Duduzile Zozo’s body was found on June 30 near the house where she lived with her mother in a township east of Johannesburg. She appeared to have been beaten to death with a brick, and a toilet brush was inserted in her vagina.
This horrific attack was not an isolated incident. There have been at least two other high-profile cases in the past couple years just in the area where Zozo was killed. In 2011, Noxolo Nogwaza had her head crushed with a piece of pavement after being raped. Then in April of 2013, Patricia Mashigo was found dead after apparently having been stoned to death. Arrests have not been made in these cases, and some LGBTI activists allege police are intentionally obstructing efforts to bring these women’s killers to justice.
The South African government has also been slow to respond to the problem of what is sometimes called “corrective rape”—sexual assault on lesbians supposedly to “cure” them of same-sex attraction. The government established a task force to respond to the problem two years ago, but it has been bogged down in bureaucratic in-fighting and taken no official action.
Grassroots LGBTI organizations Iranti.Org, the IHawu LeSizwe Crime Prevention, and the Ekurhuleni Pride Organising Committee are working together to respond to the latest attack, compiling the video of Zozo’s family and friends responding to the killing.