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Activists Say Brutal Murder of South African Lesbian a Hate Crime

Activists Say Brutal Murder of South African Lesbian a Hate Crime

Murdered South African Noxolo Nogwaza, 24, was the victim of a brutal hate crime say LGBT and human rights advocates, despite South African police refusing to treat it as such.

Ms. Nogwaza was attacked by a group of men not long after leaving her girlfriend in a township near Johannesburg on April 23.

Human Rights Watch says this attack has all the marks of “corrective rape,” that is to say where a woman is sexually violated in order to try and “cure” her or punish her for being a lesbian. It is also similar to other murders against lesbian victims that have been carried out in the same area over the past five years.

More from UK Gay News:

Noxolo Nogwaza was found murdered on April 24 in a vicious attack that seems to have been motivated by her sexual orientation.  Nogwaza’s face and head were completely disfigured by stoning, she was stabbed several times with broken glass, and the evidence suggests that she was raped.  A beer bottle, a large rock, and used condoms were found on and near her body.

“Nogwaza’s death is the latest in a long series of sadistic crimes against lesbians, gay men, and transgender people in South Africa,” said Dipika Nath, researcher in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender tights (LGBT) program at Human Rights Watch.

“The vicious nature of the assault is a potent reminder that these attacks are premeditated, planned, and often committed with impunity.”

Human Rights Watch said that the government should immediately issue a public statement condemning the attack and the police should step up investigations to apprehend Nogwaza’s killers.

On the night of April 23, Nogwaza went to a bar in Tsakane, a township neighbouring Kwa-Thema, with a female friend.  Some men in the bar propositioned her friend, which led to a verbal altercation between Nogwaza and the men.

Her friend left the bar and Nogwaza herself was last seen by an acquaintance soon after the fight.  Her body was discovered in an alley not far from the bar at approximately 9:00 a.m. the following morning.

No witnesses to the attack have come forward.  Some of the people who live along the alley where her body was found told the police that they heard screams late at night, but no one went out to investigate or called the police.  A case has been registered at Tsakane Police Station but the police have yet to make any arrests.

The Advocate reports that neighbors did, however, hear attackers shouting “We will take the lesbian out of you.” The Advocate also notes that “lesbian soccer player Eudy Simelane was raped and murdered in a similar manner three years ago in the same township.” 

Nogwaza was a member of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee and had been involved with organizing Pride events in the area since 2009. Several members of the committee have faced verbal abuse and some have suffered physical attacks.

Human rights groups say this killing is evidence of a larger problem in South Africa. While South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution explicitly protects gay people from discrimination and violence, human rights advocates warn of an “epidemic” of violence against gay and gender nonconforming people in South Africa that is not being tackled properly by South African leaders or the judicial branch.

Read more at UK Gay News.

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to -Marlith-.

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97 comments

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5:13AM PST on Dec 10, 2011

Bravo, Marlena! Would it not be a wonderful world if the bigots were raped and murdered because of their beliefs and lifestyle choices?

10:00PM PDT on Aug 4, 2011

Judy- It doesn't sound like she was "pushing her likes on others;" she was at a bar with her girlfriend; the men were the ones who approached them, so the men were the ones "pushing their likes on others." And when they didn't get the response they wanted, they took it on themselves to rape and murder a woman. How is this possibly the woman's fault? One of my sons is gay and he has every right to be at a bar with his husband without them fearing for their lives because some bigot doesn't like gay people. They shouldn't have to hide; the bigots should hide.

8:07PM PDT on Aug 4, 2011

Judy- It doesn't sound like she was "pushing her likes on others;" she was at a bar with her girlfriend; the men were the ones who approached them, so the men were the ones "pushing their likes on others." And when they didn't get the response they wanted, they took it on themselves to rape and murder a woman. How is this possibly the woman's fault? One of my sons is gay and he has every right to be at a bar with his husband without them fearing for their lives because some bigot doesn't like gay people. They shouldn't have to hide; the bigots should hide.

9:27PM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

judy h. says, "People are afraid of people who are different and show off their differentness."

That should read Ignorant people....
Anyone with any sense should be able to see that they are not in any major way different, only a different variety. All humans are, humans.

5:37PM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

I'm sorry, Judy, but why exactly should people be forced into the closet? Are they somehow less worthy of a full happy life?

It is inexcusable what happened and to suggest that she was in any way responsible for what happened
by living her life is an outrage. The planet is evil enough without forgiving or rationalizing gang rape and murder
as an expected punishment for being so insensitive as to be different.

9:01AM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

If they still stayed in the closet and didn't push their likes on others then maybe they wouldn't of been attacked. People are afraid of people who are different and show off their differentness. So they attack instead of just ignoring these outsiders.We aren't all just black and white and male and female. Some are both.

4:54AM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

They are horrible! There is something REALLY wrong with their coulture and them being against Gay & Lesbian people for no reason other than their different!

2:47AM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

People are so threatened by someone living differently.

11:59AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

We boycotted SA during the times of apartheid. It's time to do it again. Until this country lives up to their own constitution, let's not buy ANY products originating in the Republic of South Africa! And also, having a rapist as a president and a former president ordinating witchcraft to cure aids, what can you expect.....

2:47PM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

I thought she was still alive

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