The late Gift (Disebo) Makau

Raped and murdered: Gift (Disebo) Makau

Have South Africans become so immune to hate crimes that a soapie generates more attention than the murder of a teenage lesbian?

That’s the question being asked by the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), which slammed the government and the media for being more interested in the Generations cast’s firing than the most recent horror attack on a member of the LGBT community.

On Wednesday, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said that he would be prepared to intervene in the mass firing of the cast of the country’s most popular soap series over a wage dispute, which has dominated headlines.

FEW said this appeared to be of more interest to the media and government than last week’s brutal rape and murder of 18-year-old Disebo (Gift) Makau in Ventersdorp. She’d been strangled with a wire and a running hose had been forced down her throat.

“Disebo’s murder seems to have been overshadowed by the Generations saga that has the nation’s attention,” said the group in a statement.

“Meanwhile, the LGBIQA community is up in arms about the lack of response from the ANC and the media in general regarding Disebo’s murder. There has been very little media coverage relating to this brutal and senseless murder.”

Asked the group: “This brings about the question… has the right to life in South Africa become so irrelevant that a soapie receives full media attention while a murder receives very little or no attention?

“Ministers have rushed to the media offering assistance and mediation pertaining to the Generations saga however no minster to date has gone to Disebo’s family to offer their condolences and a way forward.”

FEW also slammed the ANC for not meeting its promise to assist the family of lesbian Duduzile Zozo, who was raped with a toilet brush and murdered just over a year ago.


Fired: the cast of Generations

The organisation claims that after the murder, Minister Lulu Xhingwane met with the family and promised them that the ANC would be of assistance as Zozo was the family breadwinner.

“To date Duduzile’s family is poverty stricken, sharing a small little room with children and adults,” FEW said.

It further stated that the much-hyped television ad promoting LGBT equality launched by the government in April “has not been visible enough.”

On Monday, the SA Government News Agency said that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi had condemned Makau’s murder as well as the murder of a 30-year-old Bryanston woman, who was stabbed around 50 times, allegedly by her husband.

“Government is saddened by these incidents, and the loss of life is one too many. Government alone cannot completely address this scourge as it is a societal issue and requires an even more strengthened effort and synergy by all South Africans,” said Muthambi.

She added that violence based on gender and sexual orientation will not be tolerated by government, insisting that law enforcement agencies will continue to enforce the rule of law.

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