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 | Leave a 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 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 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





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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

















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… 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 | 3 Comments

2014 Sept. 21: Martha Qumba in conversation with Young female photographers from Aurora GHS


Aurora High School girls are challenging the male dominated industry by taking extra photography lessons. These Grade 10 and 12 learners from impoverished communities want to become photographers so that they can document their own stories.


The visual pilot project for high school youth began in February 2014 is made possible by four facilitators: Linda Mankazana, Valerie Thomas, Lindeka Qampi and Zanele Muholi who are all experts in various fields.
Muholi introduced photography at the school to empower a girl child. They said it is important for a girl child to have access to photography to pave a way for other girls.  It started in February 2014.


Thando & Kamo sm_3296

L-R: Thando & Kamo…

Noluthando Khumalo – Grade 9

I stay in Zola and I’m doing Grade 9. I didn’t know anything about photography before Zanele and Lindeka came to introduce it here at my school.

I always see men as photographers not women and I thought it’s for them only. I never even thought of doing it or at least holding a camera with my hands.
I didn’t know that girls can become photographers. My first time holding a camera was here at school with Lindeka and I was excited and shaking. It was such a nerve wrecking experience to hold it but I did manage. I was holding it in a wrong way and I didn’t know what to do.  My first photo was about goats, water, a dumping site too.

It was not good but Lindeka helped me to make it right.

I would like to continue with photography, I want to shoot soccer games, fashion and orphans. I want to tell my my people about what’s happening in their community. I don’t have a mother only my dad sometimes it’s difficult not to have a mother. I want to tell orphans’ stories because I know how is like not to have parents.
Lindeka is like my mom, she motivates me a lot. When you want to give up she tells you not to.
She’s so inspirational.  She has inspired me a lot. It would be bad if she can left us and returned to Cape Town.


Lulama Rikhotso – Grade 10

I’m a Grade 10 learner and I stay in Dobsonville.
Linda Mankazana, one of my teachers, told us that Zanele and Lindeka would come and do photography with us.
I didn’t know anything about photography and  didn’t even care about it. All I wanted to do was to become a fashion designer because I love fashion.
When I see TV personalities  I always get fascinated by their clothes, they always wear nice clothes.

I was so nervous the first time I held a camera. I held it right but I pressed the wrong button. I took my very first picture of my cousin’s clothes and I was excited about it. My challenges are different angles, focus and framing but I’m getting there. I am confident about my camera skills now I can even shoot the Minister of Education.



Mthabiseni Mbhele  – Grade 11

I’m from Braamfischer and I do Business Management and Tourism here at school. I like traveling it keeps one active and it’s important to me.

In my life I’ve never touched a camera it was my first time touching it here school with Lindeka.
Again I never thought of myself becoming a photographer. I took my first photo of … I made some mistakes. It was blurry and I cut others. It was hard to focus and for the second time it was better. Holding it was not a problem because I took a cue from others then I held it in a right way.
Lindeka told me of my mistakes and afterwards I felt happy and confident.  I would want to own a camera one day so that I can always shoot everywhere I go.

Lindeka has taught me a lot, she’s patient, she takes us out to shoot things that we never thought  of shooting. She let us know our communities and stories within it.  People and my friends from my community  never thought that a girl can take photos.

I can combine my photography and tourism because I see that there is a link between the two professions. Tourism is about traveling and when I travel I see places.
I now see photography as very important in my studies.



Tshili_6230Tshireletso Mochuise – Grade 11

I got exposed to camera from a young age  because my uncle is a photographer and he has a camera. I used to take care of his camera at home. I never touched his equipment though because he was very sensitive about it.

I didn’t know about photography. I didn’t know about a camera too until Lindeka came to school and taught us about it. She taught us how to shoot, frame a picture, position focus and the importance of taking a photo and how to get a good picture.

At first it was a bit complicated but I manage to do it. One other day we went to shoot outside of the school yard and Lindeka saw grannies playing soccer, she asked us to take a picture. It was interesting photographs because it is rare to find grannies playing football in our townships.

