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 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.
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.
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.