The Joint Working Group (JWG) has called on South Africans to remember LGBTI victims of hate crime violence ahead of the 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse campaign, which starts tomorrow.
“We remember [all] LGBTI people who have been assaulted, raped or murdered because of their sexual orientation, their gender identity or their activism,” said the group in a statement.
Ironically, the JWG statement was released on the same day as a report from the Human Sciences Research Council which found that over 80% of South Africans do not approve of homosexuality.
The group also demanded justice for a number of lesbians who have been murdered – allegedly because of their sexually orientation – including Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Masooa, in whose case no arrests have been made. The two women were killed in July 2007.
The statement highlighted the lack of progress in the case of Zoliswa Nkonyana’s murder whose alleged killers are yet to face trial more than two years after the crime took place.
The JWG also said that it hoped that the trial of Former Banyana Banyana soccer player Eudy Simelane, now set to start in February next year, would not face any further delays which have consistently marred the case.
“We further acknowledge the violence and suffering being faced by our LGBTI sisters and brothers throughout the African continent who suffer abuse and violence not only at the hands of criminals but often also from the institutions of their states. It is our hope that the messages of the 16 days campaign will be heard throughout our continent,” said the group.
The 16 Days of Activism campaign challenges South Africans to declare a truce on violence against women and children – and, ultimately, to make it a permanent one. It takes place annually between 25 November (International Day of No Violence Against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
The JWG is a network of the major LGBTI activist and support organisations across South Africa.