I then started felling in love with it. I love telling stories through photography. At this stage I feel very good about taking pictures also I want to further my studies in Media Studies so that I can become a good and well known photographer. Grabbing this opportunity I want to prove people  wrong. They think girls or women can’t be photographers. I am happy to be with Lindeka…




Elisa Pica – Grade 10

I am from Zone 2 Zondi and I live with my parents. I never had an interest in photography I thought it was for only boys. I never saw a black woman holding a camera or taking pictures. I once saw a white woman taking photographs and I thought it’s for only them until Zanele and Lindeka came to us.

Zanele taught me how to shoot and take videos.

For my first picture I took cows and we’re out in the community shooting with Lindeka. I was shaking and nervous at first. She said it was a nice picture though I didn’t feel happy about it because my zooming and focus were wrong. I didn’t specifically use focus and it was out of focus. On my very first picture I was nervous because I never hold a camera till that day.

I want to continue with photography to show the people that I can do it. I also I like drama, telling stories thus I want o continue with it. I’m so fortunate about this opportunity because I’m the only one at home in my community too. Others didn’t have it and the person to guide them too I understand.

I would like to own a camera one day so that I can continue shooting. I would be happy if my parents can buy me one I can shoot everyday.
I sometimes tell them about this photography I’m doing here at school. Lindeka is a very good person, I learnt a lot from her. Now I can even say I’m a professional photographer.


Nompumelelo Mali – Grade 9

I’m a Grade 9 learner and I come from Zolani North. I like taking pictures. When I was in Grade 7 my parents bought me a phone and I was taking pictures of myself, events and my friends.  I never thought of myself being a photographer or photography can be studied.  At that time I was just taking photos because I was just enjoying it but my friends were so impressed about my photos.

The day Lindeka and Zanele came to school my mind changed and I learnt more about photography. I always wanted to be a journalist I didn’t think that journalism and photography are intertwined until they told us about it.

I didn’t know what to press and I was scared.  I knew nothing about focus.  A camera is completely different from a phone camera because one just press but with photography there’s focus, zooming and angles.

My first photo was a portrait, it was wrong and blurry.  I was very scared, confused and it was very difficult on my first time. I thought it would fell because it was heavy. I pressed the wrong button also I hold it in a wrong way but Lindeka was patient to teach me about it. She then told me what I must do and the way I should do it.

I can take a photo now I can just take a camera and shoot. I feel confident, happy and proud of myself.  As a result I want to continue with photography alone.

I never thought girls can become photographers or either can take photos. I wish I can have my own camera and take photos anytime. Lindeka can show you what’s wrong and she teaches us well.


Kamo Petlele_6212

Kamogelo Petlele – Grade 10

I live in Zola North with my parents and my sibling. I want to become a civil engineer.
I haven’t thought of me being a camera person or holding it or for instance stand behind a camera. It was my first time to hear about photography when Lindeka explained and taught me.

I became more interested in it afterwards.  My first shot was kids playing  in a dam. It was hard at first but I took it. Prior to that I thought photography was only for men. Though I have started late but I’ve managed to catch up. I was not present when Lindeka and Zanele came to do an introduction session.

I learnt that in photography you don’t talk a lot pictures must talk. I am great that I’ve started it at an early age and I wish other girls could have this great opportunity too.

I’m proud of Lindeka, I give her honour. She taught me how to hold a camera, she taught me the right things. God has sent her to teach me.  She takes a lot of time. When she explains something she does it thoroughly. She’s got a good heart with kids.

I’m now confident about a camera because of her. I want to continue with it and combine with civil engineering.  I don’t feel good about the fact that girls don’t know anything about photography and it’s a very big challenge. I would want to teach girls as well kind of giving them some skills. I would want girls to start photography at my age.



Nonhlanhla Maluleka – Grade 11                     

I live with my parents in Zola 3 and at home I’m the only one who got the opportunity. My parents too never got the opportunity. I’m happy to start photography at the early age and young.

I feel so special and good about myself for taking pictures.
My mother supports me a lot.  The first time I was shaking, a camera was heavy.

I took a picture of a gay man who was raped twice, I didn’t believe myself. Lindeka said it’s a good picture. I want to document people everywhere because photography is about traveling. I have taken many photos and I would want to continue with photography. I see myself as a professional artist.

I haven’t seen a woman photographer until I research Zanele Muholi’s name on the internet. I felt so special when I saw her work. Photography is all about men taking pictures and women are not there. There’s a lot of gender stereotyping in photography.

