#JusticeForLulu protest calls for better protection of LGBTQIA+ community
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Cape Town – Hundreds of people showed up to protest against LGBTQIA+ hate-crimes and murders that have recently taken place, particularly that of Andile “Lulu” Ntuthela.
The body of Ntuthela, 40, was discovered this week in a shallow grave at the house of the man who allegedly murdered her in KwaNobuhle in Uitenhage.
The man charged for his murder appeared in court this week.
The #JusticeForLulu protest, which started at CPUT, had people marching to Parliament to handover a memorandum of demands related to the Hate Crime Bill.
Film-maker, activist and organiser Tutu Zondo said the LGBTQIA+ community was suffering.
“We’re being gruesomely killed, raped and not treated as equal members of society. We live in an incredible country that has laws and rights for LGBTQIA+ people but our lived experiences don’t always reflect that.
“South Africa is one of the leading countries when it comes to correctional rape against lesbian women, and the average lifespan of a black trans woman is only 35 – almost half the average of the average South African. Something needs to be done.”
One of the demands that were included in the memorandum was for Parliament to fast track the enacting of the Hate Crimes Bill, and also for a debate on Hate Crimes – specifically directed to the LGBTQIA+ rights.
Other demands included:
- Hold public hearings for a strong awareness and education on queer bodies.
- Parliamentarians to speak out and condemn these gruesome murders.
- Parliament to facilitate a dialogue between traditional, religious leaders and other stakeholders in order to find long term solutions to protecting LGBTQIA+ people in communities.
- Sensitising of the police and uprooting homophobia in this law enforcement agency that is meant to protect all citizens.
- Harsher punishments for those who commit hate crimes and hate speech
- Community leaders and councillors to condemn these murders
- Bail to be opposed to those who commit such crimes
Dr Nyx McLean, a researcher of LGBTIAQ+ identities, explained that hate crimes are rooted in an irrational fear and hatred towards LGBTIAQ+ people.
“Murders, in particular, say something about how deeply pathological this fear and hatred is – to be so entirely threatened by an LGBTIAQ+ person that you take their life from them. This requires a serious intervention at all levels in society, beyond laws and policies.
“Homophobia does not prove your masculinity as a cisgender heterosexual man in the world,” they said.
“If men were truly comfortable in their sense of self in the world, they would not be threatened by LGBTIAQ+ people – or women as we see with gender based violence. We need men to stand up and hold each other accountable.”
NGO Iranti said that the Nelson Mandela Bay LGBTQIA+ Sector held a community meeting in KwaNobuhle in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape, where attendees said police did not take LGBTQIA+ cases seriously and they were often told that cases were closed when they followed up.
“Community members pointed to poor investigations and a lack of sensitivity among police officers when dealing with such cases. The community resolved to have a meeting with the station commander next Tuesday.”
Sibusiso Kheswa, programme officer at Iranti said the organisation called on the government to work together to ensure justice is served to the families of those who lost their loved ones.
“Many of these cases are closed by SAPS and the NPA without thorough investigations thus sending a message that LGBTQIA+ lives don’t matter,” Kheswa said.
The NGO also highlighted that this comes after the murder of Sphamandla Khoza, a gay man from Inanda in Durban, who was brutally murdered in a suspected LGBTQIA+ hate crime.
Nathaniel Mbele, known as Spokgoane, was found stabbed in the chest on April 2 in Tshirela, near Vanderbijlpark in the Vaal area of Gauteng.
In March, the body of a lesbian woman, Nonhlanhla Kunene, was found lying near a primary school in Pietermaritzburg after she was raped and murdered.
*Additional reporting by Shakirah Thebus.