South Africa may be the only African nation that allows same-sex marriage and recognises gay rights, but that doesn’t mean it is free from homophobia and hate. News that a young lesbian had been found murdered and sexually mutilated last week was greeted with horror and sadness by gay rights campaigners and commentators.
The twenty-six year old was killed in what appeared to be a homophobic attack and was found with a toilet brush inserted into her vagina, in the Thokoza area, just east of Johannesburg.
Raymond Buys looked a picture of health and vitality before being sent by his parents to The Echo Wild Game Rangers training course, to “Make him a better man, to give him a better future” on 12th January 2011. Less than ten weeks later the 15 year old was in hospital, severely malnourished, dehydrated, his arm was broken in two places and there were cigarette burns and wounds all over his body.
He was put on life support in intensive care just two months into the three-month course at the bush camp an hour away from Johannesburg, South Africa. He was so badly injured his mother was told by the doctors the chances of his survival were ‘Virtually Zero’. Raymond Buys lay for four weeks in intensive care before he died.
‘I sent my son on this course to make him a better man, to give him a better future,’ Raymond’s mother, Wilma told The Daily Telegraph. ‘I trusted Alex de Koker with his life.’ Mrs Buys explained how her son had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and was struggling at school and that the course run by Alex de Koker, had been recommended to her by a friend. Mr de Koker, promised her he could help, that he could find her son a job in the wildlife trade.
During the first two months of her son’s placement at the camp, she says she spoke to Raymond just three times – and was told by Mr de Koker that he was self-harming. “Raymond was only allowed to speak to me on speakerphone,” she said. “When I asked him why he was hurting himself, he told me ‘Mum, I’m not doing it to myself’.”
Mr de Koker called Mrs Buys on 23rd March and informed her that Raymond had been admitted to hospital for tests. When she arrived at the hospital, she found that he was dying.
Alex de Koker, 49, The Echo Wild Game Rangers ‘General’ and employee Michael Erasmus, 20, are on trial for charges of murder, child abuse and neglect, along with two cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in relation to Raymond Buys’ death.
Last week, the Vereeniging District Court heard the harrowing testimony of a boy who had shared a tent with Raymond Buys. Gerhard Oostuizen, 19, claims Buys was chained to his bed every night, was refused permission to visit the toilet and on one occasion was forced to eat his own faeces. On another occasion Oosthuizen said, that after Mr Buys tipped over a container of washing powder, he was forced to eat what he had spilled and vomited foam.
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The committee of Ugandan MPs that endorsed the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill have dropped the death penalty provision, claims MP Medard Segona. He told media outlets there had been “substantial amendments” to the horrific bill that increases penalties for being gay in the African nation, however he said he was not allowed to reveal further details. Segona, is on the Legal and Parliamentary committee of Uganda’s parliament said “I can confirm it has been dropped.” Adding “Some of us who are human rights activists would discourage the death penalty.”
The Ugandan parliament will shortly debate the bill and Segona believes this will happen before Christmas, although refused to be more precise. In recent statement the speaker of the Ugandan parliament, Rebecca Kadaga promised the bill would be passed as a “Christmas gift” to all its advocates and supporters.
Great news for South African gay people, for at last The South African government has announced in an official Government Gazette paper that the Gay Flag of South Africa has been approved and accepted as the country’s official gay flag (it is a clever adaptation of the international gay rainbow colours flag with the national flag of the country.
South Africa is the first country in the world to have an officially recognised national gay flag, although many other countries have unofficial or unapproved versions, the pink union flag of the UK for example, popular at numerous pride events.
According to the Advocate Magazine, The Department of Arts and Culture through the Bureau of Heraldry designs and registers heraldic representations such as flags and is guided by the Heraldry Act, which governs the use and protection of national symbols which is currently under the authority of the Minister of Arts & Culture.