The reason why I do photography I want people to see it not for only men but for everyone.  It’s important for girls to do photography so that they can document their stories.  My friends ask me all the time about photography. They always ask me ‘how did you get it’. They also want to do it.

Before I thought you can only do photography at tertiary. I feel grateful about Lindeka. She’s patient, she can deal with us. I would feel so unhappy if she could leave us and go to Cape Town. She’s always with us she tells us to feel a camera, think about your picture no one should think for you.


2014 PhotoXP group photo_0557

Thando Methane seated in front row, far left…


Thando Methane – Grade 12

I live in Mapetla, Soweto with my parents. I learn a lot from photography I found family and friends.  I’m much more close to Lindeka. I didn’t know how to take a picture before Lindeka and Zanele came to our school. It was interesting.
I never thought of photography until Lindeka did her presentation.  Lindeka gave us photography basics she told us about a view finder, hold your camera ,  put a camera around your neck and arm.  She also told us about different angles and sides as well. It made a lot of confusion when I heard about them for the first time.

I want to study Journalism and I only thought about it not photography. When Zanele started the training with us I then thought of combining journalism and photography. I never thought journalism also needs photography.

My interest is to document women’s stories, our own history, linking apartheid with what’s happening in people’s lives. People need to understand that black people are still poor.

Lindeka asked us to take pictures of each other and it was great to see that person’s reflection. I felt proud and I asked myself whether I was able to do it. That process was revealing new Thando in me.

My uncle is a photographer he just takes them to make ends meet.
He never inspired me. I wanted to get an inspiration.

I would be happy if I can have a camera to see myself as a photographer.

When I researched Zanele  on the internet, I was like ‘damn this woman’.
I got inspired by Lindeka.  Now I am confident because of her. She really played a role in me. She is my mom, she’s very supportive, cares a lot,  she’s got a big heart.
She tolerates and patient with us.
She’s amazing.


Sindi & Nhlanhla_6524

Sindisiwe Ncube – Grade 12

I live in Mndeni South with my parents. Ma’am Linda Mankazana told us that there would   be people doing photography at our school and I became very interested.

I used to take pictures with my phone and I used to take different places and environment.  I decided to do photography because I like Media Studies and I can be behind the scenes.

Before Lindeka and Zanele came to school to tell us about photography I didn’t know anything about it.

I didn’t know what to do on my first time taking a picture but Lindeka told me to focus all the time. I shot a bus, a dirty place, goats and a cemetery. I was not sure of myself but Lindeka helped me.  She said using focus all the time is very important for your picture.

My mother was not happy about it when I told her that I’m doing photography at school. She thought it will make me tired and distract me from my books.
When ma’am Linda Mankazana came home and explained to her then she became soft. I also make sure I do everything in the house so that she can allow me to go and practice photography.

It was my first time to see a woman photographer. There are mostly men in photography and I believe as women we’re capable of doing everything, there’s no women’s or men’s work.

I am happy about photography also I learnt that a person is capable of doing anything you wish to do. I am confident about myself.

Lindeka is a very patient person. Our teachers get tired of us. She makes sure that you understand, she repeats it all the time. It’s really a good opportunity for me.

My friends from my community are surprise that I’m doing photography. It’s not something common in our communities to see a woman holding a camera.




Thobekile Zwane – Grade 11

I come from Jabulani, Soweto.
I live with my brothers. My mom passed away in 2005, I was still young at that time.

I feel so fortunate to be involved in Lindeka and Zanele’s group. I didn’t know Zanele before.  What she wants from a girl child is for her to know people, to communicate through photography. I was a soccer player before and I loved football. I didn’t know anything about photography at all and I didn’t bother …

The first time I shot a portrait, it was easy but shocking.

It’s interesting to do photography it has made me to understand things, see new things everyday, understand it as a career. I think about it all the time and I even told my brothers at home they are very supportive.  You can wake me up at 2am telling me to shoot, I will just slowly open my eyes then I will take the camera go and shoot.

I love shooting nature because it has four different seasons and in them you see different things. I feel very fortunate about this opportunity as a young woman from Soweto it has really changed me. I used to have bad friends but through photography I’ve managed to leave them and focus on me.

My brother has promised me to buy a camera and I’m happy. I will shoot everyday.

