South Africa’s LGBT+ community are demanding justice for a lesbian whose alleged murderer gloated about removing a “curse” from her family.
Sisanda Gumede, 28, was stabbed in the Umbumbulu area, south of Durban, on Sunday evening (26 September). She was rushed to a hospital but tragically died en route.
Police spokesperson colonel Thembeka Mbele said the killer’s motivation is still unknown. According to Nonhlanhla Khoza, a politician serving in the Department of Social Development, the suspect is thought to be one of the young lesbian woman’s own relatives.
“Although the information regarding the incident violently is still sketchy, it appears that the deceased and [the suspect] had an altercation while at home,” she said in a statement reported by The South African.
“Gumede’s murder is understood to be motivated by homophobia, as [the suspect] allegedly gloated after the incident that he had removed the curse from the family.
“Police should spare no time while the alleged perpetrator is not arrested. We must ensure he is arrested to answer for his sin, as he attacked a defenceless woman.”
Previous victims include Lonwabo Jack, a 22-year-old found murdered on his birthday, Nathaniel Mbele, who was stabbed in the chest; Andile “Lulu” Ntuthela, who was butchered and burned; Sphamandla Khoza, whose throat was slit, and Liyabona Mabishi, a 16-year-old lesbian stabbed for accidentally bumping into a man.
Khoza sent her condolences to Gumede’s loved ones and said such murders go against the ethos of the country’s constitution.
“We are deeply ashamed that, in our nation, we still have people facing discrimination based on their sexual orientation,” she said. “This is a gross violation of basic human rights and we should unite to end such crimes.”
She urged communities in the province not to tolerate homophobic hate crimes and to work with the police to expose those involved.
“It must sink in the minds of all those involved in such crimes that no one has a right to take a life and abuse someone else because of their sexuality. Our government has made giant strides towards safeguarding LGBTQ+ rights. However, incidents similar to this one water down all efforts that have been made.
“We have committed ourselves to fighting for justice and we want our society to work together to end these crimes. We warn communities to work together to end hate crimes, homophobia and other forms of unfair discrimination against LGBTQI + communities.”