2013 Jan. 1: *The choke of grief

by Unoma Azuah  

I invoke their names:

Desire Ntombana

Mandisa Mbambo

Phumeza Nkolonzi

Thapelo Makutle

Neil Daniels

Sanna Supa

Sasha Lee Gordon

Hendrietta Morifi

Nokuthula Radebe

Noxolo Nogwaza

Nqobile Khumalo

Ntsiki Tyatyeka

Tshuku Ncobo

Milicent Gaika survives

But the list lingers

A cascade of lives lived and loved

Plump fruits crushed

on the barren bough of hate

Their lives thumb my prayer beads

Sorrow mutes my plea to heaven

I choke on their mangled bones

I choke on their mangled bodies

Strangled, raped, clubbed, shot

Beaten, tortured, slashed with

Knives of blunt hunt

Carved beyond the hearts of animals

But these are my family

The pain is the heat of burning meat

Flesh charred on the flames of bigotry

These are my clan whose bodies have been

Scarred by the claws of hate

Girly Nkosi

Eudy Simelane

Khanyiswa Hani

Sibongile Mphelo

Daisy Dube

Madoe Mafubedu

Thokozane Qwabe

Salome Masooa

Sizakele Sigasa

Zoliswa Nkonyana

Mpho Setshedi……….

These are my family

As their ashes circle my anguish

Their names swell with the whirlwinds

I choke in my grief

And watch their spirits

roll off the slabs of the slain

And rise

like a burst of butterflies

into the horizon

These are my kindred

If there’s a God, she must hear

my cry for justice.

© 2012

*This poem is dedicated to my Queer family, victims of the brutal hate crimes in South Africa:
Sihle (19), stabbed to death by a group of gangster in Philip township, Cape Town;
Phumeza (22), lesbian, shot three times in her home in front of her grandmother, in Mau Mau, Nyanga, Cape Town;
Mandisa (33), stabbed to death and allegedly raped at her home in Inanda township, Durban
Thapelo (24), gay man, brutally murdered in Kuruman, Northern Cape;
Neil, transgender person, murdered in Cape Town;
Sanna (28), lesbian, shot dead in her home in Soweto; Sasha, trans woman, stabbed to death in Wynberg;
Hendrietta (29), aka Andritha, lesbian, murdered in her home in Polo Park, Mokopane in Limpopo;
Nokuthula (20), lesbian, strangled with one of her shoelaces in Everest;
Noxolo (24), lesbian, brutally beaten to death in Kwa-Thema, Johannesburg;
Nqobile (23), lesbian, murdered, her body found in a shallow grave near her parents’ home in KwaMashu, Durban;
Ntsiki (21), lesbian, murdered, her decomposed body was discovered a few metres from her home in Nyanga East, Cape Town; Tshuku(26), found dead, believed to have committed suicide;
Girly  (37), lesbian, stabbed and died of her injuries in KwaThema, Springs;
Eudy (31), lesbian, raped and murdered in KwaThema, Springs;
Khanyiswa (Lhoyie) (25), stabbed and murdered in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth;
Sibongile (21), raped, her vagina mutilated, shot and killed in Strand, Cape Town;
Daisy, trans woman in her 20s, shot dead in Yeoville, Johannesburg;
Madoe (16), lesbian, raped and stabbed to death in Kliptown, Soweto;
Thokozane (23), lesbian, stoned to death in KwaZulu-Natal;
partners Salome (23), lesbian mother, and Sizakele (34), lesbian, both raped, tortured and murdered in Meadowlands, Soweto;
Zoliswa (19), lesbian, stoned to death in Khayelitsha, Cape Town;
Mpho (27), lesbian soccer player, shot dead in her home in Yeoville, Johannesburg;
Millicent (31), lesbian, suffered ‘curative rape’ and severely beaten in Gugulethu, Cape Town.
She is a survivor.

About the author:
Unoma N. Azuah is a poet, a writer, a literary scholar, an activist and a College Professor. She earned acclaim through her writing and through her research on sexuality and LGBT issues in Nigeria.

This entry was posted in Activism, Arts, Black Lesbians, Community, Documentation; Filming; Photography; Community, Expression, Networking, Queer Africa, Visual history, Women; Voices; Writings; Education; Traditions; Struggles; Cultures. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to 2013 Jan. 1: *The choke of grief

  1. Paballo Biblos David Mofokeng says:

    Speechless as it breaks my heart

  2. charmain carrol says:

    Just got choked by the list of names.
    You dont realise how many of our sisters and brothers have fallen prey to the brutality of other human beings until you see the stats.

    Thank you Unoma Azuah.


  3. Funo Ndlangamandla says:

    This is great darlng u ar doing a wonderfl job big up to u,umoya wabo ulale ngoxolo my fellow brothers nd sisters…..#teary eyes#

  4. smallZ says:

    OMG dis is so sad. How do u kill a human being just like that??? Don’t they fear God????? May their souls rest in peace.

  5. D.C. says:

    This is so sad…so many names…in one of the only African countries where being gay is actually legal.

  6. Pingback: » QueerPunxBelgium

  7. Kgomotso says:

    Where is our world going to? With such inhuman brutality? It really pains me to even think what their families went through. Being killed 4 your sexuality. When will this come to an end????

  8. Dominique says:

    Choked, I feel the sadness for all these victims and the anger of the injustice which is ongoing. Each single act that is informing and a step toward change, we need to stand together and hold the responsible accountable, all the bigots, all the legislators that ignore.

  9. Jewel says:

    I came to your “2013 Jan. 1: *The choke of grief | inkanyiso.org” page and noticed you could have a lot more traffic. I have found that the key to running a website is making sure the visitors you are getting are interested in your subject matter. There is a company that you can get traffic from and they let you try it for free. I managed to get over 300 targetted visitors to day to my website. Visit them today: http://bag.sh/16M

  10. Pingback: Foot For Love » Inkanyiso – le blog des lesbiennes qui résistent en Afrique du Sud

  11. Fezile Msomi says:

    Touching indeed…

    As i read the list it brought tears to my face as my late partner was mentioned…thank you for the heart that wrote this.

  12. Pingback: 2013 Aug. 31: Black Lesbian Visual Activist wins Mbokodo award | inkanyiso.org

  13. Torrizona says:

    Am shocked and said that people are killed for being lesbian/gay. Its a shame that our govermnt dsnt do a thing about such incidents. I mean taking someone’s life cause of who they are. God knows whats what when why and how……

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s