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Murder and Gay Hate in Swaziland
southern africa | gender | non-anarchist press Thursday January 07, 2010 15:27 by Richard Rooney - Swazi Media Commentary
The following is an extract from the sexgenderbody website about the murder of Swazi woman Pitseng Vilakati who was vilified by the Swaziland press after she announced that she and her lesbian partner Thuli Rudd were to marry each other. Thui Rudd was arrested late December 2009 and charged with the murder of Vilakati.
‘Since August 2009 when Rudd went public with her engagement to the late Pitseng Vilakati, they have been in the spotlight with many people in Swaziland condemning their relationship. They have been under extraordinary pressure and both women demonstrated incredible courage in the face of this pressure.
‘Whilst in South Africa, Thulani had met with activists and discussed the endless violations of her and her partner’s human right to dignity, freedom and equality throughout 2009. There had been major media coverage of their relationship with numerous distortions and misrepresentations as well as a massive public reaction which was largely hostile, insulting and deeply disrespectful.
‘Monica Mbaru of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Africa expressed concern that Thulani is being tried and convicted by the media and the public before the investigation has been completed and that a strong possibility of this being a hate crime by homophobic persons may be ignored in the haste to prove Thulani guilty and further feed into the already high levels of homophobia.
‘Fikile Vilakazi of the Coalition of African Lesbians, a pan African network of over 20 member organizations of lesbian women and transgender people in 13 countries across Africa, expressed concern about the levels of homophobia in Swaziland and elsewhere on the continent and appealed to all fair-minded and freedom loving people in Swaziland to continue to resist and challenge all forms of discrimination, including that based on homophobia in this country.
‘The Coalition of African Lesbians also extends its condolences to the family of the late Pitseng Vilakati. We remember Pitseng Vilakati as a powerful activist for human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as well as of people living with HIV and AIDS. She was a leader and showed enormous courage in a context of the hostility and discrimination against people in same sex relationships in Swaziland.’
To read the full article click here.