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.
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.
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.
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”.
A gay rights activist in Uganda, where a bill that would punish gays with prison or death has stirred worldwide outrage, is poised to receive the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in Washington on Thursday.
Mr Tsvangirai said there is a “very strong cultural feeling” against homosexuality in Zimbabwe, but he would defend gay rights if he became president.
“It’s a very controversial subject in my part of the world. My attitude is that I hope the constitution will come out with freedom of sexual orientation, for as long as it does not interfere with anybody,” said Tsvangirai.
“To me, it’s a human right,” he said.