|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
PRESS RELEASE & CALL TO ACTION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vigil Protests for Lesbian Rape & Murder Victim, Noxolo Nogwaza, as South African LGBT Groups and Activists Call upon Honorable Minister Jeff Radebe, DOJCD to Speak out Against Corrective Rape & President Zuma to Recall Jon Qwelane.
“Research conducted in the Western Cape indicates that 86% of black lesbians live in fear of sexual assault because of the high prevalence of corrective rape in the area,” (South Africa)
A collaboration of NGO’s, Grassroots Activists, Service providers from the USA and South Africa join in Solidarity - as Protests around South Africa are being planned calling for a unified message.
LGBT Communities are holding vigils in South Africa and abroad for Noxolo Nogwaza, the 24 year old lesbian, whose tortured and savagely beaten body was found in an alley in Kwa-Tema South Africa. The vigils shall take the form of protests, in solidarity and to express outrage at the endemic nature of so called “corrective” rape in South African Townships.
In March 2011, Luleki Sizwe, represented by Ndumie Funda and Melanie Nathan, with Benjamin Joffe Watt of Change.org participated in a meeting with Mr. Tlali Tlali of the DOJCD at Parliament, Cape Town. The honorable Minister of Justice Mr. Jeff Radebe who said he would be at the meeting, did not attend because of a high profile criminal arrest that day.
Luleki Sizwe proposed an ongoing commission to explore, legislate and implement reforms for prevention, health and safety of lesbian victims of so called “corrective rape” and to bring public awareness and education to local communities. The Department of Justice & Constitutional Development and the National Prosecutorial Authority agreed to follow through and so they set the stage for a second meeting to be held May 03, 2011.
Melanie Nathan, Ambassador to Africa has been in contact with local grassroots groups and activists, stating “In the wake of this May 03, meeting and the brutal corrective rape and murder of 24 year old, Noxolo, the second such crime, in the same area, in a matter of one month, activists are unified in protest and a call to action, alongside the vigils for the latest two victims:-
1. We protest the brutal rapes and slaughter of our young sisters who like anyone else have the legal right to pursue their happiness, with maximum protection of the law;
2. We Ask the South African Government to keep their word and step up the call to action via the Commission to explore and effect reforms in terms of the meeting held in parliament between Luleki Sizwe and the Department of Justice on March 14, 2011 and to continue on May 3rd, 2011 to move rapidly toward educating the public, enforcement, hate crimes legislation, harsh bail and sentencing laws, instituting reforms for the health and safety of victim;
3. We ask Minister Radebe to make a statement in condemnation of the CULTURE of rape against all women and specifically corrective rape of lesbians. The Leaders of South Africa are called upon to make bold statements condemning these actions as un-african and contrary to the South African post apartheid Constitution.
4. Additionally, Minister Radebe must step forward to make a statement imploring upon the men of South Africa to refrain from rape of all women and to tell the South African people that it is unconstitutional to oppress sexual minorities. Unlike the era of apartheid all are equal under the Constitution and that we are all entitled to love who we choose.
5. To express and guarantee that South Africa will enact legislation to make crimes against sexual minorities hate crimes with stiffer sentences and harsh bail requirements.
6. We insist President Zuma recall homophobic ambassador Jon Qwelane from Uganda as a matter of urgency before the expiration of this Parliamentary session in Uganda, as a sign of solidarity to our sisters who have died under a culture where anti-gay sentiment is rampant and in direct conflict with South Africa’s progressive Constitution and promise for a future without oppression.
7. We will protest and stand vigil everywhere - until the Hon. Mr. Jeff Radebe makes a statement and President Jacob Zuma recalls Qwelane and renounces homophobia in South Africa and the rest of the African Continent.
Anyone organizing a vigil or willing to sign on in solidarity, from anywhere in the world, has been invited to communicate so that protestors are made aware of events and solidarity is passed on to family and local groups. firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Protests are in Planning for:
Pretoria Executive Branch Building
Parliament Building, Cape Town
The Constitutional Court, Johannesburg
South African Embassy, New York,/ Los Angeles
South African Embassy/ Consuls around the World