Khumbulani Pride march remembers victims of hate crimes

In a country where the Bill of Rights is meant to protect the rights of sexual minorities, members of the LGBTI+ community still have to march against hate crimes.

The march in Gugulethu remembered those killed for their sexual orientation and raised a number of unsolved cases with the police.

On Saturday, over 300 people marched from the Zolani Centre, throughout Gugulethu and handed over a memorandum of demands at the Nyanga Police Station. Rainbow coloured flags and outfits stood out as activists and members of the LGBTQIA+ community sang, and held banners with messages to remember those who have been silenced in hate crimes. 

The Khumbulani Pride march was organised by the Triangle Project and Free Gender and is celebrating its eleventh year since it was first held. Vinolia Sidukwana told Elitsha that it is always an honour for them as the Triangle Project to collaborate with organisations on matters affecting queer people. “Khumbulani Pride is a commemoration of our  siblings who were killed due to hate crimes. We’re doing this march to make people aware of hate crimes against the queer community,” said Sidukwana. 

Renowned queer activist, Funeka Soldaat, who took part in the march, said they still had a long way to go as the LGBTQIA+ community. “Khumbulani Pride is personal for me, as a survivor of hate crimes. We launched the project in 2013, to remember the damage caused by these homophobic crimes to the families of young lesbians and other queer people. Over the years, the march has made us visible and people are comfortable about themselves now. There is also some pocket of society that supports us. We are celebrated now, by other organisations that deal with gender-based violence and human rights issues,” Soldaat told Elitsha

She added that the biggest hope was to see Khumbulani Pride being viewed as a project for the whole community. “We want the community behind us, saying ‘hands off’ our children. We have also managed to urge SAPS to take our cases seriously. We still have a long way to go, however, because even in Nyanga, the station commander was not there to receive the memorandum, although they were aware of us coming,” she told Elitsha. 

Addressing the queer community inside Zolani Centre, Soldaat said, “We started here ten years ago, that’s why we started here again. We were being killed and attacked everyday. Even coming to this march, some of us were insulted. We have no crime by being how we are. We’re here to remember what our sisters and brothers have gone through. We still have incidents of lesbians being raped, and some are even ashamed to go to the police and open cases. We must support each other, as much as we come from different backgrounds. Activism is not about going to court all the time, it’s about saying no.” 

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Anele Ligunya, an activist from Free Gender said, they went to Nyanga Police Station to put pressure on the police regarding cases of their peers who were killed and have not seen any progress. “We are still being discriminated against by the justice system; there is a lack of effective care, no prioritising, prosecution and investigation of hate crime cases. As queer people, we still lack access to healthcare services. We are still facing high rates of murder and violence especially in townships,” said Ligunya. 

She said as much as the constitution states that queer people are recognised and enjoy equal rights, their experience on the ground suggests otherwise. “The reality is that these laws are not being implemented as they should be, especially in our communities. So, not much is being done by the government to champion the rights of queer people,” she added. 

In their memorandum, the organisations say they remember individuals who were killed because of their sexual orientation and sexual identity. “We demand an update on two cases that have been cold for years . Firstly, the case of Noxolo Nkosana who was stabbed four times in June 2011 in Crossroads. Also, the case of Phumeza Nkolonzi, who was shot three times in front of her grandmother in Mau Mau, Nyanga; her grandmother passed away this year still waiting for justice for her granddaughter. We demand clarity on these cases and for the station commander to acknowledge them,” their memorandum reads. During the event, a moment of silence in memory of queer activist, Linda Ntlanga who passed on earlier this month was observed. 

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Lt Col Wynand Muller, in receiving the memorandum, committed that he will be in contact with the marchers within the coming days after meeting with the station commander. “I will speak to the station commander during the week and discuss your demands, and we will have a response for you within seven working days,” he told the marchers. 

Reverend Golden Bunny from Metro MCC in Goodhope addressed the gathering. “I’m originally from Uganda, a homophobic country. I managed to escape that into a safe country. Too often, our brothers have faced violence because of who they are. Silence is not our destiny. I speak for love, for equality and justice. We remember those who have been silenced. We honour them using our voices. We pause, to remember those who have been silenced by hatred and prejudice. Their lives were unjustly cut short. We will not let their silence be in vain. Together we must ensure, no one is ever silenced again,” said Bunny. He led a prayer in their remembrance.

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About Chris Gilili 70 Articles
Chris Gilili, a 23 year old freelance journalist based in East London. Graduated from Walter Sisulu University media studies school in 2015. Had a stint with Independent Media, in sports writing. Passionate about news and the media.