“When will we black lesbians live freely in our community?”

Triangle Project moves to get man accused of lesbian murder behind bars

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Photo of Nangamso Badi
Nangamso Badi and members of Free Gender gathered outside the Strand Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday for the murder trial against Bongile Joni. He is accused of stabbing Noxolo Xakeka to death. Photo: Barbara Maregele

“When will we as black lesbians live freely in our community?” asked Nangamso Badi after the case against the man accused of murdering a lesbian was postponed in Strand.

Bongile Joni is accused of stabbing to death 23-year-old Noxolo Xakeka in the early hours of 1 January 2018. On Wednesday, Badi joined a group of Free Gender activists outside the Strand Magistrates’ Court where Joni made a brief appearance. The case was remanded until 26 June for the matter to be moved to the regional court.

“Noxolo was my friend. I got so mad when I heard what happened to her … We know there are still many people in the location that don’t see us as equal. I want justice to be done for her,” Badi said.

It is the state’s case that in the early hours of 1 January 2018, Xakeka was attending a party less than 250 metres from her home. It is alleged that Joni harassed her by making “derogatory comments” about her sexual orientation. An argument between the two escalated into a physical altercation.

Witnesses say Xakeka hit Joni with a plank. He stabbed her twice. She died in hospital hours later.

At Joni’s last court appearance in April, activists from Triangle Project handed a petition to the court asking that Joni not be released. The petition was signed by over 800 people, mostly from the Lwandle community near Strand.

On Wednesday Triangle Project’s Carol Lennon said the organisation was preparing to submit formal questions on the state’s decision not to oppose bail for Joni. “We will also be asking for a full transcript of the bail hearing to make a decision on how to go forward with the petition,” she said.

The case will return to court on 26 June.


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