2014 Sept. 26: Man appears in court for lesbian murder

by Lerato Dumse

Thabo Molefe made a brief appearance at the Benoni Magistrate Court, on September 26, charged with the murder of Thembelihle Sokhela (28) a black lesbian.

Portrait of the murdered Lihle Sokhela as it appears in Daveyton Uthingo - The Rainbow facebook page.

Portrait of the murdered Lihle Sokhela as it appears in Daveyton Uthingo – The Rainbow facebook page.

This was his second appearance, for approval of his address, necessary for him to apply for bail.

The case has been remanded until October 2 2014, while he remains behind bars.

Lihle’s body was found in Thabo’s room, at his home in Daveyton Ekurhuleni Municipality.

It is alleged that he handed himself over to police, days after Lihle disappeared.

This is not the first such incident to happen in Daveyton. Last year the body of a woman identified as lesbian, Patricia Mashego, was found on the street by residents in this township.

Funo Ndlangamandla, speaking on behalf of Uthingo, an LGBTI organisation from Daveyton that advocates for justice said they don’t want to see the perpetrator of this case walking the streets.

He said they are going to keep a close eye on the case to ensure it doesn’t fail, adding that they will also push for Patricia’s case.

Funo said they are touched by Lihle’s case because she’s human, a sister and someone’s child.

He said they will go back to court next week in bigger numbers, joined by other civil organisations.

Relative Eunice Hlongwane and Joyce Mkoni who lives opposite Lihle’s home spoke about the day they went to the suspect’s home when they heard Lihle’s body was discovered.

The women share how they were greeted by the stench, that came from one bedroom in the four roomed house, Thabo shared with his mother.

They said Thabo’s mother explained to them that she was away from home that weekend, and on Tuesday (September 16) morning her son asked her to make his bed, while he goes to sign at the police station as part of his parole conditions.

She made the gruesome discovery while trying to pick up a blanket from the floor.

Eunice and Joyce say the woman also showed them bruises on her body, alleging that she too was assaulted by her son and was unsuccessful in seeking justice.

While Lihle’s cousin Sibongile Tshabalala said she was hoping the postmortem would help add more criminal charges against Thabo, but that didn’t happen.




Related link


2014 Sept. 21: Black Sunday for black lesbians in South Africa







Posted in 'We live in fear', a black lesbian, Act, Acting, Activism, Activists, Allies, an LGBTI organisation, Anger, Announcement, Another Approach Is Possible, Archived memories, Articles, Articulation, Attention, Benoni Magistrate Court, Black lesbian murder, civil organisations, Court appearance, Daveyton, Daveyton Ekurhuleni Municipality., disappearance, Eunice Hlongwane, Family loss, Funo Ndlangamandla, gruesome discovery, Hate crime, Journalist, Joyce Mkoni, Lerato Dumse, Murder suspect, October 2 2014, Police, relative, remanded, second appearance, Sibongile Tshabalala, Thabo Molefe, Thembelihle Sokhela (28), Writing from court | Leave a comment

2014 Sept. 24: “At times I’d get jealous thinking she was taking my place”


My name is Ayanda Masina, popularly known as ‘Ayanda Kiss’ or Kgokgo to some friends.
I have a lot of nicknames. I guess it goes with the level we at with our friendship.

On a beautiful day on April 25 in 1991 I was born in Tsakane, and I have been residing there since.
I was raised by my mom’s older sister and her husband, however she has since passed on, then I had to move in with,my mom.

So I currently stay with my mom, four siblings, granddad and my uncle. I’m the oldest of five children from my mom and the fourth of nine kids from my dad.
He was never a father to us until the day he passed on, because he was never present.

I started my schooling at Shadrack Mbambo Primary School in Tsakane. Times were hard, because my mom was unemployed. I remember one cloudy day when the man who was supposed to be my daddy carried me on his back to school.

