by Lerato Dumse
Exactly two years after her tragic killing, Noxolo Nogwaza‘s family and friends are still searching for answers.
Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee (EPOC) together with Amnesty International hosted a commemoration service on Wednesday, 24th April 2013. The day coincided with the period when she was killed in 2011. Inkanyiso documented the whole funeral of Nogwaza in 2011 and continued to do so even at the commemoration on Wednesday.
The 24 year old lesbian’s body was found in a ditch in Tsakane, East of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni. Her face crushed with bricks, it was also alleged that her pants were pulled down and she was raped in what is described as a hate crime.
Wednesday’s event was a far cry from the attention and support that Noxolo’s story generated from the media and politicians.
Mayor Mondli Gungubele and Premier Nomvula Mokonyane attended separate memorial services in 2011 and made promises not yet fulfilled.
The local Ward councilor known as Ivy also couldn’t come on Wednesday and sent a representative. The Police have never bothered to attend any of the events, even when they were on the programmes as main speakers.
Speaking for EPOC, Media and communication officer Bontle Khalo says they have been to the police station on numerous times. “We have never received positive feedback from police, trying to inquire over the phone is an even bigger nightmare.
We handed over a memorandum to the safety MEC at the Kwa-Thema police station in 2011, there has been no response since” says Khalo. Her experience is no different from that of Dikeledi Sibanda, from the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) who is working on Nokuthula Radebe’s case. In March 2011, Nokuthula, a 20 year old lesbian was killed in a neighboring township (Thokoza) less than a month before Noxolo Nogwaza in 2011.
The sentiments of loss and continuous grief were shared by both families.
They tried to do follow ups hoping for some justice to be done. The memorial was hosted next to where Noxolo’s body was found.
Luyanda Mthembu who attended previous commemoration said it’s sad to see no changes had been done. “The politicians promised to clean this area, erect a tombstone but now they have all disappeared”, concludes Mthembu.
Most of the people I spoke to remember the promise of a tombstone, and nothing about working towards apprehending the culprits.
Balloons and messages of solidarity were written on Wednesday. Khalo admits that as an organization more radical action is needed from EPOC not forgetting organisations who are working on LGBT and human rights issues.
One cannot forget the incident of another lesbian former Banyana Banyana player Eudy Simelane, was killed on the same weekend as Noxolo Nogwaza on the 27th April 2008.
The two murders happened about 5km from each other, under similar circumstances. Asked about the support or assistance given to Nogwaza’s family. Bontle talks about lawyers, who have agreed to work pro bono and the lawyer’s success in preventing the case from being an informal to formal inquest.
As South Africans prepare to celebrate 19 Years of Independence since 1994: Freedom Day on Saturday the 27th April 2013.
The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex (LGBTI) community of Ekurhuleni and allies, is preparing to bury yet another lesbian.
Patricia Mashigo (28 Feb. 1977 to 21 April 2013).
She was callously body murdered in Daveyton, Johannesburg on the 21st April 2013.
This latest incident again raises the question of freedom, and when will the LGBTI community see and enjoy this freedom.
More photos on:
Inkanyiso fb photo gallery
2013 April 24: Noxolo Nogwaza’s commemoration
Previous articles by Lerato featured in Blacklooks and Freegender sites