Current Affairs

6 men arrested over lesbian murder

Marc Shoffman February 23, 2006
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South African police have arrested 6 men in connection with the murder of a lesbian teenager.

Zoliswa Nkonyana, 19, was reportedly stabbed and stoned to death by a mob of young people in the township of Khayelitsha

The local lesbian soccer team member was taunted and threatened by a woman who later came back with a group of young men who began beating her. Police said the victim was stabbed repeatedly and stoned with bricks until she died.

The six suspects between the ages of 17 and 19 will appear in court this week to hear murder charges read against them.

Earlier in the week a South African gay rights group has hit out at the country’s Sunday Times for printing pictures identifying four lesbians after one was beaten to death.

The picture revealed the three lesbian friends of Zoliswa Nkonyana, 19, who was stoned to death with bricks and golf clubs for being a lesbian by a gang of men in front of her stepfather.

Gay group, the Triangle Project, is angry that despite warnings from Triangle Project of hate crimes against gay and lesbian people townships, the paper published the picture of Ms Nkonyana along with three members of her lesbian football club. A 17-year-old school friend of Ms Nkonyana’s, who witnessed the hate crime, but managed to escape, is receiving counselling and is currently hiding at an undisclosed safe-house.

Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya responded, “Our intention was to highlight a crime against the gay community, and it was never our intention to cause further hurt. We’re happy to correspond with the gay community on this issue.”

The Triangle Project asserted that Ms Nkonyana’s death shows that violent crimes, such as rape or assault on the grounds of sexual orientation, remain a reality in Cape Town.

This week the Cape Town Pride Festival kicks off, culminating in the Pride March through the city streets.

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