Christina Engela's picture

Karma Is A Bitch, And So Am I

I apologize in advance for the tone of this article. Please excuse me, for I'm really angry. You see, yesterday my girlfriend got hijacked, beaten in the face with a pistol, kidnapped and was forced to drive the hijackers around Johannesburg, before being robbed of all her employer's stock in the work van, and her handbag. Hijacking - yes, folks, an everyday reality of life in South Africa. And the sad thing is that this sort of thing just isn't even newsworthy here anymore. Hijackings, rapes, murders - it happens every day, and most of the time, if it makes the news, it is on page 2 or even further back - and shows just how desensitized we have become to the rampaging violent crime plaguing this country. We take it for granted.

I find it ironic that recently New Zealand recorded one murder during the previous year - that's right - ONE - and, to me at least, it is significant that this crime was committed by a South African immigrant! What does that say about South Africa?

I guess I should be "grateful" that she is alive, and was "only" hit in the face with a pistol - not raped (and infected with HIV), and murdered - as happens so often here. It could so easily have gone another way, particularly if they had tried to rape her, as she is trans and mid-way through her surgeries. Imagine what they would have done to her then?

As it is, she is now traumatized, terrified of cars and driving, and is probably going to be paranoid for a good while. She's a tough cookie - and for her to crack like that breaks my heart. That's not going to go away any time soon.

I suppose this is yet another risk we can add to the list of dangers facing gays, lesbians and trans-people in South Africa?

Christina Engela's picture

Proving Ground

This weekend was far more interesting than I wanted it to be. The fact that this is becoming a something of a regular occurrence is somewhat disturbing I think. This morning I discovered that yet again, I had grounds to do an "I told you so dance" because SA's government had thumbed it's nose at SA's pink community - in effect saying to us "fuck you" because they not only ignored all our pleas to speak out against the oppressive regime in Uganda - but also appointing homophobe Jon Qwelane as its ambassador there. And it seems Jon was also sneaked into Uganda two weeks ago when JZ went there on his infamous and disgraceful state visit - while he is supposed to be in the Equality Court answering charges of hate speech and incitement to hatred and even violence against the gay community.

Be that as it may, one other interesting event took place over the weekend - the killing of well-known right wing leader Eugene Terreblanche - a 69 year old man who had been rebuilding his right wing white supremacist group, the AWB with its swastika-like symbol and Nazi ideology and structure. According to some, ET had emerged from his prison term some years ago a changed man, who no longer exhorted racist racist remarks, but simply wanted a homeland and self-determination for his "Afrikaner Volk". Personally, I know too little about the "new" Eugene Terreblanche to comment on this - but even if it is true, and ET turned over a new leaf - he still seems to be known for his more publicized racist past as the leader of the AWB - which not only still visualizes a future based on separation along racial lines - but which also still detests GLBTI people.
LaPrincipessa's picture

How Did We Get Here?

With all the steps forward our society has taken, it is still fun and politically correct to laugh at someone that has been beaten, who has been publically humiliated, who is now subject to derision and late night humor. How did this happen? Why is this okay?

Women are murdered and the press asks “what did she do, who were her friends?” Why is her death somehow her responsibility? How can she still be faulted? She’s not even here to defend herself, and the press treats the crime as if she could have somehow avoided it.

This is what I fucking hate so much: the notion that we, as women, can somehow avoid being abused if we “do the right thing”. Go to the right school, don’t fuck around, have popular friends, come from an un-broken home. We should be able to look around and identify, at first sight, that our future high school boyfriend will someday grab our neck and choke us until we pass out, and avoid him at all costs. It is our responsibility to remain un-abused; it is not the abusers fault, because we should have known. And if we are slutty, bitchy, bi sexual, lesbian, wear tight clothing; well we are just asking for it, we deserve it.

arvan's picture

Gambia: Human Rights and Homophobia

(Posted at IGLHRC)

The Gambia, led by President Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, has had a track record of severe human rights violations with frequent use of security forces as a tool of repression. Jammeh came to power after a military coup in 1994.

Citizens are regularly detained without due process and, in 2008, three judges were unconstitutionally removed from office. Disappearances and unlawful killings of political opponents and human rights defenders have occurred without the Gambian government attempting to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

For more information about human rights violations in the Gambia, see Amnesty International’s 2009 Report here.

The government has also impeded the right to freedom of speech by routinely arresting journalists and, in some cases, charging them with criminal offenses for speaking out.

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