Category Archives: Opinion

Nelson Mandela Bench becomes a selfie hot spot at NMU

By: Charmaine Blose

Port Elizabeth- All you hear is “take a picture of me chomee!!” then click , click flash as selfies are being taken. The Nelson Mandela University library entrance at South Campus has become a place of selfies for students, staff and visitors thanks to the newly erected bench of Nelson Mandela.

The bench depicts Mandela as a statue sitting with a book in his hand. This stunning piece of art was unveiled on Africa Day, May 25th at the Nelson Mandela University, which then formed part of the university’s centenary celebration.

The bench also forms part of the institution as well as a bigger public art programme that seeks to populate public spaces. The university launched this master piece in honour of the late, great tata uMadiba and his values on education. Following the gazetting and launch of the new Nelson Mandela name, which was a convenience to rethink its make-up and align NMU as a vital African University. A requirement to boost the level of institutional apprehension was recognised. Surprisingly, this public artwork piece has become a favourite place for students to take pictures, including visitors to the university who are there for personal and business related reasons.

The students take turns sitting next to the statue of the late great giant, which almost makes them feel and react as if it is the real person, rather than the statue that it is. Mr Michael Barry of the university’s department of Arts, Culture and Heritage said that the important aspect of visual arts in public spaces on campus was regularly unnoticed and not well understood. “The bias for the visual arts to be viewed as senseless and possibly less important compared to other projects happening at a university’s academic community is a direction that is viewed across different stages of educational systems”, he concluded.

Another public space art which also proved to be popular with students and visitors was the Mandela Shirt, just outside the university’s entrance close to the South Campus auditorium.

The Rise of Independent Artists.

By: Andisile Klaas

Opinion:

In the past, stories of big artists living rich and dying broke have riddled media outlets so frequently that the traditional music corporate structure has become undesirable to many. Record labels, like just any business, want to make profit but sometimes unethical practises are used to achieve those numbers. The unethical ways of a company have proven to be detrimental to an artist, one of the factors that motivated independence. The following seeks to evaluate the rise of independence in the music, as well as the pros and the cons of being an independent artist.

A number of factors come into play when an artist considers being an independent artist and the corrupt system and unethical practises of recording labels being the most common. Music companies have a long history of preying on unknown artists and offer them deals that many would view as exploitative as they are liable for every single aspect of their careers, these artists take that opportunity and see it as a way to advance and building a brand for themselves.

Music companies see artists as investments and can take ownership of an artist’s intellectual property, as an example, an artist not being able to perform songs that they are famous for because of a deal that went sour with their former label. These shady deals starve artists and prevents them from profiting from their hard work.

Ownership remains a huge problem in the music industry because not only can a company take ownership of your music, they can even take ownership of your name. In 1993, amidst a contractual dispute with his record label Warner Bros, pop star Prince changed his named into an unpronounceable symbol because the company owned the trademark and had control over it. He then changed his name back to Prince in 2000 when his contract with Warner expired. Prince has since then championed for independency.

The advantages of being independent

The term “independent” is quite self-explanatory, it means an artist is free of the traditional music corporate system and has full control over his/her brand. The freedom and control that comes with being independent goes far beyond creative control, it also transcends to the business side of things from management. PR and Finance. Being independent also enables an artist to have full ownership of the intellectual property and brand.

The rise of social media and the advancement of technology has enabled independent artists to market themselves and their music to much bigger crowds using cost-effective methods. Since the dawn of the internet, multiple platforms have come up for artists to use to their benefit. Streaming services like Soundcloud enables the public to listen  to the sounds of emerging artists for free and this has been to the advantage of independent artists who have a hard time of making it to mainstream radio.

The disadvantages of being independent as an artist

Independency, in any sense of the word, requires full commitment, sacrifice and dedication. Artists who are signed under companies only worry about the creative side while the company takes care of business and for independent artists that is completely the opposite as they have to take full control of everything from being creating down to hiring and firing.

The lack of funding and working with limited resources is a huge issue for unknown artists as companies are afraid to invest in someone that doesn’t have the backing of reputable company. Companies offer their artists full publicity and even radio play, while independent artists go out and look for opportunities themselves.

The impact of independency outside music

The independent artists movement has transcended far beyond music in the recent years as now the public see the rise of independent magazines, books and even radio stations. As an example, magazines like Boat and Offscreen are all ran independently and they may not be popular as the rest but they are doing well and they are fan favourites.