Lindeka is a mother to me. She understands us and she explains things thoroughly. 
I don’t want her to go I know her kids are in Cape Town.

I would like photography to be introduced as a subject in schools so that girls can have an opportunity to know about it. In my community some girls do ask me about photography and they want to be involved too.

Teacher Mankazana is my mom. I can say she’s my second mom because my mom died in 2006.
She gives me love that I don’t get.  She does things for me and she doesn’t get tired.
I love her.




Ntomb’futhi Shabalala – Grade 10

I live with my mom and my siblings in Dobsonville. I knew a bit about photography through my neighbour who is a photographer. We used to chill out and talk about it. He used to tell me that photography is about colour, capturing memories, people and things around you, also you going out.

There’s nothing wrong with my first picture because I’m a perfect and extra ordinary and I like extra ordinary things as well. I had to find a perfect position, focus because without focus there’s no picture.

Zanele and Lindeka came to introduce photography at my school to empower us girls. It’s a great opportunity for us here. I would like other girls to grab these kinds of opportunities.

I’m a painter and drawer and I’ve found a third love in photography and I consider myself as an artist.

Lindeka is my mother to me and she’s good in what she’s doing. My dream would to collaborate wither at some point.

Zanele has got fortitude; she bears whatever comes on her way.
I would like to own a camera but I know my mom won’t afford it.


2014 Aug 1 Group photo_7262


Related links

2014 Sept. 8: Manku and her niece buried next to each other

by Lerato Dumse
Photos by Kamo Petlele



2014 July 16: Through the eyes of young women photographers



2014 July 12: From Soweto to Paris for the love of photography




2014 July 13: ” Give children cameras not candies”




2014 Aug.1: InterGenerational conversation with current and future stars



2014 Aug. 30: Young aspiring photographers experimenting lithography



2014 Aug. 30: Insightful analysis from the guest speaker



2014 Aug. 28: Fine Artists on importance of being creative




2014 Sept. 8: Manku and her niece buried next to each other










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2014 Aug. 2: Vuyisile and Happy’s umembeso

by Luh Cele

Where: B Section, Umlazi Township

Firstly I would like to acknowledge and congratulate the bridegroom Happy Mchunu and bride Vuyisile Tshabalala for taking the next step in their relationship without any hesitation.

The true reflection of love between partners grows day by day and remains unconditional.

Happy and Vuyisile took the decision to marry and live happily ever after.

Living together as a couple before getting married is unacceptable in the Zulu culture.

Moreover homosexuals take the same route that is followed by heterosexuals in order to marry.

There is no alternative route, lesbian pay  ilobolo  like any other man, in order to be accepted by the bride’s family.

This is the route that Happy has decided to take, the day was well organized and it was maintained accordingly.

We were lucky to witness this tremendous day of ilobolo being paid with inkanyiso.org.

The attendance was amazing and everybody came in numbers. It was not only attended by homosexuals but also heterosexuals were there to support the host.

The mood was jovial and everybody was happy,  it was palpable. The elderly were singing, shrilling and performing the traditional Zulu dance “ukusina”.

The ceremony started about 12pm when everybody was ready to celebrate with both Happy and Vuyisile’s family.

amatshali best_7298

L-R:  Our lovely couple Vuyisile Tshabalala and Happy Mchunu on their festive occasion... attended by supportive families and friends...

L-R: Our lovely couple Vuyisile Tshabalala and Happy Mchunu on their festive occasion… attended by supportive families and friends… © Photo by Zanele Muholi

The bridegroom’s family came with blankets, and variety of food, drinks, vegetables, two live goats etc. The goats were well dressed in blankets, aprons and handkerchiefs etc.


When the bridegroom’s family was standing in the yard, the bride’s father came and welcomed the bridegroom’s family into his house.

The formal function of the bridegroom handing over gifts to the bride’s family was started by giving both her parents “MaMsibi mother of the bride and Tshabalala father of the bride”. Vuyisile is from a polygamy family which is so united and full of harmony.

omele ubaba kamakoti_7432

umama abathathu_7423

umama ekhala injabulo_7326

Umama shedding tears of joy…


In total thirty-one relatives received their gifts on this day. The list went on to the Msibi’s family.

After receiving their gifts they would sing from the bottom of their heart and there were tears of joy especially from Vuyisile’s mother.

