Sihle Skotshi

It’s been reported by the blog No Limits that a 19-year-old lesbian woman was murdered last week in the township of Phillipi in Cape Town.

According to Ndumie Funda, founder of the “corrective rape” community support group Luleki Sizwe, Sihle Skotshi was killed on Friday 9 November.

That night, at about 11 p.m., Skotshi, a soccer player for Luleki Sizwe, and two friends were drinking at a tavern when they decided to go to a nearby friend’s house to collect more money.

On their way back to the tavern, they were confronted by five or more men who verbally abused them and told them “Ayo ndawo yenu le, yindawo yamaVura” (“this is not your place, it is [the feared gang] amavura’s place”).

The confrontation became violent and Skotshi was stabbed in the chest while one of her friends was stabbed in the arm. The third friend escaped the attack and found help to take the women to the hospital.

Skotshi  later died in hospital. Her last words, reported by her friend, were “Please apologise for me to my mother, and I love you all”.

While it is unclear to what extent the attack was motivated by the women’s sexual or gender identity, lesbian women in townships continue to be targets of ongoing intimidation, harassment and violent – at times deadly – attacks.

The South African government is reported to be in the process of working to legislate against hate crimes – those perpetrated against people due to their identity (or perceived identity) or because they are part of a particular group.

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