In conclusion, the independent artists movement is rising by full force and it seems to be the perfect solution for artists who love making music that is authentic to who they are without the pressure of producing a radio hit and those who want to be free of corporate politics. Independent artists such as Dawn Richard and Brent Faiyaz are successful artists with crirically acclaimed albums without having a labels, which proves to show that believing in yourself can go a long way.

Readings:

How stuff works, n.d. Organization of a Record Label, retrieved from August 01, 2018, from

https://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/record-label1.htm

Dannen, F (1990). Hit Men, New York: Random House Inc.

Thall, P,M. What they’ll never tell you about the music business: the myths, the secrets, the lies (and a few truths). Minneapolis: Watson-Guptill Publication, Inc.

Nutritious and Healthy Food on Campus for Students

By: Ntombifuthi Blose

Port Elizabeth- Back in 2017 the Tshwane Univerity of Technology (TUT) students protested against unhealthy food being sold on campus. Classes were suspended at TUT in Pretoria West. Students were protesting and got violent, demanding inexpensive standard meals. A number of police officers were at the campus since huge rocks were being used to bar the main entrance to the university. Usually students would be protesting for tuition fees, NSFAS and so on, but this time the student protests took another turn.

The condition of the food served at the principle kitchen is not even close to be contemplated as healthy. “The food is of extreme poor quality, there is diarrhea from that the food they sell”, said Gift Mashini, South African Student Congress (SASCO). This raised a question of why this food still relevant at our university. This compelled me as a writer to investigate the quality of food on campus and how healthy it really is. Some students from NMU are also complaining about the food sold at South Campus. They say the food is not good nor is it healthy for them to consume. As a journalist, I made my way to the campus to find out how students really feel about the food that is being served to them. I spoke to a group of guys and girls and the girls commented by saying that some days are better than others, but usually it’s not nutritious and also mentioned how the food is usually finished before students are out of their 5pm class. Even though the food at the cafeteria is the cheapest compared to other food outlets on campus students are still not satisfied. The guys replied by saying that the only thing that taste good is fried chips. Even though it’s not healthy but it’s the only thing that tastes good on the menu. The guys concluded by saying the food is not healthy but they have no choice but to buy, since they don’t have much of a choice.

Every year from the 9th – 15th of October, South African s celebrate National Nutrition week (NNW).  Amid (NNW) Information is given out to free all South Africans to make healthier food choices.

The urban land question: Universities in cities

By: Pedro Mzileni

The property relations of a city in South Africa are a phenomenon that has its roots on the colonial interruption of our history and they, today, affect the political economy of higher education generally and the living experiences of students in particular. The fact that universities, old and new, are buildings with a physical address stationed in cities, they are, therefore, not immune from the overall economic challenges facing the nation and how these structurally impact the daily life of a people.

This paper will attempt to cover this analysis through three themes namely: (1) The land and housing history of South Africa, (2) The development of housing settlements under neoliberalism, and (3) The impact of urban property relations on higher education and student accommodation.

1. The land and housing history of South Africa

A city in South Africa is a product of the centralization and convenience of production enveloped by a racialized capitalist project of social control and massive migration of proletariazed Black labour. The white apartheid government formalized its pseudo city development project with the introduction of the Group Areas Act in the 1950s.

This act determined the residential address of a person under apartheid according to skin colour. Whites lived in the urban city centre with large volumes of land and backyard houses, closer to the beach front and places of work. Blacks were cornered in the congested townships that are stationed at the outskirts of the city in matchbox houses, far away from all sorts of economic activity.

The settlement of Blacks in the townships outside cities was as a result of the violent dispossession of the 90% of their land by armed white minority colonizers over centuries of frontier wars. This violent crime was followed by its formalization and legitimization through the 1913 Land Act. Being in possession of the remaining 10% of the infertile land, Black people could no longer sustain their ordinary way of life which was to socially, spiritually, and economically live off the land. In other words, the land dispossession that Black people suffered was also the destruction of their intellectual property.

They were pushed down into deep levels of poverty and humiliation. What remained as their remaining source of survival was to sell their labour power to the white colonizer. The white colonizer stationed its economy in the cities of this country. Therefore, the life of “going to work” for Black people began. Black people, in their numerical majority, became cheap migrant labour at the disposal of the white minority colonizers. With the Group Areas Act intact coupled with the poverty wages that Black people received, they had to stay in townships that are at the outskirts of the city whilst white people lived in the city. The unemployed Black people were imprisoned further away from the economic city in the rural areas of the former bantustans.

