Duduzile Zozo is dead

2013-07-07 10:00

Duduzile Zozo wanted a better life for her mother, Thuziwe.

The 26-year-old wanted to build, rent or buy a better home for her mother than the one-room back-yard shack they shared with eight relatives in Thokoza on Gauteng’s East Rand.

Duduzile Zozo is dead. In the early hours of last Sunday morning, she was attacked, raped and brutalised.

Her family, friends and neighbours believe she was targeted because she was a lesbian and made no attempt to hide this. Why should she?

There are no reliable statistics for the number of lesbians murdered in South Africa each year.

But a working group on hate crimes says the list is “extensive”.

The government says it takes hate crimes seriously.

The department of justice says legislation to tackle these kinds of crimes is “in the process of being developed”, but offers no detail.

It says it is working to make judges, magistrates and court officials more aware of how to prosecute crimes involving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered intersex and queer people.

This is a good start, but it’s not enough.

At home, at work and in her neighbourhood, Duduzile was accepted and welcomed.

She was luckier than most black lesbians and her experience reminds us that many South Africans uphold the constitutional call to respect all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.

More of us must speak up and speak out.

We can’t have any more Duduzile Zozos lose their lives to rage and hatred.

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