Texts by Kopano Sibeko and Lesego Tlhwale
Photos by Zanele Muholi
Duduzile is a Nguni name which means comfort.
It is a pity that instead of the deceased family getting the support and comfort they needed from concerned citizens, the Zozo’s left the Hall destitute and probably confused.
What started as the most organized and decent gathering to honor the life of the latest slain hate crime victim, Duduzile Zozo ended up chaotic due to power struggles and projected polit(ri)cks.
It is the afternoon in Thokoza Township, Ekurhuleni, East of Johannesburg. More than 300 people attended the memorial service of Duduzile Zozo in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The event was dominated by the ANC Women’s League and protesters who were earlier encouraged to wear the parties’s t-shirts and join the march. They took over the streets of Thokoza ululating and singing struggle songs like
“koze kube nini,
awe awe awe…
The march began at Zozo’s family home, proceeded through some local streets and then passed the abandoned building where Nokuthula Radebe’s dead body was discovered in March 2011.
At the end of a long walk, supportive crowds entered the Church Hall not the Thokoza Youth Centre where the memorial was supposed to be held. The hall was quickly filled by also people from the community, LGBTI groups and the youth came out in numbers.
Some of the LGBTI organisations present were Inkanyiso; Iranti-org; Forum For The Empowerment of Women (FEW) and Ihawu lesbian organisation which was quite instrumental by helping the Zozo family with the funeral arrangements.
The service was opened with a prayer by Pastor Teboho Sentoeli.
After that, the mood became very tense when clashes as to who is suppose to speak first between LGBTI groups and political parties, in particular ANC.
“I am frustrated by the excitement and hype around Duduzile’s funeral, it feels as if we are in a political rally, or maybe its because next year is the election“, said Phindi Malaza of FEW.
From the side lines it seemed like the ANC wanted to take over the whole event. However, Magoloza who represented the LGBTI youth in Thokaza, took matters into her own hands by reminding the ANC delegates that the memorial service was not a place to rally for votes, but a place to mourn.
Magoloza’s statement was echoed by Nokhwezi Hoboyi from FEW who also lashed at the ANC Women’s Leagues for only being present in this space because it is now nearing the 2014 elections, happening next year.
“If the ANC government does to you what the apartheid government did to you, do to the ANC what it did to the apartheid government” she said, quoting the speech that former President Nelson Mandela delivered in 1993, shortly before the ousting of apartheid.
“I am not shaken” these were the words uttered by Ayanda Magoloza expressing her displeasure with Political parties sudden interest and reaction to Duduzile Zozo’s recent brutal killing.
She further emphasised that Zozo’s death was turned into a political frenzy.
On Monday 8th July 2013, Democratic Alliance organised a commemorative walk. of remembrance to pay respect to the family Duduzile Zozo. DA’s Lindiwe Mazibuko went to the Thokoza with her entourage in blue saying, “I have come to Thokoza today to show solidarity with the family, loved ones and friends of Duduzile Zozo. most importantly, I want to listen today to your concerns and reflections.”
Two day later, ANC Womens League organised their on march also condemning the senseless killing of Zozo.
The ANC march was the fourth march held since the death of Zozo. The first two memorial marches were held a week earlier by members of he community and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) organisations.
Magoloza said, “as the LGBTI community we appreciate the support shown by the political parties; however, we are sceptical about it, because you might be doing this only because of the media attention given to this case. What will happen when all of this die down, will you still come rally with us?” she asked.
Makhosazana Maluleka, MEC of Health in Ekhuruleni said “we are a caring government” in response to concerns raised by LGBTI groups.
Maluleka expresses that the ANC did not come foward as opportunist’s, but they came because they are a caring government and they want to support the family.
The MCC went on to introduce the ANC delegates who she described as ‘very important guests’.
Faith Mazibuko MEC of Community Safety in Gauteng, Nokuthula Skhakhane Chairperson of Agriculture, and Jacob Kawe Chairperson of the Communist Party were some of the guests the MCC introduced.
However, before any of the ‘important guest’ could address the attentive crowd a group of young people supposingly from the ANC youth league stormed into the full hall chanting songs of struggles.
The group disrupted proceedings by storming in the hall and dancing on top of tables. The message in their song was that they fight for their rights.
The commotion caused by the youth league caused confusion for people inside the hall. While some joined the chanting, some people started leaving the hall as they were unsure as to what was going to happen next.
A couple of minutes later the crowd made their way out of the hall into the street and embarked on an illegal protest.
With that, the memorial service ended without the ANC delegates talking or anyone else who followed in the program.
Luckily Zozo’s family members were able to talk before the disruption. Though it was short, the family thanked everyone who have given support to them in their time of distress.
The funeral will take place on the 13 July 2013 and service to commence
at 8h30, the venue is Church Hall, Khumalo Street in Thokoza.
On Wednesday night the family still struggled to put together the finances necessary to bury their daughter. We reported about that challenge after the family pleaded with fellow South Africans to please assist them with anything they are able to offer. Les Dégommeuses, a feminist organization and friends based in Paris, France donated R7500- towards the burial. For sure there are some local organisations who came on board to help the Zozo’s at this time of sadness.
What we have to work on next is to ensure that the family gets a decent home afterwards since they live in a one room shack that is too small to accommodate a family of more than 6 human beings.
2013 July 10: Photos from Duduzile Zozo’s memorial service
2013 July 10: When brutally killed, Dudu was stripped every ounce of her dignity
2013 July 3: Another brutal murder of a lesbian