2. The development of housing settlements under neoliberalism

With the white occupation of urban land and the entire 90% in the country overall, they had the autonomy to set a racist beginning underpinned by the neoliberal European market fundamentalism. As is the case in classical European economics, land became a factor of production for the market. Land occupation, land ownership, land usage and control became a private commodity. As Professor Oyeronke Oyewumi puts it: “another landmark of European penetration of indigenous societies”, was “the commercialization of land”, whereby “land became a commodity to be bought and sold”. Professor Nomalanga Mkhize adds: “since land under a neoliberal economy is used to utilize other economic activities such as shelter, economic development, public transport, recreational facilities and so on, the value of that land becomes as costly as the economic activities taking place on it”.

The intersection of a neoliberal market valuation of land, racially controlled patterns of housing and urban settlement, land dispossession and forced labour, and the effects of social control in the apartheid city all resulted in a distorted form of urbanization our South African cities. Urban settlement in South Africa did not develop as an authentic form of a community emerging alongside its people centred economy for the enhancement of a neighbourhood of working families. Instead, the South African city developed out of land dispossession, racial segregation, migrant Black labour and the recycling of economic privileges for the white minority. This is at the centre of the neoliberal management of settlement spaces in the urban areas of South Africa until today, characterized by the over pricing of property in order to keep it exclusively in the hands of white people. Professor Patrick Bond refers to this drivel as class apartheid.

The neoliberal economic management of land valuation in urban areas provides three contradictions for the democratic government. Firstly, the urban area has a limited infrastructure that was built to accommodate the livelihood of the white minority it was intended to serve by apartheid. Any attempt to stretch the resources of the urban area to accommodate the democratic Black majority and the general increase of the population across all races brings a strain to the existing infrastructure of the city. As a result, in order to grow the infrastructure of the city, the government is required to maintain the neoliberal template wherein large volumes of public resources must be invested into the development of new infrastructure that must be procured from the private sector at a profit. When the government neglects this responsibility, or decides to prioritizes other crucial areas of human development, the excluded Black citizens get “left to fend for themselves, shack settlements mushroom all over the country and the question of unplanned urbanization perpetuates itself”.

Secondly, Statistics South Africa in 2018 revealed that Black people in the townships of this country are faced with an unemployment rate of 56%. The overwhelming majority of those who do have work earn poverty wages as was the case under apartheid. For the local government of a city to maintain a decent budgetary framework to deliver services to citizens and govern adequately, it requires property owners to pay their monthly municipal rates consistently. The socio-economic conditions of the Black majority make it impossible for them to honour this public commitment whilst those who are based in the urban centre with decent employment are able to pay. As a result, the local government generally and the city in particular “begins to politically and culturally belong to those who materially take care of it”.

Thirdly, land in urban areas is privately owned as endorsed in Section 25 of our liberal Constitution. This means, therefore, that when government wants to build social houses for the workers and the poor inside the city, it must seek to buy such land from its owner at a market value using the limited taxpayer’s resources. Under the current policy frameworks of government, this can only materialize when the seller of such land is willing to sell. Having the market value of land being immensely expensive, the government resources being limited, and the inherent refusal of the status quo to handover any form of economic power, it makes it impossible for the democratic government to transform the settlement patterns of the urban area.

This is at the centre of the current housing situation facing the government of the Black majority whereby houses built for the wretched of the earth by their own government are still small and are stationed far away from the city centre where land is valueless as was the case under apartheid. This neoliberal contradiction flies in the face of the promise of freedom. The people thought that freedom meant a redress of all social ills, the creation of a better life for all, and, in particular, a comprehensive revolution of how people stay and experience the quality of life in an urban area. However, this is not the case as the property relations under apartheid are still the same property relations we have under what we call a democracy. All these factors have one thing in common; a living experience for the Black majority that is demeaning and humiliating.

3. The impact of urban property relations on higher education and student accommodation.

Increased access to higher education in South Africa post-1994 has created an infrastructure crisis in the former white minority institutions. In particular, there has been an evident demand for student accommodation across all institutions of higher learning in the land. With on-campus housing accommodation being limited, there has been a massive growth of the off-campus student accommodation component in universities. The Department of Higher Education and Training revels that the overwhelming majority of students enrolled in South African universities reside in off-campus residences which are spread across the cities of this country.