It is normal for the mother of a girl to feel that way during Umembeso. The mother usually feels anxious, thinking if  umembeso will be successful or not, and if everybody is going to be satisfied or not.

Added by knowledge that very soon, her child is going to get married and she’s no longer going to be near her.

It is a point that the parent realises that their child has really grown up and is no longer a child but an adult.

When I went outside the yard I over heard the bridegroom’s conversation with her friends, I quote: “tell me, how are things going inside?” and the friend answered “everything is fine; it is going according to plan.”

The feeling is mutual when the bridegroom is waiting outside not knowing what is happening indoors, a person becomes very curious to know or see if everything is alright.

The receiving of gifts continued and they were all satisfied singing and shrilling conveying their gratitude to the bridegroom’s family.

After the whole ceremony of giving gifts, Tshabalala s  thanked the bridegroom’s family and directed everybody to the second session.

People settled on the side where the engagement was going to take place. The bride’s family was busy with refreshments and lunch.

People were so relaxed and enjoying their food. At that time the program director was welcoming Happy and Vuyisile to the front table which was beautifully prepared. They were accompanied by Happy’s friends.

Behind the scene the Tshabalala family was busy slaughtering the goats.

Dr (Pastor) Z. Zungu (VMCI) blessed the ring and also highlighted a few things about sexual orientation because she was aware that people are not familiar with that ceremony.

Pastor ZZ ebusisa amaringi _7620

Partners and Pastor ZZ & wife_7627

Dr  Z. Zungu said, “today I came to bless this engagement ring to tie these partners together and forever. After the post-apartheid government in 1994…, South African government legalized same sex marriage in 2006.”

The ceremony was accepted by both families and their relatives. I love the way Happy and Vuyisile’s friends showed their support.

abangani abahle_7564
Tk & Zhane_7651Friends, from left Zhane & Tk…

Phindi Boqo_7493Far right, Phindi Boqo came all the way from Klerksdorp to celebrate with couple as fellows and friends wishing them well…

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abo madam_7674

thuli nana & friends_7669

It was the best motivation for other LGBTI’s and for other families to see that this can happily happen, its not a curse but it’s all about love between two human beings.

The ceremony was phenomenal, attended by people who share different norms, colour, identities, caste, ages, socioeconomic status and cultural background that all blended well.

Looking at their facial expressions, the traditional attire, lesbians were wearing their best outfits and matched with their partners.

There were friends who grew up with Happy and Vuyisile, colleagues and friends from church that support them.
It is also known that this population is suspected of violating cultural gender norms from the cultural beliefs perspectives and the cultural norms.

We acknowledge that you’ve kept the cultural norms of paying lobola as it is.  We will never forget your special day and we are happy that as Inkanyiso we were chosen to document this day for you.

We really appreciate it and we are looking forward to the big day…


Vuyisile’s relatives…

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2014 Aug. 11: My experiences of Paris, Mpumalanga and Durban Gay Pride

Posted in 2nd August 2014, B Section Umlazi township, Beautiful people, Celebration, Commitment, Dr (Pastor) Z. Zungu (VMCI), Education, Elegance, Engagement rings, Families and Friends, Fashion, Friendships, Gifts, Good food, Happy Mchunu, Ilobolo, Laughter, LGBTIs, Love, Motivation, Our Zulu Pride, Pastor Z. Zungu of VMCI, Promise to marry, Relationships, Supportive friends and families, Traditional zulu songs, VMCI congregants, Vuyisile Tshabalala, Well organized event, Witnesses, Zulu traditional ceremony | Tagged , | 13 Comments

2014 Sept. 9: Song, dance and laughter followed by tears

by Lerato Dumse

“Whose Streets, Our Streets!” was chanted by members of the LGBT community as they marched around the streets of Boipatong township in the Vaal on September 6.

The marchers were ordered to stay clear of the pavement, as a display of reclaiming the streets.

The event marked the second year of the annual Vaal pride, which is where the LGBTI and apartheid struggle icon Simon Nkoli grew up.

Motshewa Mako, founder of Vaal LGBT organisation which was responsible for the event, said although they don’t have a problem with hate crimes, they are in solidarity with the entire South African LGBT community in raising awareness.

She said leaders such as Simon laid a firm foundation in the fight against homophobia.