I had not yet been bought a proper school uniform so I was wearing all black and takkies (the only memory I have of him as a child) every child there had on their proper school uniform and shiny black shoes with their school bags.

I felt so left out, being the odd one out. I wanted to run out of there, but I couldn’t.  So to pass time I’d run to the toilets till lunch time or go to my Mam’khulu’s (aunt) house.

I would cry and eventually go back. I became a,learner when I finally received my proper school uniform and shiny black shoes.
In Grade five I was part of the debating and public speaking team at school and I made class monitor and was part of the top 5 English student in school life was great.

I then proceeded to Tsakane Secondary School were I was part of the drum majorettes team and part of the best biology and English learners. By Grade 10, I’d proven to be a smart child. Although it was odd that I never took interest in boys but I had a crush on a girl instead.


Ayanda Masina (2013) is currently featuring in Faces and Phases (2006-2014) by Zanele Muholi, that was launched in Ulm, Germany last night...

Ayanda Masina (2013) is currently featuring in Faces and Phases (2006-2014) book by Zanele Muholi, that was launched in Ulm, Germany last night…

I would see “tomboys” but never really understood what was going on till I moved to college. It was then that I understood that there are lesbians in the world and after all I was normal.

I was studying Information Technology (IT) but due to unforeseen circumstances I had to leave college.
That didn’t put me down, it really broke me. I needed to be something I have to be something. Since there was nothing to do and I was seeing the crimes perpetrated on lgbti persons, I joined the Equality Project (which has since closed down) and I was later elected as a co-ordinator for the Tsakane and KwaThema groups.

I always wanted to be on life changing and advocacy part of life, so it was an opportunity for me. It was sad when equality project closed down, then I moved to EPOC as only a member. You would find me in every march, workshop, and picket there was.

I had never seen myself in the spotlight and showcasing my looks and fashion sense, but in 2012 my then girlfriend asked me to join a pageant I wasn’t so keen on joining but she kept begging and telling me I could make it.
I eventually joined in the rehearsals I actually liked it on the final day I was crowned 1st Prince, and I was pleased by then.  I knew I would love being a model and stand in front of the camera.

I always felt my family knew about my sexual orientation due to my Identity but I later learnt that orientation doesn’t determine identity. I was surprised when I appeared on Shift in 2012 April few days before I turned 21 and family member asked my mom why I didn’t tell them I was lesbian.

I was surprised because I thought they knew but even after that I never wanted to explain myself, I never felt I should.

Even on the day I brought my first girlfriend home, there wasn’t any harsh or ill-treatment, instead she was like a daughter and sister to my mom and siblings.
At times I’d get jealous thinking she was taking my place and even now with my current girlfriend I have support.

However, as we all know there’s homophobia and there are those who aren’t lucky enough to dodge the hate perpetrated by homophobes. But change will come and I’ll help bring it about.

We are currently working on building partnerships and forming allies with community members, which I feel will bring about great change.
Seeing that lgbti persons face a lot of violations and it is bad when you go to service providers and receive secondary victimisation.

So I’m working with our little group in Tsakane, which I’m co-founder empowered by the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) and RAAP we will try and bring about the change we want to see.

I was super thrilled when Zanele Muholi called and asked to do a background on my life and knowing she’s a photographer, and doing advocacy through it. I knew I was going to be part of a great project for advocacy as part of my everyday life. Taking a different route in doing it was a great achievement and much of a pleasure.
Previous life stories


2014 Aug. 30: I’m a game changer, leader and activist




2014 Aug. 9: “I am not a lesbian by choice”




2014 July 26: “I was born this way and I cannot change the skin that I live in”




2014 June 25: I consider myself beautiful not handsome…




2014 May 24: The special boy




2014 May 7: I don’t like being identified in terms and definitions




2014 May 18: Behind the beautiful face you see is a lesbian who is torn into a million pieces




2014 May 30: I was a boy who would one day grow up to be a man




2013 Oct. 22: I thought university was for the rich




2013 Oct. 16: I am a beautiful young dyke, a woman lover




2013 Oct. 12: I just feel she deserves much better




2013 Oct. 2: I am a normal transgender woman’



2013 Aug. 22: Am exactly where I’m supposed to be



2013 July 15: The virus has become a silent relative




2013 June 27: Who I Am




2013 March 10: “I love women and they love me”




2013 February 28: I am not a Victim but a Victor










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2014 Sept. 26: Visual diary from Ulm, Germany