The historical property relations of the cities impact the structure of each institution’s higher education system. Property relations of the city determine where a particular student will stay in the city and the quality of life that student will have in their university career. Property relations of the city determine the fees structure of the university, they impact its budgetary framework, its key priorities, and the overall political economy of the institution. Universities are built in the urban centre of the city where land is rated as being highly expensive by market forces. Universities as physical buildings and the education they offer is a service that takes places in close proximity to the market economy of the city. Universities are also employers of the labour power that is settled in the city.

It is evident, therefore, that fees charged by student residences that are privately owned and closer to the university will be more expensive than any other type of accommodation located somewhere else in the city. In the case of Port Elizabeth, the Summerstrand area offers exorbitant fees that students must pay to be in close proximity to the Nelson Mandela University campuses that are based in the mentioned suburb. Students from privileged families are able to afford fees charged in the Summerstrand area, they get to be closer to the university campus and spend less time traveling across the university to arrive for their classes and social activities. These students get to be academically and socially integrated into the university easier and they have a fulfilling living and learning experience as students. They can walk to the university campus and they have access to its resources. In addition, they have access to a quality service that the local government has to offer such as good infrastructure, security and close proximity to food outlets and entertainment areas.

On the other hand, government bursaries and scholarships cannot afford to pay fees in private properties that are at a close proximity to the university where the value of land and rent is costly. Instead, government funding would rather pay low monthly rates of rent for student accommodation that is further from the university in an area that has a cheap value of land and rent in order to cushion a larger quantity of students. In the case of Port Elizabeth, over 500 poor Black students funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme stay in a single and large property that was formerly used as factory that is in Korsten township. This property is approximately 20km from the Summerstrand campuses of Nelson Mandela University and students spend over 30 minutes on transport twice a day travelling to and from the university using the ascribed bus shuttle daily that is procured from a private company which offers the service at a profit.

This student accommodation conundrum also envelopes the government apparatus and its key priorities. A municipality at a local government level relies on generating municipal rates from student residences for its financial sustainability from the portion of the rent charged by landlords. This rent is expected to be financed by student bursaries and loans controlled by the national government. As a result, due to the high rentals charged in the municipal jurisdiction, the national government is compelled to maximize the stretch of its resources to as many students as possible who are in need by providing financial aid to those students who will be staying in cheap areas of the city that are far from the university, such as North End. This practice comes at the detriment of the quality of living and learning for the students cornered, particularly the poor, whom are a government priority in terms of graduation throughput and a university priority as far as student retention is concerned.

With off-campus residences stationed at a distance from the university campus and being characterized by limited safety and security measures, such shortfalls invite the university and government to attempt availing their limited resources to cushion the social capital of students in the form of transport, meals, and bursaries to name a few. Initially, universities are not conceptualized as housing entities but rather they are mainly concerned with the learning project. Therefore, the provision of student housing tends to be a neglected issue that seems to catch South African universities and government unprepared.

This paper has established that the land question does affect the system of higher education. It remains uncertain as to whether or not the #FeesMustFall campaign did conceptualize that property relations of a city resemble the fees structure of a university, they shape the overall political economy of higher education and they affect the living and learning experiences of students. Universities cannot be moved from the urban centre where land is deemed expensive by market forces but rather what can be done by the state is to have an equitable intervention on property values that are in university suburbs to have them re-zoned for public purpose. Higher education is a social justice instrument for the health of our democratic project and available mechanisms for the state to transform urban land property relations for the benefit of the poor and the students for the greater good of the country must be utilized, even if it would mean such urban land must be expropriated.

This paper was presented at the Urban Land Roundtable Dialogue Series 2018 hosted by the South African Cities Network on 27 March 2018 in Port Elizabeth

Readings:

Bond, P. 2004. From racial to class apartheid: South Africa’s frustrating decade of freedom. Monthly Review. 55(10).

Department of Higher Education and Training. 2011. Report on the Ministerial Committee for the Review of the Provision of Student Housing in South African Universities. Government South Africa: Pretoria.

Mkhize, N. 2015. The politics of urban land and ownership: Locating spatial transformation in the urban land question. Urban Land Series. 1. 2-9.

Ntsebeza, L. 2013. The more things change, the more they remain the same: rural land tenure and democracy in the former Bantustans, in Hendricks, F., Ntsebeza, L & Helliker, K. (eds), The promise of the land: undoing a century of dispossession in South Africa. Johannesburg: Jacana Media.

