Death: Family despairs

2016-06-30 06:00
 Phumeza Nkolozi’s grandmother LIzzy Venfolo presented with the mural of Nkolonzi by Free Gender’s Funeka Soldaat.  PHOTO: Mandla

Phumeza Nkolozi’s grandmother LIzzy Venfolo presented with the mural of Nkolonzi by Free Gender’s Funeka Soldaat. PHOTO: Mandla

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Four years after Phumeza Nkolozi was shot and killed at her Nyanga home, her family has all but lost hope in the justice system.

According to the family, even the police have submitted defeat in the investigation of the matter.

Nkolonzi’s grandmother Lizzy Venfolo said that she had been contacted by the police and told that they couldn’t find the culprit.

“Since the incident there have been two detectives working on the case and there still were no positive results. It hurts but we have learnt to live with the facts that now we are going to rely on hearsay as to what was the reason for her death,” said Venfolo.

Nkolozi, who was openly lesbian, was bruttaly killed in her Mau Mau home in front of her mother and 6 year old niece.

According to Venfolo, a balaclava-clad man burst into the house, shot Phumeza three times before fleeing into the darkness of the night.

Venfolo said that even though people were talking in the township as to what was the cause, no one was brave enough to tell the family.

On Thursday last week the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights group Free Gender paid a visit to the family home to commemorate the death of Nkolozi.

The group accompanied by men’s group Sonke Gender Justice helped the family with small renovations to the house.

They also presented a mural of the late Nkolonzi with the hope it will be hanged on the wall to cover the bullet hole mark.

Free Gender’s Funeka Soldaat said that they were quite disappointed that no arrests had been made in the case.

“We tried to engage the local police but we did not get a response. It seems that such cases do not get the desired results in this area. In February there was a lesbian rape case in Philippi, yet there are still no arrests,” she said.

She said that their relationship with the Nkolonzi’s family has grown to the extent that Venfolo and other grandmothers from the area started a group to teach community members about homosexuality: understanding and accepting of lesbians and gays in the community.

Sonke’s Isaac Mangwana said that it was important that since men are known as the perpetrators of hate crimes against gays and lesbians in most cases, they must take an active role in addressing the animosity towards homosexuality.

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