… where the new Faces and Phases book was launched at Volkshochschule Ulm.de

The event started with an introduction by Dagmar Engels (director atVH_Ulm.de)  seated on the right and Artur Walther (publisher and owner of Walther Collection).
Then I was in conversation with them both, Anna Strauss (curator) from Walther Collection and Dagmar…


Anna Muholi Dagmar_6044In the photo above I am responding to their questions for the audience to get the context of my work…


Dagmar Muholi Anna & Artur_6052… with Dagmar Engels, (me) Muholi, Anna Strauss and Artur Walther on the far right

Details of new Faces and Phases (2006-2014) are as follows:

My updated bio:

Muholi signing F&P book for Susanne_6076At the time for book signing … with Susanne.


Exhibition attendees2_6072About 100 individuals were in attendance…


exhibition attendees @VH_Ulm_de_6074


Difficult Love screening @VH_Ulm_de by Zanele Muholi_6080Difficult Love (2010) was screened after the presentation and book presentation…


Erla Fritzi & Muholi by Valerie Thomas_6055With my new friends Erla (left) and Fritzi (centre)


20 yrs free SA_5865… the events are still ongoing. Nomfusi will be performing on Tues., 30 Sept. ’14




2014 Sept. Frauentreff prog_5867I got this programm from Frauentreff haus…


© Photos by Valerie Thomas and Zanele Muholi (2014)



Click on the links below for press related articles




2014 Sept. 25 newspaper article_5866

Posted in Visual history, Life Stories, Zanele Muholi, Relationships, Friendships, Beauty, Participants, Photography, Life, History, Human Beings, Visual Activist, Visual activism, Support, Photographs, Visual diaries, Germany, Walther Collection, Faces and Phases (2006 - 2014) book launch..., Dignity, Dagmar Engels, Anna Strauss, Queer South Africa, Volkshochschule Ulm.de, Citizenship, 20 Years of Democracy in SA, programm | 1 Comment

2014 Sept. 11: The New York experience that was

2014 Sept 13 Lebo & Muholi on way to JFK airport

2014/09/13 Muholi & I on our way to JFK airport…

Reflection by Lebo Mashifane

Today is talk day!

Jet lag is kicking in, I woke up at 8h25 whereas the past two days I woke up around 4 am and around 6 am the next day.
I’m feeling drained …
Physically I’m drained but I’m ecstatic to talk in front of American academics!!! Really!!! Me!!! on the mic!!! In New York!!!

After taking a shower I’m feeling fresh alive… I even flip jumped in the elevator don’t tell anybody. I look forward to spending a little bit of time with Zanele to go through some pointers of today’s talk. I’m deflated by bank card situation. I left her bank card at reception at The Study Hotel at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, US. I went to fetch it at reception, they looked for it and they have lost it. Zanele just managed to get her traveling itinerary sorted. Just after hanging up on that confirmation call, the bad news await on the other phone line…
I’m sorry, we have looked everywhere possible and um we can’t find the card” *American accent*.

I think I need to move around before I get depressed and physically numb and drained again.

Last night, Gabriel slept over with us at the hotel. She is also disorientated by Zanele’s situation, after such a good night’s rest, this is what she wakes up to…
From sending a complement to the Study to complaining about thereof.

