The shack where Maleshwane Radebe was murdered (Pic: )

The shack where Maleshwane Radebe was murdered (Pic: )

City Press has reported the murder of a lesbian woman in the township of Ratanda, to the east of Johannesburg, earlier this month.

Openly lesbian Maleshwane Radebe (36) was stabbed in the neck and died following an attack on the home she shared with her girlfriend.

Two men broke into their shack in the early hours of December 7, also stabbing Radebe’s girlfriend, who survived the assault. The men stole their cell phones and Radebe’s wallet.

It is unclear at this stage if the attack was motivated by the women’s sexual orientation, but activists argue that lesbian women are a particularly vulnerable group in South Africa’s townships.

The organisation Parents, Families and Friends of the South African Queer (PFSAQ) expressed its sadness and frustration at the murder.

“What exactly needs to be done in South Africa in order to make sure that one’s sexual orientation or gender identity does not give anyone a licence to kill them?” asked the group.

“Government and the Department of Justice should stop their lip service especially at this juncture where hate crimes have escalated to endemic proportions; we are at a point where real action needs to be carried out.”

Radebe, who worked in a butchery, was the primary breadwinner for her family. She was buried on Saturday 14 December. Her funeral was covered by the Inkanyiso blog.

“She was always full of jokes. When someone was angry, she’d make them laugh… Nobody had a bad thing to say about her…” Inkanyiso’s Charmain Carrol told City Press. “In the church (for her funeral) there were more than 200 people,” she added.

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