Oyewumi, O. 1997. The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.

Follow Pedro Mzileni’s writings and opinions at pedromzileni.wordpress.com 

Free Education – The Next Crisis is Student Accommodation

Pedro Mzileni

The free education announcement by government will increase the enrolment numbers across all universities and technical colleges of South Africa. Without a doubt, the government will reach its Vision 2030 target of having 1.5 million students enrolled across all institutions of higher learning in the country. In addition, government has compelled itself to cover all costs associated with fees and subsidies to cater for the increased numbers. President Jacob Zuma set a minimum target of 1% of the GDP going towards funding higher education.

With young people having demonstrated that they possess enough stamina to take to the streets and hold the system on a standstill in times of disagreement, that figure will surely increase up to 3% GDP over the next few years especially when they apply social pressure once more. At the centre of the ever-increasing number of student’s enrolments in universities post-1994, particularly the Black students from poor families, is the perception that apartheid minority rule led to the humiliating proletarianization of the South African Black family and, therefore, a university qualification is an exit footpath from that junkyard into a new trajectory of success characterized by employment, comfort, and prestige.

This social dynamic gives the demand for free higher education legitimacy in the hearts and minds of the overwhelming majority of South Africans. In addition, the government led by the liberation movement elected on the ticket of creating a socio-economically free society for the oppressed black majority, sees political value in investing in free education. In our context, most black people move from the poverty line into the middle-class status through accessing higher education, obtaining a qualification, and securing employment thereof.

It is this class of black people who carry the weight of millions of poor families in this country. As a result, a university appears in the eyes of the ordinary South African, young and old, as a factory that absorbs today’s poor people to produce tomorrow’s middle-class. Therefore, with the wealth demographics of our country remaining stubbornly unchanged since apartheid, the scuffle to access a university in our democracy will continue being a boiling point in the discourse of our political economy for decades to come.

Mass access to universities driven by the progressive funding policies of the democratic government brings into the fold another crisis – infrastructure. It is worth remembering that out of the 26 universities we have in the country, only two universities were built by this government. The illegitimate government of the past built the rest to enrol the white minority. I cannot say much about technical and vocational training colleges in South Africa because the social attitude of our society, the education system at high school level and the material interests of our economic system do not position such institutions as worthy of investment. Honestly, everybody still has their eyes glued on universities only.

On the case of infrastructure, the University of Port Elizabeth had 3500 students enrolled in 1985 and 3000 of them were staying in its on-campus residences. In 2017, it is now called the Nelson Mandela University with 28 000 students enrolled and 4000 of them reside on-campus. The university cannot accurately account as to where exactly the other 22 000 students reside in the city. In other words, the increased enrolment numbers into universities post-1994 were not matched with the same speed in expanding their existing infrastructure.

The new students will need to make use of computer labs, libraries, lecture halls, dining halls, residences, and teaching personnel. The adequate availability of such infrastructure is crucial to the teaching, research, and learning process of a university. For the university to continue being a legitimate institution in society, it must be able to cultivate its entire student body to the existing infrastructure in order to rollout student retention and student success. It is in that value chain where students gain the worth of being in university so that when they complete their qualifications, they go on to be useful citizens who contribute to the realization of social justice. That is the central mandate society gives to universities as enshrined in the National Development Plan.

Residences are a space where students live, learn, and have a sense of community with others. Due to the influx of enrolments, universities have been forced to incorporate the option of off-campus accommodation to their systems. Departments of Student Affairs across the higher education sector are on a constant struggle to avail an equal distribution and quality of resources between on-campus and off-campus residences in order to give students a fulfilling living and learning experience. However, this proves to be a difficult task to execute.

Whilst on-campus residences have all the necessary resources and are highly credited for snowballing the academic performance of students, off-campus residences are privately owned and are known for student exploitation, lack of safety and poor facilities. Students accommodated in off-campus residences find life difficult and they get exposed to many risks that elevate their likelihood of dropping out of university. Furthermore, most off-campus residences are far from the university campus and this exposes poor students specifically to lack of transport, vulnerability in the evening and detachment from campus life. All these challenges threaten student retention and student success.

