Homophobia In South Africa This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 14, 2012
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It has been 18 years since South Africa was liberated from the chains of Apartheid and declared a truly free, democratic country; from there on we have been rightfully christened the Rainbow Nation. We as the new South Africa strive and live for a country where all people are treated equally regardless of race, culture, religion, gender, sexuality etc. We hope to one day see a nation where we shall look past the barriers or race and culture and truly begin to see each other as human beings.

Although in the past 18 years we have made tremendous progress as a united country in certain areas, there are still many issues that must be dealt with, there are still blatant inequalities that exist in our Nation and I recognize it is my responsibility and opportunity as a South African citizen to raise awareness on the disturbing issue of homophobia.

Going through the motions of urban life in Durban, one cannot help but notice and be alarmed by the pungent homophobia in our society and the more disturbing aspect of homophobia in SA is that not only is it pungent but widely accepted amongst many South Africans. South Africa was one of the first countries in the world to legalise gay marriage yet homosexuals are victims of constant hatred and discrimination. Homosexuals are labelled the “freaks” and “outcasts” of society and are forced to dwell in the shadows, becoming the dark under belly of society. They are ignored, disregarded and treated as second class citizens or dare I say sub-humans. Homosexuals grow up in our nation feeling insecure, threatened and live in the fear of being shut out by society.

When diving deeper into the attitudes of South Africans towards homosexuals, we see that this alarming attitude is not only prevalent in the adult sector of our society but also in that of our youth. The youth of South Africa should be seen as the embodiment and epitome of all the great values we fought for in the struggle for liberation and yet this hatred of their fellow human beings simply because of whom they chose to love is engrained into their minds. Gay youth of our nation feel that if they do not conform to the norms of the world, they will not fit into the fabric of society and so they suppress their feelings, their emotions and their true beings.

One might ask themselves, well how far can a person’s hatred for a homosexual go? There have been countless incidents where innocent people have been brutally abused, beaten and even killed for their sexuality. Noxolo Nogwaza's, a 20 year old female, battered body was found dumped by the side of the road over Easter weekend. Her face was disfigured and soaked in blood. She had been pummelled with stones, beaten with bottles, and then stabbed with shards of glass. When the three men responsible for the murder of this girl were found and trailed, they confessed to “correctional rape” Noxolo was a well known lesbian in her community. She was seen as a lively, loving girl whose life has now been cut short because of such a hideous crime against humanity.

For so long we as a nation have fought for the recognition of a person’s humanity, the right of a human being to be treated with respect and dignity. To look into society as witness such crimes being committed crimes that destroy everything we stand for as a nation, something must be done.

The long term solution to homophobia in not only South Africa but in all nations of the world is to educate. The hatred and fear of homosexuals is bred by the ignorance the general populace has on the issue of sexuality. We must firstly educate our youth and children on respect and tolerance, it is our responsibility to teach them to view each other as human beings, to not only tolerate but respect our diverse views, opinions etc. In Life Orientation classes, sexuality should be openly discussed about in class, and should be openly addressed. Secondly we must teach the nation to live up to the legacy left by those who fought for our freedom, to embrace those who are different, to tolerate their lifestyles and to respect their humanity.

If such steps are taken to solve the issue of homophobia in our nation, we can hope to slowly give South Africa a more dignified face, a more human face.





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CameronCox said...
Sept. 11, 2012 at 8:16 am
I think that this is really eye opening to anyone, it is well writted and the author really wants everyone to understand that racism is serious and a big issue.
 
ImperfectlyBeautiful said...
May 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm
This was such a well-written and personal piece, and with every word you seemed to weave in your own unique voice. I loved this. 
 
ImperfectlyBeautiful said...
May 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm
This was such a well-written and personal piece, and with every word you seemed to weave in your own unique voice. I loved this. 
 
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