South Africa's Bill of Rights was the first constitutional text in the world to explicitly outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. South Africa was also the first country on the continent to legalise same-sex marriage. 

But despite these progressive laws, the LGBTQIA+ community say they "exist only on paper".

A spate of killings has left this community reeling.

"What is there to celebrate when many Africans and many South Africans have been murdered because of their sexuality? We exist in paper in this country; we exist in the Constitution of this country." 
Sibusiso Nqunqeka - Founder of the Khulani Khayelitsha Queer Hub

'Life as a lesbian has been hard' - corrective rape survivor

Akhona Jordaan.

Akhona Jordaan.

Every morning before Akhona Jordaan leaves her home in Khayelitsha for her journey to work, she says a prayer to keep her safe. Jordaan has an arsenal of weapons in her home, two of which stay by her bed. She's always ready to defend herself, because, she says living in Khayelitsha as a lesbian woman is dangerous.

"To be living out as a lesbian is a problem for men here," she told News24. 

Jordaan is a survivor of corrective rape. 

Pressure mounts on govt to introduce Hate Crimes Bill

The Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill has been gathering dust since it was introduced to Parliament in April 2018. Pressure has mounted on the government to urgently adopt the bill to prevent any further murders and attacks on the queer community.

In July last year, Deputy Justice and Constitutional Development Minister John Jeffery provided an update on the efforts of the department to prevent, combat and prosecute such crimes. Jeffery said there were 42 pending hate crime cases. Of the 42 pending cases, 30 were for murder and 12 for rape.

Safe spaces for queers shut doors as Covid-19 pandemic bites

The Raptor Room in Cape Town.

The Raptor Room in Cape Town.

Queer-friendly venues in Cape Town are buckling under the pressure of losses incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. And, for their patrons, this means fewer safe spaces for them in the city.

Many of the entertainment venues that cater specifically to members of the LGBTIQA+ community had to retrench workers and lock up permanently.

"These spaces help people build a sense of trust and connection among people."
Amy Lilley - The Raptor Room

Police are 'queerphobic', say LGBTQIA+ activists

The South African Police Service (SAPS) stands accused of ignoring the plight of queer people when dealing with hate crimes. This follows a number of killings in the LGBTQIA+ community last year.

In 2021 fed-up activists held a number of demonstrations outside Parliament to express their outrage over the murder of Andile "Lulu" Ntuthela in the Eastern Cape.

"Justice for Lulu" representative Kamva Gwana accused the police of being "queerphobic".

"We are tired of coming and crying when people and people in our community die. How many of us must be slain for this country to take us seriously," he said.