Men Jailed For Murder Of Lesbian Woman In South Africa
Four men have been given an 18-year jail sentence for stabbing and stoning Zoliswa Nkonyana, a 19 year old openly gay woman from Khayelitsha, a small village near Cape Town.
Sarah MacShane, WVoN co-editor
She was murdered in what was clearly a homophobic attack.
Even though South Africa has a liberal constitution and is the only country in Africa where same-sex marriage is permitted, violence against homosexuals in South Africa is prevalent; more than 30 lesbians have been killed in the past 10 years according to gay activists.
The constitution ‘protects people from discrimination based on sexuality’ but lesbians are often subjected to ‘corrective rape’ by men who think it will ‘cure’ their homosexuality.
The sentence has been welcomed by many gay activists as it is the first of its kind to recognise a murder committed because of someone’s sexual orientation.
Jill Henderson from Triangle Project– a non-governmental organisation that fights for the rights of gays and lesbians in Khayelitsha said the ruling ‘set a precedent’ as it was the first criminal trial to ‘name hate and intolerance on the basis of sexual orientation as an aggravating factor’.
The magistrate said it was clear that the motive was hatred and homophobia and that the ruling sends out a message that ‘violence based on sexual orientation will not be tolerated’.