Tremendous bravery and strength was shown by the man gay rights activists that took part in a gay pride event in the hideously homophobic African nation of Uganda, the country that make bring in the death penalty for homosexuality
Months of preparation and despite arrests, in a brave stand, Uganda’s gay community concluded all its planned Pride events, including a beach parade, parties and even a film festival. These events were surprisingly well attended by a courageous GLBT community, considering that Uganda is a country that criminalizes homosexual sex acts and seeks legislation to kill its gays for “aggravated homosexuality” with long prison terms for so-called “promotion of homosexuality.” This was a wonderful demonstration of strength and courage.
Tanzanian gay rights activist Maurice Mjomba has been found dead at his house in Dar es Salaam, it have been announced.
Julius Lumanyika Kyaruzi, the coordinator at the Centre for Human Rights Promotion where Mjomba was a Training Coordinator confirmed Mr Mjomba, 29, had been found dead at his home. It is believed he could have been dead for some time and according to local sources there are clear indications he was murdered. At this stage it is not clear if his murder was motivated by homophobia, although that seems highly likely.
It is believed that Mr Mjomba, who was a leading member of Stay Awake Network Activities, a group dealing with sexual health education for men who have sex with men, was strangled to death at his home, some time ago.
At the time of writing the results of an autopsy were still pending.
Organisers of an all-gay cruise on Saturday blamed Moroccan officials for the cancellation of what would have been the first visit of its kind to a Muslim country, but the tourism minister denied the ship was banned and said its passengers were welcome.
Cruise liner Holland America Line and trip organiser RSVP Vacations told the 2,100 holiday-makers aboard the MS Nieuw Amsterdam ship that the July 1 visit to Casablanca had been cancelled. “Our port agent in Casablanca has advised us that authorities in Morocco have — despite previous confirmations — now denied our scheduled visit,” the two companies said in a letter tweeted to news organizations by passengers of the ship.
“For all of us, this is a very disappointing development,” they added. “It was ultimately the decision by local authorities in Morocco that has necessitated us to adjust our plans.”
NAIROBI – On Tuesday, the U.S. embassy in Kenya’s capital hosted a gay pride event, believed to be the first of its kind in the country. The event is as part of the Obama administration’s policy to fight prejudice against lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
On Tuesday morning the embassy presented what is thought to be the first LGBT Pride celebration in Kenya, where homosexual acts are punishable by law. Similar events are being held at U.S. embassies around the world. The push to promote global LGBT rights follows several victories for gay rights advocates in the U.S. over the past year.
A young woman has been gunned down right in front of her mother and her six year-old niece and activists say she may have been killed because she was a lesbian.
Phumeza Nkolonzi, 22, died after the unknown gunman kicked in the door to her home in the Cape Town township of Nyanga and shot three times without saying a single word. He fled after stealing Phumeza’s mobile phone.
Her brother, Solly Nkolonzi, said the family was hoping someone would come forward with information. “We don’t know why Phumeza was killed,” he said. “She was not a naughty child. She was a lesbian, but she never did any wrong things.”
So far the motive has not been established, however lesbian rights organisation Free Gender believe the murder must have been a hate crime.
Phumeza was openly gay and last year attended the funeral of Nontsikelelo Tyatyeka, the lesbian whose body was found in a wheelie-bin at the home of her neighbour last year after going missing.
Free Gender chairwoman Funeka Soldaat said that the group was concerned that attacks on lesbians were on the rise in the Mau-Mau area of Nyanga, where Phemeza and Nontsikelelo both lived.“It seems like some people in that community don’t want to tolerate lesbians,” she commented. It is scary to see young people being killed brutally because others are simply not comfortable with their sexual orientation.”
Three men in Cameroon have been sentenced to five years in prison for homosexual acts, which are illegal in the central African nation. Two of the accused were in court in the capital, Yaounde, but a third man was sentenced in absentia as he had jumped bail.
Police said the men were arrested for having oral sex in a car. They denied the allegations and their lawyer Alice Nkom told the BBC they were arrested for looking feminine. “How can people be jailed just for dressing like women?” she said, adding that her clients would appeal. “This is really an embarrassment for Cameroon,” said Ms Nkom who also runs Cameroon’s Association for the Defence of Homosexuals. At the start of the trial, she told the BBC the case was a “crime of fashion, not homosexuality”.