Two years after Noxolo's murder, stand by LGBTI activists in South Africa

Thank you for your messages - we have passed these on to our research team in South Africa who will be using them this Wednesday at an anniversary event. We've now closed comments on the blog as we won't be able to send any new messages over in time.

When I visited South Africa in 2010 I found a land of contrasts. Sparkling modern architecture overlooking the spectacular coastline in Cape Town seemed a world away from the tranquil Dutch-style vineyard buildings in Franschhoek. Bustling downtown Johannesburg was totally different from the many miles of empty veldt across which I had driven to reach it. And vibrant, sprawling, confusing Soweto provided a peopled counterpoint to the natural wonders of the Addo game reserve that I had visited a day or so previously.

This sense of contrast exists as well in attitudes towards sexual minorities. South Africa is unique in Africa in incorporating respect for the human rights of gay men and lesbian women, bisexual and transgendered people in its constitution. Chapter 2, Section 9 of South Africa's Constitution sets out the right to equality before the law and freedom from discrimination, with prohibited grounds of discrimination including sexual orientation. This inclusion arises in large part because of the courageous role that lesbians and gay men played in the struggle against apartheid.

Support brave LGBTI activists in South Africa - post your message on this blog

Beaten to death for her sexuality

Constitutional protection does not always lead to real protection for members of sexual minorities on the ground.

Noxolo NogwazaNoxolo Nogwaza was a lesbian woman from Kwa Thema, a township East of Johannesburg in Gauteng Province. She championed LGBTI rights and helped organise Pride in her area. On 24 April 2011, 24-year-old Noxolo was brutally raped and murdered because of her sexuality, and for her LGBTI activism.

Two years after her murder, no progress has been made in investigating Noxolo's case and bringing the perpetrators of her murder to justice.

Noxolo is just one women in South Africa who has been assaulted or murdered for their real or perceived sexuality. These are exactly the kinds of human rights abuses that Amnesty exists to counter, and against which we can bring together the force of activists from all over the world to challenge.

Noxolo helped organise pride events in her area as a member of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee (EPOC). Since Noxolo's death, EPOC has been campaigning for more effective police action to investigate the murder.  Amnesty is supporting EPOC in this campaign, and already thousands of you have signed action cards which we've sent on to the authorities. We've also collected messages of support for EPOC from across the globe.

Now, in the run-up to the second anniversary of Noxolo's death, Amnesty is looking to marshal even more support across the group for EPOC and for the campaign for justice for Noxolo.

Write a message of support and we'll print it on a ribbon for LGBTI activists in South Africa

Just leave a comment on this post and it will be printed on to a ribbon for use at a pride festival in South Africa this year. We'll also screen the messages at a special commemoration event for Noxolo in Johannesburg next Wednesday, on the two-year anniversary of her murder.

We need to show the LGBTI community in South Africa that we stand with them and that the world is watching and waiting for justice for Noxolo - and waiting for the rights enshrined in the country's constitution to become a reality.


About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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LGBT rights, in whichever nation, must be supported as a key principle of human freedom and human rights.

Lotus White 10 years ago


markandresen 10 years ago

It's almost beyond doubt that us humans have no cousins closer than gorillas and chimpanzees for a reason.

Closer cousins all died, probably many at our hands. Whether we're black, white or yellow-skinned, like to live in mountains or by the sea, farm the land or live in cities, men preferring men, women preferring women, heterosexual, fear one god, many gods or none, we're all essentially the same. We're all brothers and sisters. People six friends away from you are friends of people who are friends of yours... we shouldn't kill our brothers and sisters for behaviour that is not the same as behaviour we understand.

Causing harm is another matter. Child abusers, wife abusers, husband beaters, all should feel the full force of the law. What goes on by consent between adults should not cause offence to anyone.

Some of us believe we're all alone on a pebble in an unimaginably vast ocean. Lets look after each other as we sail through a cold hard universe that neither knows, nor cares anything for us. ('cause you never know, we might be right.)

jt2354 10 years ago

The World's most egalitarian and progressive constitution deserves the World's most egalitarian and progressive people. Zero tolerance to discrimination, bury that divisive nonsense with Apartheid. I support you wholeheartedly LGBTI of South Africa. Lots of love going out to you.

mynameiszane 10 years ago

In love. In peace. In solidarity.

CateHop 10 years ago

Today I live in New Zealand, where the NZ parliament is likely to pass an amendment to legalise same sex marriage allowing adults who love each other to create beautiful rainbow families recognised as equal by law.

This woman's story makes me passionate about not stopping until these same rights, the right to equality, to freedom, to live in peace, the right to smile every single day waking up next to the one you love, exist for everyone in the world. No more injustices, no more suffering, action is action, just like love is love.

Stay strong, keep fighting. We love you xx

kerrychica 10 years ago

Love is stonger than hate

Valerixiam 10 years ago

Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed. Never give up.

jenniferba4 10 years ago

You are not alone. The world is watching. Justice for Noxolo.

waterbaby 10 years ago

Keep up the fantastic work. As I remember chanting at a Birmingham Pride march - L, G, B, T, Human Rights will set you free. Keep fighting for those rights. We're right there with you in solidarity and spirit.

simon_w 10 years ago

Sorry for your pain and struggle

stephen07 10 years ago

Strength to you and justice for Noxolo

peterj5319 10 years ago

Never give up. You are a beacon.

Julie.rayment 10 years ago

Keep active against homophobia. I stand with you and send all good wishes in your fight. Noxolo must not be forgotten.

I stood outside Canterbury Cathedral,GB, during the new Archbishop's enthronement to campaign/protest about lgbt rights; and included a poster about the need to change the dire plight of lgbt persons in Africa

PirateRay 10 years ago

You Must Not Lose Hope. Justice for Noxolo, and everyone she represents

nemokinetic 10 years ago

Keep on fighting and don't give up.

deltacane 10 years ago