Thokozile Gumede’s face filled with sadness and pain as she explained how her granddaughter Sisanda Gumede was killed.
What made it worse for the 79-year-old was that the alleged perpetrator did not only a close relative and cousin of the 28-year-old, but later pleased to lift the “curse” on the family by stabbing Sisanda near her home in Umbumbulu, KwaZulu-Natal on the evening of September 25th.
She was hospitalized but died of her injuries.
Sisanda reportedly tried to intervene when the suspect molested a young boy. He allegedly said he could not say anything about “a lesbian”, drew his knife and stabbed Sisanda in the neck before escaping on foot. A team of investigators followed him to Umkhomazi, more than 50 km from the scene, and arrested him.
The murder is another reminder of the rampant hate crimes against members of the LGBTQIA + community in South Africa. which have become commonplace and the authorities have done little to stop them. Sisanda’s murder came shortly after the murder of Anele Bhengu, 28, who was stabbed to death on June 13 in KwaMakhutha, about 13 miles from where Sisanda was killed.
Other recent murders of LGBTQIA + include Lonwabo Jack, a 22-year-old who was found with multiple stab wounds to his chest and body on his birthday in June in the Nyanga community in Cape Town. Nathaniel Mbele was found with stab wounds to his chest on April 2nd in Boipatong, Gauteng.
There is also the death of Andile “Lulu” Ntuthela, 40, who was butchered, burned and buried in shallow water was grave in KwaNobuhle near Kariega in April; Sphamandla Khoza, 34, who had his throat cut and his body thrown in the steppe in Ntuzuma parish north of Durban in April; and Nonhlanhla Kunene, 37, whose half-naked body was found near a school in Edendale near Pietermaritzburg in March.
Liyabona Mabishi, 16, was stabbed to death after accidentally bumping into a man. Her family found her lying in a pool of blood in the eNkanini settlement near Khayelitsha in Cape Town.
Devastated by loss
Thokozile said she was was heartbroken because she had to raise Sisanda and her two siblings alone after their mother died in the 1990s.
“We as a family accepted Sisanda for who she was,” she said.
“We knew there was nothing we could do to change it. We expected everyone else in the community to accept her for who she was. But from time to time I was mocked by people who called me uMaGumede ozala isitabane (the MaGumede who gave birth to a lesbian) .
“I took these ridicules by the chin, but I didn’t know that one day she would be stabbed and killed for what she is. That she was killed by my close family member cuts very deeply to the heart. She was killed by someone who was supposed to protect her. ”
Thokozile said her granddaughter kept her up to date on queer issues. “She even borrowed money to go to the funeral of the girl who was killed in KwaMakhutha [Bhengu], and she often went to trial because she felt that her killing was wrong and that her killers should be punished .
“Now my granddaughter is gone too, brutally killed. What happened to this world? “
Sisanda finished school in 11th grade because she was ridiculed for” liking other girls, “said Thokozile.
” Teachers called me to the school and said that Sisanda is in love with the girls and the school cannot tolerate that. They said she had to stop going to school because she was causing trouble. ”
Another person devastated by the murder is Sibusiso Gumede, Sisanda’s older brother. He had to tell his family, including his grandmother, about the incident.
“The people who took her to the hospital called me and told me that she died on the way to Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital . I’ve never felt this feeling before. I was cold. When I was brought home to tell my family about it, I couldn’t control myself. I just cried and cried, “he said.
He and his sister had a close relationship. “Whenever she wanted something, she would come to me and tell me that I was her only hope. In difficult times, I also found comfort in telling her about my problems, and she comforted me, “he said while tears ran down his cheeks.
Hate crimes < / h2>
The suspect, a 24-year-old man, has appeared twice in Umbumbulu District Court. Local residents said he had a history of violence and allegedly this was not the first incident in which he stabbed someone in the area. But they also said they believe killing Sisanda was a hate crime.
Nonhlanhla Khoza, KwaZulu-Natal’s Executive Committee on Social Development, said she was “deeply ashamed that we are in ours Nation still face people “. Discrimination based on their sexual orientation. This is a gross violation of basic human rights and we should unite to end such crimes. ”
She urged residents to work with the government, police and other stakeholders to oppose the murder of LGBTQIA + – To take a stand in KwaZulu-Natal and other provinces.
“It has to be remembered in all those involved in such crimes that no one has the right to take a life and anyone else because of him Abusing sexuality. Our government has made great strides in protecting LGBTQIA + rights. However, incidents like this dilute any effort, “said Khoza.
” We are committed to fighting for justice, and we want our society to work together to end these crimes. We warn communities to work together to end hate crime, homophobia and other forms of unfair discrimination against LGBTQIA + communities. “
Tammy Williams, LGBTQIA + activist and manager of the Pride of Durban club, a queer-friendly organization, said, they are concerned for their safety.
“So many of our members have been killed here in and around Durban that we say enough is enough. The time has come when we must take these matters seriously. We are arranging a few meetings of LGBTQIA + members to develop plans and other measures to prevent these attacks on innocent people.
“It is clear that the authorities do not take these murders seriously.”
This article was first published by New Frame.