The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) community took centre stage at the Provincial Freedom Day celebration at the Kwa-Thema stadium in Springs, Ekurhuleni on Saturday.
Kwa-Thema was selected to host this year’s commemoration in honour of 31-year-old, Eudy Simelane, a Banyana Banyana player, and a staunch LGBTIQ activist who was brutally murdered on 27 April 2008 in a homophobic attack.
Simelane’s lifeless body was found in a field in Kwa-Thema, not far from the stadium, after she had been gang-raped and stabbed multiple times.
Gauteng Premier, David Makhura accompanied by, Ekurhuleni Executive Mayor, Mzwandile Masina and hundreds of Kwa-Thema residents took part in a memorial walk in honour of the late Simelane on Saturday morning.
The walk commenced at Simelane’s home in Springs and proceeded to Eudy Park, which was named after the late Simelane, for a brief wreath laying ceremony and ended at Kwa-Thema Stadium where the official programme started.
Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, said Simelane did not die in vain, as the provincial government continues to fight for the rights of the LGBTIQ community.
He further said many South African youth suffer psychological trauma because of their identity when they are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
Premier Makhura announced that the Premier’s Office has finalised the establishment and the setting-up of a desk that will help the provincial government to work together with communities on the ground on issues pertaining to human rights violations in the province.
Mayor, Mzwandile Masina added that in order to promote social cohesion in Ekurhuleni, the Municipality will issue eighteen leases of ten years to churches, 52 sites for commercial use, 40 pieces of land for advanced development and bursaries for 100 million learners to further their university studies.