Although it is not clear why the metro police from the Emfuleni Municipality did not show up to direct the marchers, marshals successfully led the crowed, handing out pamphlets to curious residents who came out of their homes to see what was happening.

The marchers stopped at the intersection of Babedi and Lekoa Street, where the newly built Boipatong Massacre Monument is located.

A candle light, moment of silence and prayer in memory of hate crime victims such a Gift Makau who was buried two weeks prior was observed.

With that complete, the march proceeded back to the starting point at the Boipatong Stadium, for speeches, performances and an afternoon filled with celebration and laughter.

Shaka Radebe, Member of the Mayoral Committee in the Department of Sports Recreation Arts and Culture told the crowed they should not march alone as LGBT people, but rather make it a community march.

He said government doesn’t view the LGBT community as being different from other citizens, and urged the hosting organisation to decide whether they want to include the I in LGBT or not.

After giving a historical background about Simon Nkoli being the founder of Glow and his participation in the South African liberation movement.

Radebe added that it was discussed during their meeting on September 3, that Simon would be made the gay icon in Africa.

With the sun setting it was time to disperse, and some people made their way to another venue where the after party was held.

However on September 8, a statement was released by the Vaal LGBT organisation stating.

“Today we are torn and heart-broken, to inform you of the passing of Busisiwe Ngobese. She was involved in a car accident driving from the stadium to the after-party. It is alleged that she had three passengers with her, two of them are admitted at Sebokeng Hospital…
Awile amaqabane.


Photo of Busisiwe Nhlapo, as found on Vaal LGBT facebook page.

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2014 Aug. 9: Celebrating Women

By Lerato Malibe-Ntlatlane

As we know that August is women’s month. We celebrate who we are as women; we celebrate the battles we have won. We celebrate the strength that God has given us, despite the pains. We celebrate women who fought against the apartheid system in this country, we celebrate our mothers, our sisters and our daughters.

This month as the LGBTI community, we celebrate women who stand fearlessly against injustice. We are celebrating women who are standing tall against homophobia. We are celebrating women who are saying enough is enough and will not hide who they are because of ignorant people.

This month I celebrate mothers who have accepted their gay children, who support and love them endlessly. This month I celebrate lesbian mothers, who against all judgement do not hide their children and raise them with love. This month I celebrate women.

This month I remember women who died in the hands of men who think they are God. I remember victims of hate crime, whose blood have been shared in the name of intolerance and hate. I celebrate all survivors of hate crime; many have been raped in the name of making them straight. Women who are standing tall and say despite all, we will not live a lie. I remember mothers who have buried their beloved children, children who were brutally murdered because of being gay.

I remember women who are hated, who are judged and mocked because they look like men. I celebrate women who have answered to natures call for their lives. I celebrate all our single parents, those who came out strong from being abused by people who once loved them. I celebrate women.

I celebrate women who have made it through the rough times, who broke through the pains, who put the pierces of their hearts together, who despite physical pain wiped their tears and marched on.

I remember those who coach us, who hold us by the hand when it gets tough, those who constantly remind us that the journey of life is not an easy road.

The world calls us by names, some say we are possessed, some same we are crazy, some say we are desperate – but no, we are true to how we have been created.

I may be mocked for marrying a woman, talked about for having a kid- yet I stand tall and many like me… I celebrate.


Author’s bio

Lerato Malibe-Ntlatlane is a freelancing columnist, a Performance Management Specialist and a Law student who aims to focus on human rights. She is the founder of Divine Image Ministry, a ministry that focuses of the spiritual growth specific all for gay people.
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2014 March 5: Lesbian Femmes and Bags







Posted in Black lesbian visibility, Black Lesbians, Black Queer & Gifted, Blessings, Celebrating Women, Human rights, Hurt, I Am, Identity, Lerato Malibe-Ntlatlane, Lesbian Femmes and Bags, LGBTI community, Remembering, Self-worth, Sharing, Social responsibility, Society, Solidarity, South African National Women's Month, Talented, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources, Wishing you well, Woman, Womanhood, Women loving women, Women's power, Women's Pride, Women's struggles, Women's Work, Women; Voices; Writings; Education; Traditions; Struggles; Cultures, Womenonwomen, Womyn, Words, Writing is a Right, Young talent, young women, Youth, Youth voices | Leave a comment