It’s time for me to meet up with Liz at the gallery to fill in the honorarium forms. Gabriel Le Roux comes with me to the gallery, she will check out Zanele’s exhibition while I do admin. I go back to the hotel and Zanele tells me that she managed to get her bank card stopped but they told her that there is no money on her card. This is dreadful and distorting my first fancy friday focus in New York…

Talk time!!! Thanks to the healing of spoken word! I introduced myself, so cool and at ease on the podium!!!
When the hell was I last on stage or on a podium, about 7 years?
Then I do a ”come back”…where, in America!!!!
Dddzzzzaaammn!!! Talk for ”come back” let’s come back to spoken word. I read a piece I wrote called ikasi. That was after introducing myself and and discussing the project I’m currently working on, where I also mentioned my surroundings of living in the township.

When I was done with my piece, Zanele did her introduction and played a documentary. Both of us then sat on a panel to answer questions to the audience. When that was done, I read a piece I wrote, entitled (eleven triple one) 11 111 since yesterday marked 13 years since the twin towers collapsed in TOWN…
Then to end off, just to bring everybody back to the funky Friday feeling…
I read my last piece for the day, entitled ‘Beauty left on her left.’

There were people that came up to me to compliment my pieces and it was great network. Michele Oshima said she had already read 11 111 on the blog and she was excited when I did it… It was quite exciting to be read and heard you know, like reading a book and then going to watch the movie based on that novel or fiction. Michel then invited us to the LGBTQ Queer Tea gathering that happens every Friday from 4pm – 6pm. Every gathering has a guest speaker, this time it was ……
Yale World fellow and author of Gay Bombay. He is from India and he spoke of the dynamics indian queer face, he also brought forth the political point of view, which was of sufficient value to the topic. We were given Queer Tea cups, the design of the printing on the cup was done by Andrew.

Around 6pm we left the queer Tea gathering. It’s midnight at home, if were to call and say I’m going to have supper, I would’ve probably got a response that would say I’m having my sleep! *#@!…
So we went for supper, Sushi!!! I’ve missed sushi so much. Living in the township with not monthly salary has restricted me from indulging in that cuisine. michel and Zanele had me try out new dishes in sushi, I was enjoying the food so much!

Their rice is reddish as if it was boiled in water with a beetroot… I asked why the rise color looked like that, the response was that it’s mixed with organic rise… Hhhmmmm… ????thinking¿¿¿.









Posted in Evidence, Exhibition, Experience, Expression, Faces and Phases | Leave a comment

2014 Sept. 21: Black Sunday for black lesbians in South Africa

by Lerato Dumse


We have had four funerals in less than one month.
In August 2014, Disebo Gift Makau (23) was brutally murdered in Ventersdorp, North West and buried on the on 23rd.
Her callous murder was followed by the death of Manku Maduwane (52) in KwaThema who succumbed to illness and was buried alongside her niece Monica Maduwane (36) on September 7.
While we were still trying to process that, Busisiwe Ngobese (25) who was involved in a fatal car accident after attending Vaal Pride on the September 6, 2014 was buried on September 13.

Before those deaths and killing could sink in, the black lesbian community received news of yet another young black lesbian murder in Daveyton township.
Sibongile Tshabalala says the last time she communicated with her cousin Thembelihle “Lihle” Sokhela (28) was through a call on Saturday.

She had called to inform Lihle that she was going out of town, and when she returned and heard nothing from Lihle she assumed all was well.

Until she received a devastating phone call from work on Tuesday, urging her to come back home as Lihle’s body had been discovered.

This makes Lihle the second black lesbian in her 20s to be killed in a South African township in a month.

Lihle was alleged last seen on September 14, the same date in August 2014 that Gift Makau was last seen. Before her (Gift) half naked body was discovered at a neighbor’s yard in Ventersdorp, North West.

Sibongile identified Lihle’s half naked body wrapped in a blanket, with a swollen face, and blood in her ears and nose.

The man is reported to have handed himself over to the police and confessed to the crime.

Sibongile said she is the oldest cousin and is the responsible figure since their parents (who were siblings) have passed on, leaving them orphaned.

