Lesbians still face constant attack ekasi

2011-06-25 16:26

Noxolo Nkosana hugs a friend before they go their separate ways at an intersection in the muddy Nyanga Boystown informal settlement.

She whispers that they must move quickly to a safer area.

“You must not let them see that you are not from this area. They like taking chances,” she says, referring to a group of men walking down an alley.

“Anything can happen at any time. Even now.

“It is sad that I don’t feel safe in my own area.”

The 23-year-old is a recent victim of the increasing number of attacks against lesbians in South African townships.

Earlier this month, she was stabbed in the back three times and once in her neck as she was walking home from work at about 8pm.

Nkosana says while walking along the street, two men yelled at her: “You f***ing lesbian! You f***ing tomboy.”
One of the men allegedly stabbed her a few metres from her home.

A second attacker chased her friends with a knife.

“It was not the first time I have seen the guy who attacked me. He lives in the same area as me. I fail to understand why he attacked me.

“I never fought with him or argued before and I suspect he and his gang planned to attack me,” Nkosana says.

Boystown, where she has lived most of her life, is one of many areas in Cape Town where lesbians have to stay indoors or walk in groups because of the tension between heterosexual men and lesbians.

Ndumie Funda, director of Luleki Sizwe, an organisation that fights for the rights of lesbians in the townships, helped Nkosana open a case with the Nyanga police.

She praised the government’s undertaking to form a task team to investigate issues involving hate crime and “corrective” rape.

Part of the task team’s mission is to develop interventions, which include amending the Sexual Offences Act.

“It tears my heart apart that I am getting calls of such incidents where lesbians are being attacked,” says Funda.

Some of the phrases uttered during attacks on lesbians include “I am teaching you a lesson” and “I am
correcting you”.

Says Luleki Sizwe executive member Eugene Brockman: “There is no legislation pertaining to corrective rape, but there is legislation pertaining to hate crimes and hate speech.

“In the meantime, we are looking at harsher sentencing in cases of corrective rape based on hate crime.”

While Nkosana’s family accepts her sexuality, it’s on the township streets that same-sex relationships are still seen by many as an “abomination”.

She says she is the victim of constant insults from local men.

A snap survey among 10 men in Nyanga reveals that much still needs to be done to fight intolerance.

Some men say lesbians are stealing the attention of their girlfriends or potential girlfriends.

“These lesbians invade spaces and they take up all the attention when they are around. They are pathetic and I hate their presence,” says one 20-year-old.

But for Nkosana and her friends, all hope is not lost.

“In this street about half of them are lesbians and we socialise together freely,” says Ndumiso Vani.

“Lesbians are human beings just like you and me.”

» The SA Human Rights Commission this week welcomed the “proactive” role played by government in the passing of a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council to protect the rights of gay people.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.