Dimakatso Mathetha was a proudly LGBTIQ+ woman
LGBTIQ+ activists who sought to honour a lesbian at her funeral were faced with homophobic abuse from her family and the pastor.
On Saturday, Dimakatso Mathetha, 30, was laid to rest in Orange Farm, outside of Johannesburg.
It’s believed that she committed suicide following a recent violent hate crime attack at a tavern. Members of her family also reportedly refused to accept her sexuality.
According to the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) and Vaal LGBTI, police delayed opening a case in the tavern attack against Mathetha and her partner, Refilwe Khokhoo. The couple had gotten engaged just days earlier.
This left the perpetrator to roam the streets “whilst they lived in fear, as he continued to verbally threaten them by saying that he will impregnate them to prove that they are women,” said the groups in a statement.
“Dimakatso died in pain, she could not find peace at her home nor in the street,” they added.
Representatives from the two organisations attended Mathetha’s public funeral on Saturday to honour her as a proud and openly lesbian individual but were allegedly harassed and rejected by the family and some neighbours.
Despite being told that they were not welcome, especially if they displayed the rainbow flag and colours, and allegedly being harassed at the funeral, the activists refused to be silenced.
“The queer people came to support. We took out our rainbow flags and sang struggle songs and gave her a guard of honour,” FEW’s Jade Madingwane told MambaOnline. “These are our streets too.”
According to the group, the pastor at the funeral was also homophobic and reportedly urged the mourners to pray that their children do not “turn out the way Dimakatso turned out.”
“Even in death they continue to hate us,” said Vaal LGBTI’s Azania Sengwayo, who noted that the LGBTIQ+ people who attended the funeral had been shaken by the experience.
“It was traumatic, especially considering everything that the LGBTIQ+ community has been going through in South Africa recently. People were crying afterwards,” said Sengwayo.
At least 10 LGBTQI individuals have been murdered in South Africa over the last three months in a horrific wave of hate crimes. LGBTIQ+ groups have demanded that the government take urgent action to stem the crisis.