Free Gender is a blog by a group of 14 young Black Queer South Africans, living in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. The group was started by Funeka Soldaat in 2008. One of the main focuses of the group is to campaign for justice for Zoliswa Nkonyana who was brutally murdered on February 4th 2006 by a gang of 20 men and Millicent Gaika who was beaten and raped on the 6th April 2010.
With the support of Funeka and visual activist, Zanele Muholi, the group started the blog as a way of documenting their lives, their challenges and hopes. The group have no funding but still their vision is to build a supportive community for themselves based on mutual teaching and learning. Through the blog they are developing their writing, journalistic and photographic skills. The next step is the young women want to extend their community to include young queer women of colour in Europe and America with the aim of building alliances and learning from each other.
Last Monday the group held a rally outside the parliamentary building in Cape Town to demand the government take concrete and meaningful action against the rape of Black lesbians in the Townships.
Held in their left hands were wooden crosses that symbolize crucifixion — brutal killings that our lesbians friends have encountered at the hands of perpetrators and further face revictimization at the hands of police who often stall the cases.
Speaking to one supporter who said that “We are here because want our parliament to recognize ‘us’ and our needs”. Another speaker spoke of …
Unlike other previous protests that took place in the past at various places like Khayelitsha Magistrate court (for Zoliswa Nkonyana’s case) and Wynberg Magistrate court (in support of Millicent Gaika) who survived curative rape in 2010, the rally was a silent one. No struggle songs sung which suggests anger, pain, irritation and impatience cause by several delays, lost cases, worsened by lost cases and other matters thrown out of court due to what justice system call ‘lack of evidence.’