Media Statement by Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape.
Yesterday afternoon, I visited the family of Sihle Sikoji, a young lesbian woman who was killed in a hate crime in Samora Machel informal settlement on the night of Friday, 9 November, at their home in Crossroads. I spoke to Sihle's grandmother, Nomangesi Sikoji, and mother, Ntombizanele Sikoji, who recounted to me how and when they learned of Sihle's tragic death late that night. I shared my deep sympathy and condolences with them at this difficult time of grief and loss.
I also met with Ndumie Funda, founder and director of Lulek’isizwe, the lesbian activist organisation to which Sihle Sikoji belonged. Ndumie told me about the broader challenges faced by lesbian women in the communities where the organisation works.
The attack on Sihle once again highlights the scourge of hate crimes against lesbian women, and LGBT people more broadly, that continues to ravage our communities, leaving devastated families in their wake. We must all stand against and seek to eradicate all hate crimes because they are violations of the constitutional rights to life, to dignity and to freedom which every person deserves. We need to protect and uphold everyone’s rights.
I applaud Lulek’isizwe and its activists for their brave work to defend the rights of lesbian women and promote equality and freedom through education and advocacy. Their civic activism is an admirable example of active citizens fulfilling their responsibility to improve society, and doing so under difficult circumstances – it is what we mean by “Better Together”.