The gay and lesbian community will on Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July demand an end to the epidemic of murders of LGBTI people.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation has called on all South Africans to perform a good deed for at least 67 minutes (a minute for every year of Mandela’s public service) on the icon’s birthday on Wednesday.
LGBTI groups – including FEW, EPOC, Eastern Cape LGBTI, Push and Uthingo, among others – have taken the opportunity to use the day to highlight the ongoing attacks against LGBTI people in the country.
The groups are organising a 67 minute protest against hate crimes at the Library Gardens (Market and Simmonds street) from 11 a.m. on 18 July in downtown Johannesburg.
They are also calling for a 67 minute candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, across South Africa and the world, in memory of LGBTI people killed in hate crime attacks.
“On a weekly basis lesbian, gay and transgender persons are being buried. The burden of violence and homophobia is not being addressed in South Africa and how constitutional provisions, such as our right to safety, are not being enforced has become a huge concern,” said the organisations.
They noted that Patekile Holomisa, who actively campaign for an end to sexual orientation protection in the Constitution, continues to perform his duties as an ANC MP. “This is completely unacceptable while he has uttered statements that are supposedly contrary to what the ANC claims to be standing for,” said the organisations.
“The ANC emerged from its policy conference silent on LGBTI issues, and their gender policy excludes sexual orientation. Is this deliberate? Whilst the ambassador of South Africa to the UN condemns discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons, we feel there is a vast contradiction at a domestic level…”
The groups also slammed President Jacob Zuma and National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega who have “been silent on these matters”.
“Nelson Mandela was a leader and believed that LGBTI people should enjoy their full human rights in South Africa. Unlike the current President who was not only homophobic a few years back but also has been silent on these attacks. What a shame. And hence we will remember this 67 minutes of shame of the current government’s silence.”
In Cape Town, the Gay Flag of South Africa will hold 67 minutes of protest calling “for the ANC to speak up for the rights and lives of LGBTI South Africans, as well as [as] a remembrance for the lives lost in the last month”.
The protest will depart from St. George’s Cathedral, on Wale Street, in Cape Town to the ANC offices at the Sahara Building in Thibault Square.
There are reports that eight LGBTI people have been murdered because of their sexual orientation or gender appearance in the last month.
Mambaonline has confirmed the murders of Thapelo Makhutle, the 24-year-old gay/trans individual who was mutilated and murdered in the Northern Cape; Neil Daniels, who was stabbed and set alight in Cape Town; 22-year-old Phumeza Nkolonzi from Nyanga, Cape Town, who was shot three times by a man who burst into her home; the killing of 28-year-old Sanna Supa in Braamficherville, Soweto; and the stabbing to death of 29-year-old Hendrietta Thapelo Morifi (Andritha) in Mokopane, Limpopo.
For more information on the Johannesburg protest, contact Dikeledi Sibanda of FEW on 011 403 1907 or 076 512 3874.
For more information on the Cape Town protest, contact Eugene Brockman of Gay Flag of South Africa on 072 468 1171.