News24

Murdered lesbian's stepdad: She was born that way

2012-02-01 22:40

Cape Town - As overjoyed activists sang and danced, Zoliswa Nkonyana’s stepfather quietly addressed a pack of journalists, thrusting their cameras, cellphones and voice recorders into his face, eagerly awaiting his emotional quotes.

“I think for anyone who listens and understands, this should be a lesson,” Gcinumzi Mandindi said, with eyes downcast, of the sentence given to his stepdaughter’s murderers.

“She didn’t like women’s clothes. She was the way she was.

“That’s how she grew up. She was born that way,” Mandindi said of his 19-year-old lesbian stepdaughter.

Zoliswa’s killers were sentenced to 18 years behind bars. Four years of their sentences were suspended for five years.

After six long years of postponements and charges being dropped against some of the other suspects, Mandindi said: “We feel better, we’ll be free and maybe we’ll be able to forget.”

Twenty men were originally thought to have beaten Zoliswa to death near her home in Khayelitsha.

Hate crimes


The case has become symbolic of the hate crimes suffered by many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, mostly in townships, around the country.

The Triangle Project’s Jayne Arnott told News24 that four more hate crime cases are still set to come before Western Cape courts alone.

Many of these crimes were so-called “corrective rape” in which a lesbian is raped by usually by a gang of men to “cure” her of her sexuality.

The case also brought to light how the police and judiciary had failed LGBTI people in their fight against hate crimes.

The case against Zoliswa’s killers was one of the longest-running in the country’s history and was postponed about 50 times.

But Arnott said that the case was a “huge step forward [for the judiciary] in terms of recognition of levels of violence against LGBTI people and noting it as an aggravating factor in sentencing”.

“It will set a precedent,” Arnott said.

A message for Africa

Sapa reported that People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty said the sentence sent a loud message against homophobia across Africa.

"The court in Khayelitsha has sent a strong message by finding that the men who killed Ms Nkonyana did so because she was living openly as a lesbian and that this warranted the harshest penalty," it said.

"We hope that this message is heard loud and clear across the rest of the continent, where homophobic discrimination is widespread and where homosexuality is a crime."

The group said it was also working to advocate for the rights of gay and lesbian refugees who had been forced to flee their home countries and were seeking refuge in South Africa.

"Although in many parts of South African society homophobia is still prevalent, today we are proud that South Africa’s legal system has upheld our Constitution and has set an example to the rest of Africa to follow."

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the sentence sent a message that hate crimes would not be tolerated.

But for Zoliswa’s family, it comes down to the simple and tragic reality that they’ve lost a loved one.

“I’m still crying. I will never see her again. You understand that? I will never see Zoliswa again. But everything is alright now. I’m happy, happy, happy [with the sentence],” said Arthur Nkonyana, Zoliswa’s uncle. 


- Follow Lauren on Twitter
 

Comments
  • Rupesh - 2012-02-01 23:34

    I hope those who did this crime get raped repeatedly in jail. Ok, i am talking out of anger, but I am glad they are in jail. Wish it was for longer.

      Elle-Black - 2012-02-02 07:25

      I also feel they should have gotten a longer sentence

      larisha.toffar - 2012-02-02 08:14

      I agree about the sentence she was murdered they should get life, it was planned and brutal, what a shame and disgrace for our country once again true murderers just getting a slap on the hand. and when they get out which could be 8/10 years they will just do it again..

      Phillip - 2012-02-02 11:18

      Godfrey Why bring religion into this. Maybe you should follow your own advice!

  • Gemma-Leigh Evans - 2012-02-02 04:35

    Just thinking out loud here, but what I find completely incomprehensible is that there are fools out there who think rape will "correct" a persons sexual preference. I'm 100% straight, but if a man forces himself on a woman...what he's actually doing is reaffirming the concept that men are evil S.O.B's. They make that woman fear men and hate men...to the extent that that woman will probably never trust men again...in any capacity and that's a very sad outcome. If anything they'll have more luck in making straight women contemplate homosexuality. There is a serious lack of education in this country...common sense is virtually non-existant and people need to let go of this delusion that they can control the lives of others!! Live your own life and if you don't like people of a different sexuality or race or gender, then please, they won't force themselves on you...go live in your little hole and stay there where you won't be a nuisance to the rest of us who are accepting of each individuals differences!!!

      Charlie - 2012-02-02 07:21

      Calling it "corrective rape" is like calling Hitler an "ethnic cleanser..."

      Nkulekweni - 2012-02-02 08:15

      There are sick people on this forum. Why would anyone give Gemma-Leigh Evans' comment a thumbs down. Whoever you people are ...do you think that what these people did is okay? Is rape okay? Is murder okay? If you positively value what these people did then you should be locked up. In a jail or a mental assylum because you are also potential rapists and murderers.

      Charlie - 2012-02-02 10:18

      larisha, by calling it "corrective" implies that they are fixing something that is wrong...

