Johannesburg: Lesbian Murdered in South Africa's Kwazulu Natal Province

Published: September 7, 2012

[Johannesburg] – The African Men for Sexual Health and Rights [AMSHeR] strongly condemns the brutal murder of Mandisa Mbambo, a 25-year old lesbian in Inanda Township, north of Durban in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Province on the 26th of August 2012.  Mandisa was open about her sexual orientation to both her parents and community.

Mandisa Mbambo was found dead in her room on the 26th of August 2012, naked and bound at the hands and legs. There is a strong suspicion that she was also raped by her assailant(s), the police are yet to confirm this. Mandisa’s murder is the latest in a disturbing trend of violent attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex [LGBTI] persons in South Africa. According to Nonhlanhla Mkhize, Centre Manager at the Durban Lesbian and Gay Community and Health Centre, a centre that also provides services to Inanda Township, “The murder of Mandisa comes as a real shock to the community and us here at the Centre because a lot of work has been done to change the mind-set of the public so they would accept or at the very least tolerate LGBTI persons.”

Incidents of violence and attacks against LGBTI persons in the country continue to rise. South Africa’s constitution provides the right to non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. “The continued, escalating violence against LGBTI persons in South Africa adds urgency to the need for legislature that will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those found guilty of perpetrating such heinous crimes against LGBTI persons. The State has an obligation to ensure that LGBTI people are not only protected but also actively defended, and stiff penalties are much needed not only as a strong deterrent, but also to bring to justice any perpetrators of hate crimes and abuse of human rights, based on real or perceived sexual orientation. This is a crucial step that the South African government must now take to add teeth to an otherwise progressive Constitution” said Joel Nana, AMSHeR’s Executive Director.

AMSHeR joins other human rights organisations in demanding that Mandisa Mbambo’s murder is fully investigated and that her killers are brought to justice.

Background

Twenty-five year old Mandisa Mbambo was an openly lesbian, hardworking woman living in Inanda Township, KwaZulu Natal Province. She was found dead in her room on the 26th of August 2012, naked and bound at the feet and hands. A family spokesperson says that on the night before her murder, he had intervened in an altercation between her and an unidentified man, who was assaulting her. The South African Police Service [SAPS] has arrested four male suspects and one of them appeared in court at Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 3rd September 2012.

In June this year, Thapelo Makhutle, a LGBTI activist was murdered in Kuruman in the Northern Province of South Africa. His throat was slit and his genitals severed and stuffed into his mouth.   As with Thapelo, it is believed that Mandisa’s sexual orientation is the reason for her murder and this has gripped the local LGBTI community in fear, with her close friends expressing that they no longer feel safe walking the streets of Inanda.

Mandisa Mbambo was laid to rest on Sunday 2 September 2012.

For further enquiries contact the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights:

Kene C. Esom, Diector – Policy and Law
  +2711 482 4630  or kene@amsher.net

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