“I brought Lihle to Gauteng from Kwa-Zulu Natal after she completed her matric, about four years ago so that we could assist each other,” explains Sibongile.

She adds that Lihle, whose full name means Goodhope had just been to a job interview last week, and was hopeful for a positive response.

She also reveals that Lihle had recently opened a case of assault after being attacked by a friend and they said this raises a lot of questions for the family.

Daveyton based organisations have relied together and participated in a march on September 18 around Sgodi and railway section where the victim was found.

The suspect who is still signing at the police station as part of his release conditions from prison, is due back in court on September 26 to find out if he has sorted out his address issue to be able to apply for bail.
According to Daveyton Uthingo The Rainbow group on facebook, the memorial service of the late Thembelihle Sokhela will be held on the 26.09.2014.
The funeral to take place on the 28th September 2014 at home: # 22076 Victor drive Str. Daveyton (railway), which is the same venue for the memorial.
For further details, please call (0849172851)


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

2014 Sept. 22: The period pains of documenting hate crimes

Text by Lerato Dumse

I sat down for a reflection session with photographers Lindeka Qampi and Zanele Muholi a few days after they documented Gift Makau’s funeral.

Muholi requested for the interview as a way of unloading and shedding the pain, explaining that its hectic documenting hate crimes, and they don’t even have counseling.

“When people see you holding the camera, they don’t realise the amount of stress we carry, adds the visual activist.”

Some of the reasons that bring pressure on these photographers is visiting the crime scene, talking to family members who have just lost a loved one.

Lindeka shares that for her, documenting hate crime is traumatic because it reminds her of her own ordeal as a victim of crime.

She is motivated to document it, because it gives her a chance to educate the community.

Lindeka says visiting families like Disebo’s is hard on her as a mother, especially since Disebo was a last born that makes her think of her last born, and adds that its not easy seeing the sadness in their eyes.

“Rape is increasing in our country, and the police would rather harass a hawker selling on the side of the road, adds Lindeka”.

Lindeka further elaborates that as documenters they capture and visualize everything, and working with the family for four days means a bond is formed.

Muholi says when she first heard about Disebo’s killing it was still sketchy and a lot of hearsay.

“The first thing on my mind was not another hate crime, not another queer born free, not on women’s month,” and adds that she went to bed that night with a heavy heart and hoping it was wrong information.

Staying five minutes away from Constitutional Hill, (which is where this interview was conducted) also brought more questions to Muholi, thinking about the new LGBTI task team meeting that was held at the end of April 2014 where the issue of hate crime was discussed mainly at the venue with various stakeholders (activists) and some activists from different provinces.

However her fears were confirmed the next day when she was given the full details and asked to intervene.

“The first questions that come to mind is resources, finances to go there.”

Two days later, Muholi and Lindeka were on their way to Ventersdorp from Johannesburg, and met the family and counselor of Tshing township whom Muholi described as practical, kind and caring.

Muholi said the counselor reminded her that there are women who care about other women.

However, when they first entered the scene where Disebo lost her life, Muholi  immediately went on her periods which was unexpected and early.

Lindeka reveals that one of her goals now is to go back and document Disebo’s background, to be able to tell her life story.

She says while in the area she heard about gangster groups that are active in Tshing township, which contributes to the crime in the area.

While Muholi says as a person who works with lesbian youth, such murders hurt her because she views the victims as “one of us”.

She adds that she cares as an activist, as a human being and seeing the pain in the family that has just lost someone takes her back to other hate crime cases she has documented.

“I thought about how victims like Gift and Dudu Zozo die in their neighborhood, come from poor communities, are in their 20s and hard workers ambitious to become breadwinners in their families.

Another thing that disturbs Muholi were the objects used: a toilet brush inserted inside Dudu’s private parts and the water hose in Gift’s mouth, the half naked body and dying before they can even enjoy the freedom of democracy, and concludes by saying she doesn’t want to document another hate crime.