  • Gemma-Leigh Evans - 2012-02-02 04:35

    Just thinking out loud here, but what I find completely incomprehensible is that there are fools out there who think rape will "correct" a persons sexual preference. I'm 100% straight, but if a man forces himself on a woman...what he's actually doing is reaffirming the concept that men are evil S.O.B's. They make that woman fear men and hate men...to the extent that that woman will probably never trust men again...in any capacity and that's a very sad outcome. If anything they'll have more luck in making straight women contemplate homosexuality. There is a serious lack of education in this country...common sense is virtually non-existant and people need to let go of this delusion that they can control the lives of others!! Live your own life and if you don't like people of a different sexuality or race or gender, then please, they won't force themselves on you...go live in your little hole and stay there where you won't be a nuisance to the rest of us who are accepting of each individuals differences!!!

  • Homemissionary - 2012-02-02 05:00

    I'm a VERY conservative Christian.And you will find that true Christians do not 'peddle hatred' for anyone because they acknowledge that they too have sinned.Just because the Bible says intercourse with someone of the same sex is abomination doesn't mean we preach that people should be killed for it.In just the same way we don't preach that people should be killed for lying-which is also an abomination as found in the book of Proverbs.To blame 'Christians' for criminality is akin to blaming 'muslims' for 9/11.Killing is just as wrong as any other sin.Period.

      Andrew Bannister - 2012-02-02 06:22

      It's Liviticus where homosexuality is called an abondimation. He also says touching pig skin and mixing different threads are also an abondimation. Go figure.

      Johan - 2012-02-02 08:10

      They are all the same, christians, muslims, and all the rest. I blame 'religion' for this. Period.

      larisha.toffar - 2012-02-02 08:27

      Thank you so much for your comment, thank you for mentioning the Muslims.

  • The-Azanian - 2012-02-02 06:03

    This country is a joke. democracy is good but justice got weak. people who kill willingly just like in northwest 77-old, former ex-blue bulls and others should recieve a full sentence

  • Trevor Mwase - 2012-02-02 06:35

    xenophobic violence victims were barbarically executed on national tv while the whole world watched .did they have to be gay also to get justice ?or in this society ,we have certain people that get more advocacy and attention than the others?

      Elle-Black - 2012-02-02 07:35

      @ Trevor what happenedto the victim of xenophobia was repulsive and unacceptable but what is also unacceptable is the level of crime that some foreigners brinmg into this country.

  • Tim - 2012-02-02 06:40

    If I hear another "Seowth Effrikin" tell me how wonderful the constitution is I'll spit. It didn't protect Zoliwe. did it? Just off to stone to death my neighbours wife for adultery as advised by the Bible in Leviticus.

      Donny Doncaster - 2012-02-02 06:51

      OT

      MSGRule - 2012-02-02 07:34

      @tim - "let the without sin cast the first stone" Sad story but if she was "normal" then it would have not been written here as that happens another 999 times per month in the lovely RSA. Why does everything pertaining to gay people always have to be so flamboyant and over the top. marches and parades and flags etc etc. Anyway those guys are goign to get corrected in prison by the fellow "non" gay inmates

      Johan - 2012-02-02 08:38

      Tim, how do you know your neighbor's wife is an adulteress? The humorous holy book says that if you are the one that is responsible for her adultery, then you may not throw the first stone. Or something like that...

      Jacqueline - 2012-02-02 08:57

      @MSGRule: Flamboyant and over the top? Really? I've never seen a gay lawyer in court dressed in neon pink stiletto's, feather boa and mini skirt, have you? I've never seen a gay doctor in surgery with his glitter make-up, knee high boots and fish-net stockings, have you? Have you seen the ANC marches with their flags? Or that of the AWB? Have you seen the Jool parades at varsity each year? Isn't that flamboyant too? Get your head out of your ass!

      MSGRule - 2012-02-02 10:15

      @Janine - I didnt say she was nto normal..I put it in quotes to make a poitn of the re-action above. Pelase read it all in context. I really don't care what you do, but gayness must always be exentuated.

  • christian.helberg - 2012-02-02 07:19

    very pleased this case has finally come to an end, my thoughts are with her friends and family, may they find closure. I think that cases like these should face a longer sentences though.

  • Charlie - 2012-02-02 07:20

    This is a sad, sad story. May these bastards rot in jail.

      Anthony - 2012-02-02 08:04

      No doubt, we have come a long way, in our country, to accept each other, nothwithstanding our sexual orientation. Now for the big one ; accept each other racially !!!!!

      Charlie - 2012-02-02 11:57

      Anthony, both are huge challenges. If you think the is acceptance based on sexuality, go to any gay related article in the afrikaans Nuus24 site, and you'll see that we're FAR off with that one. I wish people could just learn to respect each other...

  • 2zbunu - 2012-02-02 08:05

    gud shot!! This decision 2 sentence them will uphold the values enshrined in our Constitution. May they die in jail.

  • Tim - 2012-02-02 08:44

    Someone's dad listens to Lady Gaga

      planetdonovan - 2012-02-02 09:16

      or maybe lady gaga listens to everyone.

  • Christina - 2012-02-02 11:09

    i feel the panishment is too little for the way she was killed,these boys have to hearts they are not fully human beings, they should have got a longer sentence maybe 70 years and when they come back they will be old and tired and die a lonely painful death

  • pages:
  • 1