Lesbian’s murder draws anger from groups, chief
Nov 10 2011 8:20AM

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Chris Makhaye

Human rights groups and gay activists in KwaZulu-Natal are up in arms following the rape and murder of a 16-year-old lesbian in Macambini, near Mandeni.

Xoli Mpanza was laid to rest last Saturday after she was beaten, raped and strangled allegedly by three suspects two weeks ago.

Her body was discovered with bruises on her thighs and neck. Initially police arrested one suspect but he has since been released for lack of evidence.

Mpanza was openly lesbian in the conservative community of Macambini. It is alleged she was followed by three men who broke into her home and committed the crimes and left her lifeless body which was only discovered the next morning.

Yesterday locals in Macambini were still shocked by the incident, many saying they wanted the law to take its course. Grace Phakathi, a neighbour of the Mpanzas, said they still could not believe what had happened to Xoli.

“We are saddened by this barbaric act and painful act. We want the police to do their work. That young girl was violated beyond measure,” she said.

Durban Gay and Lesbian Coalition head Nonhlanhla Mkhize said they were outraged by the news.

She said her organisation would investigate this case and push for the law to take its course.

“It is very sad that such a young life could be lost because of sexual orientation. We are appealing to the local chief and people in general not to allow such acts to happen in their communities,” Mkhize said. “That girl was somebody’s child. Perhaps her family and community did not understand her but now they will be burdened with added guilt that they could not defend her.”

Chief Khayelihle Mathaba of the Macambini clan said he was outraged by the incident.

“I did get a report about this incident. It is a sad act of criminality. The culprits must be brought to book,” said the chief.

“That child (Mpanza) was a citizen of my village. Even if she was lesbian she deserved a right to live here.” chrism@thenewage.co.za

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