Government, universities, business and student leaders must welcome the announcement of free education but with one eye focusing on the long-term effects the decision will have on infrastructure. The noble cause of free education would be futile when the infrastructure available is unable to cushion the students who need it the most to succeed. There must be an accelerated effort from all university stakeholders to be comprehensively proactive on the looming crisis of infrastructure backlog to make sure that those whom free education has been created to benefit do not go on to become casualties of a dream deferred.

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HOW DO WE END PATRIARCHY?

Patriarchy

The past few weeks have seen public outcries throughout the country following the arrest of Jesus Dominion International Televangelist, Tim Omotoso.

Omotoso who is facing charges of human trafficking and sexual assault after a number of women brought forward sexual abuse allegations, has been denied bail and set to appear at the Port Elizabeth Magistrates court in two weeks’ time.

Tim Omatomo’s case is not one that is unfamiliar in our newspapers, communities and our country. In fact every year, the abuse of women by men in authority is a conversation that we are well accustomed to. One discourse that we still need to have though, is that of women who still support men who degrade and are oppressive, be it young or old instead of holding them accountable for their actions.

Those who have attended the court hearing of Omotoso’s case can attest that the real scandal can be found outside of the courtroom. On the 23rd of April, news24 reported that two groups were gathered outside, one demanding that Omotoso not get bail and the other, which was mainly made up of women and members of his church, coming to defend him.

This can’t help but take us back to a time, when our very own president was accused of rape in 2005. When multiple members of the ANC’s Women League gathered outside of the courtroom calling the victim all types of derogatory names and calling for the release of Jacob Zuma.

The irony though is that, the ANCWL can be seen in the forefront of defending the victims of Omotoso and calling for a heavy sentence. Does this then not communicate a double standard on their part? Why is it that women, instead of coming together in solidarity and speaking against sexual abuse of women and patriarchy, instead enable these men to get away with these crimes?

In such cases, we hardly see women who are supposed to be pillars of the communities defend the victims. No one defended Khwezi, and definitely no older women now are standing for Omotoso’s victims without ulterior motives. The needs to be a discourse set to end patriarchy and misogyny.

Sinesipho Joyi

HOMOSEXUALITY IN OUR DEMOCRACY

gay rights pixabay
Google picture: Gay Pride March

South Africa has enjoyed 23 years of democracy. An ideal which was profusely appreciated in post-apartheid. Democracy, as well, introduced to South Africans, a host of rights which could be explored in all aspects of existence – including sexuality. However, all these rights are coupled with responsibilities that each person should take upon themselves to exercise.

After all these reflective years into democracy one would think that South Africans would now be a bit more open-minded when it comes to certain things, including sexuality. One would even go as assuming that communities such as the LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender) wouldn’t find themselves treated in isolation or with hostility. Sadly, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

It is quite contradictory that while we enjoy freedom of speech, we find it difficult to have constructive conversations about sexuality – as such, the idea remains taboo.     Instead, people find it more suiting to ostracize people whose sexuality differs from the conventional heterosexual setting. People, especially in the black communities don’t believe that there can be people of different sexual orientations in these very black communities. Granted, hostility toward homosexuality is much more prevalent in black communities but there are perpetual discomforts in white communities as well.

What’s even more discouraging is the ease with which homophobes belittle homosexual people. By virtue of South Africans not teaching each other and learning about such ideas, we’re constantly exposed to the worst stories of brutality. Women who are openly lesbian or transgender are still subject to hate crimes – unnecessary killings which are apparently aimed at ‘correcting’. As to what is being corrected exactly, one can only wonder.

As such, people find themselves in perpetual fear for their lives – because should they openly express their sexuality – they may as well have dug their graves. In an article by ReachOut.com a homosexual man alluded that ‘at the age of 6, I started questioning my sexuality and how I had to cope with it. Even though I didn’t tell anybody about it, I just keep it to myself. I know a mother knows when her child is gay. Mothers just know. All the feelings I had were not just based on girls. They were strongly based on men. I couldn’t lie to myself, but I blocked it out because of what everybody else said’.

This only suggests that because we find ourselves in unfriendly societies – at home is where parents need to encourage their children to be themselves regardless of what society may dictate. To think reflectively such that even their actions aren’t contributing to homophobia.

Additionally, people should stand together as the members of the LGBT community (or otherwise) and educate people because it’s the not knowing and understanding of the different sexual preferences that results in all these crimes and heinous behaviour. The government could also to be more involved, by putting more effective laws in place to protect the LGBT community and support them by having structures in place where they can support each other and help educate other people about them.

Nomfundo Modi