raped and stabbed with broken glass, the latest in a series of lesbian murders in recent years. Her death, in Kwa-Thema township east of Johannesburg, sparked local and international outrage, which may have been the catalyst behind the decision this week to establish a task team to combat homophobia in South Africa.

The task team, set to hold its first meeting in July, will include six representatives of the judiciary, the police and the social development department, and six representatives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex [LGBTI] community.

The decision also follows a campaign on change.org which generated 170,000 petitions to the government calling for action against homophobic crimes that include including murder and so-called corrective rape, in which lesbians are raped as a punishment or attempt to change their sexual orientation.

The campaign was launched by Ndumie Fundi, the founder of Lulekisizwe, an organization that assists women targeted because they are lesbian. Fundi tells VOA that she is pleased the government is finally paying attention to the matter.

"Hence we are saying it took us a long time to be listened [to], and we are also not complaining, but we are saying, because we are persistent, and we persevere and having some patience, hence we are here today and saying that yes we are actually happy the fact that they agreed to sit with us on the table and address these issues," said Fundi.

But some people have questioned the timing of the announcement. South Africa will hold local government elections later this month and the dominant African National Congress has been the subject of months of criticism and protests for its failure to deliver basic services like clean water, and to respond to the concerns of communities.

Fundi said she would not go so far as to say this week’s announcement is an election ploy, but she warns that if the government fails to introduce concrete measures to combat homophobic crimes by the end of the year, she and fellow activists will not remain quiet.

"If then they are not doing that, we are going to be retaliating, and the retaliation will be determined by what our people, what the people actually want to happen," she said. "I cannot say anything at the present moment, but I am definitely sure it will be a retaliation. We have been controlling ourselves for a long time."

Fundi also noted that the government will have to work hard to change attitudes among traditional and religious leaders, some of whom are among the most vocal against gay and lesbian people.

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid