Today's Big Stories

Suspected lesbian hate crime indicative of SA's social crisis, says activist

Violent crimes of hate towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people are reflective of the social crisis faced in South Africa, says activist and researcher Phumi Mtetwa.

This comes after the latest suspected hate crime, in which Noluvo Swelindawo (a lesbian woman) was assaulted, abducted and shot dead over the weekend in Driftsands near Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

Mtetwa says the LGBTI community and activists are tired of feeling outraged, and are faced with helplessness and fatigue.

While hate crimes continue unabated, she says that activists and allies need to think about alternative ways to go about advocacy work in un-organised spaces.

The problem cannot be addressed by LGBTI people and five LGBTI organisations. It's a societal problem.

Phumi Mtetwa, Research activist fellow with the Social Change Initiative

According to Mtetwa, there needs to be more effort put into preventing hate crimes, and not just punishing them.

She explains that hate crimes have to be understood in conjunction with other social issue, including exclusion, marginalisation, poverty, misogyny and patriarchy.

This has been happening for so many years, we've been to so may courts, government departments and police protests. It's just not stopping.

Phumi Mtetwa, Research activist fellow with the Social Change Initiative

One too many was my immediate reaction.

Phumi Mtetwa, Research activist fellow with the Social Change Initiative

Although LGBTI rights are enshrined in the Constitution, government and lobby groups failed to transform society to walk with the rights on paper, putting them in to practice.

Mtetwa recognises the relentless work done by the few LGBTI civil groups such as the Triangle Project, Free Gender, Iranti and Durban Gay and Lesbian Centre.

She maintains that it is not the responsibility of these groups alone to fight for LGBTI rights. She says it should be the responsibility of all who live in this country.

Listeners called in to share their ideas on how South Africans can do better to end prejudice and protect LGBTI lives.

We really need to conscientise people by speaking out and saying this is not okay.

Elizabeth, caller

The role of parenting is very important in order for us to eliminate prejudice in society.

Nonhlanhla, caller

Several listeners called in to share their experiences and opinions:


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