LGBTI community marches against hate crimes and homophobia


Durban Beach Walk

Members of the LGBTI community in Durban and Cape Town stood up against homophobia, transphobia and anti-LGBTI hate crimes on the weekend.

Saturday’s protests came in the wake of a disturbing spike in attacks against the LGBTI community in the past few weeks.

In Durban, a small but determined group turned out for a Beach Walk, organised by the Same Love Toti Support Group, to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), which was commemorated on May 17.

The participants walked along the promenade from uShaka Marine World waving rainbow flags, holding hands and displaying placards with messages such as: “Different families, same love”; “Being LGBT is fine, homophobia is the crime”; and, “Be careful who you hate, it might be someone you love – Proud Parents.”

“People came to make a stand against homophobia and the resulting hate crimes,” Kim Lithgow, the founder of Same Love, told Mambaonline. “We especially wanted to stand with the families and friends of Nonkie Smous, Tambai Molloi and the others who were murdered in these past few weeks for being LGBT.”

A larger crowd took part in the annual Khumbulani Pride (Khumbulani means “remember” in Xhosa) in Strand in the Western Cape. The march aims to honour the lives of LGBTI people lost to hate crimes.

Participants help up signs that proclaimed: “Our love has to stop being identified as sin”, and “Justice 4 all women – stop the killing!”

The march was followed by a programme that included speeches, poetry, music and a candlelight vigil in honour of victims of hate crimes and survivors of violence.

Khumbulani Pride (Pic: Cheryl Roberts)

Organiser Funeka Soldaat from Free Gender commented on Facebook that the event was one of the best Khumbulani Prides to date. She explained that it was an unapologetic “space for black lesbians” and applauded those “who were so brave to share their experiences”.

Jesco Nosipho Scott added that the event was “a day to claim public space in the face of ongoing violence against queer bodies and women’s bodies”.

Apart from longstanding and unresolved hate crimes that were recently highlighted by the Justice Denied campaign, the LGBTI community was rocked by a series of murders in recent weeks.

Last month, 28-year-old lesbian Nonkie Smous was murdered and her body set alight in Kroonstad. On 14 May, the half naked body of 27-year-old lesbian woman Lerato Moloi was found in Soweto. Just days later, the body of 26-year-old gay man Stephen Nketsi was discovered dumped in a hole in the township of Botshabelo, near Bloemfontein.

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