Lindokuhle Cela was brutally murdered on the 8th of February last year by Mvuyisi Noguda who pleaded guilty when he appeared in court on the 10th of February 2020. Lindo was a young gay man, a musician and an LGBTQI+ activist, his death shocked many people and highlighted the continued hateful crimes committed against LGBTQI+ people.
Isibani Civil society Forum is dedicated to politically advocate for the LGBTQI+ community. The forum was founded by Bulelani Mzila a gender non-conforming political activist based in Pietermaritzburg. He says “The LGBTQI+ community continue to face marginalization because of no political representation or a political voice. It is alarming that even after 27 years of democracy, there is still no political representation. It is with this in mind that the civil society forum was established and seek to highlight issues faced by the community”. As part of their advocacy work, the forum dedicates itself to continue lobbying those who have political power.
During the trial KwaZulu Natal MEC of Social Development, Nonhlanhla Khoza, expressed that there must be justice for Lindo. This presence quickly vanished and the LGBTQI+ community was again left to stand on their own.
Isibani Civil Society Forum reached out to the MEC and she made this statement “ The attacks directed at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA+) Community remains a serious concern in our province and the country at large. Behind these attacks are people who want to dictate to others how they should live their lives. The extent of violence directed at people belonging to this community calls for all of us to stand up and double our efforts at educating our community to respect LGBTQIA+ community.
We are very concerned that despite our efforts to educate communities about respect for human rights, including the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals, we still encounter cases of violence directed at them. Recently, in this province, we saw a brutal attack of a young woman from Kwa-Mashu Township, whose only “crime” was being a lesbian. She was found sexually assaulted‚ beaten up and her eyes gouged out just because of her sexual orientation. Her ordeal was believed to have been an act of a “corrective rape” by some cruel individuals. This was a despicable violation of human rights and a crime, which needs all involved to be imprisoned for life.
Equally, this month, also marks a year since the murder of a well-known gay rights activist and musician Lindokuhle Cele of Umlazi Township. Cele was murdered in February 2020 for being gay. Although the criminals involved in these horrible incidents were caught and arrested, we still want them to be given stiff sentence. The Department of Social Development and the entire government has been leading a number of campaigns to fight these crimes, but offenders continue in their triail of destruction. What we have notice that in many instances these criminals were either people known to the victim or from the victim’s community.
As the Department, we continue to receive information about abuse of LGBTQIA+ individuals. One of the challenges is that victims delay to report threats. These delays resulted in LGBTQIA+ being actually attacked and some even violated. As the Department we are convinced that all these attacks occurred because of intolerance of others sexual orientation and beliefs.”
In 2020 Isibani developed a memorandum in consultation with the LGBTQI+ community. The memorandum highlights the importance of Safety. There have been many engagements on secondary victimisation that have shown statistics of why the community does not report hate crimes and this highlights the importance for Ward Committees to have persons from LGBTQI+ communities in their structures, so that they are a first response to hate crimes at ground/community level.
As we head for local elections, political parties must remember the brutal murder of Lindo. They have to remember that we exist and continue to face marginalisation because of who we are. We also call for the tabling of the Hate Crimes Bill at national parliament because this bill will address the misogyny that the community experiences. As Isibani,, we thank the MEC for her urgency and taking time to our request and we hope that other government officials will heed the call to end discrimination.