Gift Disebo Makau 1_1283Before the coffin of Disebo Gift Makau was lowered at the cemetery in Ventersdorp on the 23rd Sept. 2014


2014 Aug 24 odidiva1_1626 Odidiva, Cape Town based artist and activist who attended the funeral of Disebo in Ventersdorp last month.

Photos by Lindeka Qampi & Zanele Muholi


More reflection sessions to be published in the next few months…



Related links


2014 Aug. 22: Photos from Disebo Gift Makau’s Memorial Service




2014 Aug. 23: Relatives and friends shed the tears at Gift’s funeral and some fainted






Posted in 'We live in fear', 20 Years of Democracy, Articles, Brutal murders of black lesbians in South Africa, Commitment, Committed, Communication strategies, Community, Community based media, Community education, Community Mobilizing, Community organizing, Community outreach, Community work, Compiled by Lerato Dumse and Fikile Mazambani, Complicated Lesbian Relationships, Conflicts, Confrontation, Connected souls, Connections, Consultation, Contests, Contributors, Conversation, Corrective rape, Corruption, Crea(c)tive senses, Creating awareness, Creative activist, Creative Writing, Creativity, Crime rate, Crimes, Cultural activists, Culture of reading and writing, Curative rapes, Delegation, Democracy, Department of Justice (DoJO, Description, Details, Disappointment, Discomfort, Discussion, Disebo Gift Makau (1990 - 2014), Documentation; Filming; Photography; Community, Documenting hate crimes, Documenting our own lives, Documenting realities of the townships, Education, Expression, Friends as perpetrators, Gender Equality, Heavy subject, Lerato Dumse in conversation with Lindeka Qampi and Zanele Muholi, New Task Team on hate crime launched by DoJ in April 2014, Reflection | Leave a comment

2014 Sept. 21: Sharing love and friendships at the 1st Mpumalanga Pride Photos – PART I

what we had for breakfast_8345

… what we had for breakfast before the march.

the crew_8350

nobody knew what we had before the march…


Christie Siba Lindeka_8353…our writer, Christie van Zyl, videographer Siba Nkumbi and photographer Lindeka Qampi before getting on it…


Siphiwe Vuvu Luh_8354L-R:  Siphiwe Mbatha, Vuvu Mtsweni and Luh Cele having breakfast




Sisters embrace… Lee Siba and Vuvu both from Daveyton





queer marchers1_8372



Police on guard_8374



queer marchers_8373


mpl pride banner1_8381









our activists_8466



Moi Joy & friends_8591















Moi Joy and friends_8585












sicka & friends_8632




divas at play_8614

Malibongwe Swane_8623



thwala & friend 2_8633



nqo shaz luh_8637




bafana & friends_8641




men as friends_8648


MoiJoy with friends_8663










Lovely friend_8672




Njabulo & friend_8675

















gay men kiss_5501



oh love_5934

… to be continued.




Posted in Bread and tea before 1st Mpumalanga Pride 2014, Inkanyiso media, Lessons learnt, LGBT community, LGBTI community, lgbti issues in South Africa, Life is a production..., Life Stories, Love, Love is a human right, Love is Queer, Loved, Lovely words, Mainstream media, Mainstreaming our queer issues, Media works, Memories, Memory, Moments in herstory, Moments in our history, Mpumalanga, Mpumalanga province, My body, Opening remarks, Organisations, Organizations, Organizing, Our lives in the picture, Out Loud & Proud, Ownership of the self, Owning our bodies, pride marches and community based projects, Privilege, Professional black lesbians in South Africa, Protests, Proud to be, Public spaces, Publications, Queens, Queer & Straights, Queer Africa, Queer community, Queer Education in SA, Queer Edutainment, Queer Power, Queer texts, Video, Video archive, Video archiving, Video clips, We Love Photography, We were (t)here | 4 Comments