Massive march for lesbian rights hits South Africa

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A massive march calling for greater protection for South African gays has erupted on the streets of Soweto following the murder of two lesbians last July.

The women, 34 year old Sizakele Sigasa and 23 year old Salome Masooa were raped, tortured and killed in Meadowlands, Soweto.

Their hands were tied up using their underwear and their tied ankles using their shoelaces. Both had been shot several times.

Police say they are still investigating the case and no arrests have been made.

Many participants wore a T-shirt saying ‘Dying for Justice’ in sympathy with the two victims. Other T-shirts read ‘Pissed Off Women’ and ‘Lesbian Rights are Human Rights’.

Olive, a 35-year-old lesbian on the march, told the Star newspaper: “Sizakele Sigasa was a close friend of mine. After what happened to her, I’ve become extremely cautious.”

Twenty two year old Lesego agreed. “I’m here to tell the public that we aren’t different,” she said.

“And being gay is certainly not un-African. We have a very liberal constitution but it isn’t implemented in civil society.

“And things are getting worse. Most of my sisters have been violated.”

Onlookers seemed to sympathise with the marchers, with one resident telling the Star: “They are fighting for their rights. I have no problem with that.”

The marchers stopped at Meadowlands police station to hand in a petition calling for greater protection for the township’s gays and lesbians.

March organiser Phumla Masuku said: “This is my home and I also have the right to be here.

“We fear being raped and even murdered, but I’m tired of running.”