pride month

It’s ‘Pride Month’ but homophobia still rages in South Africa

Andile Sicetsha - 01.06.2021

The gruesome and inhumane deaths of these victims prove that South Africa is losing the fight against homophobia.

Pride Month is a period where we ought to be championing the basic human right to live one’s truth but in South Africa, this fundamental privilege is stricken away by the continuous spread of homophobia.

Pride Month: Should South Africa be celebrating?

Apart from the pandemic, which may throw a spanner in gay pride events meant to take place in June, there is a growing sense of unease in the LGBTQIA+ community that could dampen the mood.

Pride Month is all about the promotion of self-affirmation and increased visibility of non-heterosexuals. However, in a week where a man who lived his truth was brutally killed, South Africa faces a dark month ahead.

Aubrey Boshoga, a South African Airways cabin crew member and talented wire sculptor, was stabbed multiple times and dumped outside of his home in the wee hours of Saturday 29 May.

While the investigation is still ongoing, it is widely believed that the senseless killing was related to his sexuality. Unfortunately, Boshoga is one of many victims of homophobia who’ve been brutally killed — this year alone — for being non-heterosexual.

Nathaniel Mbele, a homosexual who was renowned in Vaal as ‘Spokgoane’, was hacked to death on his way home from partying with friends, in April.

In the same month, Andile ‘Lulu’ Ntuthela, a man revered in Uitenhage for his affectionate and colourful personality, was found in a shallow grave, not far from his home, more than 10 days after he went missing. At the time his body was discovered, Ntuthela was mutilated and barely recognisable.

A 28-year-old resident of the property was arrested and charged with the gruesome crime. In this case, as well, the motive was linked to Ntuthela’s choice of living his truth.

These victims, most of whom remain unnamed and forgotten, have transitioned to become pillars of hope and strength in a community that — in all these years — has not been accepted into society.

In his Freedom Day speech, President Cyril Ramaphosa made it abundantly clear that “hate crime will not be tolerated in our society.”

“Those behind these crimes will be found and brought to the book. Nobody has the right to take life and abuse someone else because of their sexuality. No one has that right at all,” he said.

Perhaps, a silver lining can be found in the tragedies faced by victims of homophobia. Their sacrifices will, one day, bring about change in the way society views the LGBTQIA+ community.