Climate of Hate Continues to Put LGBTI People at Risk



While the end of December marks a time of family, relaxation and celebration for many South Africans, for two LGBTI people in Gauteng and the Western Cape, it saw their brutal murder.

Within less than 10 days, Motshidisi Pascalina, a young lesbian woman from Evaton in Gauteng, and Phoebe Titus, a transwoman from Wolsely in the Western Cape, endured a terrifying and violent death because of their identity.

Phoebe Titus died after being stabbed in the neck by a knife casually passed from a bystander to her alleged murderer. She made it just 500m before she lost her life. The incident began after she accidentally stepped on the accused’s foot in line.

Motshidisi Pascalina’s body was discovered on the 18th of December. She suffered a violent death, followed by a desecration of her remains including the removal of her vagina, eyes and breasts with a knife.

These women lived on opposite ends of this country, they spoke different languages, were different ages and identified in different ways; what ties them together is that they were ‘other’. They did not love who they were supposed to love or look how they were supposed to look and they crossed paths with those who think that this difference should be punished by death.

We know that for Phoebe, some of the last words she heard were “vuil moffie” and this demonstrates the underlying issue. So long as so many people are able to think of LGBTI people as “vuil”, disgusting, perverted, sick or otherwise wrong, it will be easy to justify the violence that gets doled out to these apparent “non-people”.

Triangle Project will continue fighting for justice for Phoebe and others in the Western Cape who face the daily threat of deadly violence. We condemn yet more LGBTI persons’ lives being so carelessly ended. We further send our support and solidarity to the community organizations working in Gauteng to do the same for Motshidisi including Vaal LGBTI.

We appeal to the public to stand up to intolerance where they see it, to challenge it in their schools, churches, online and in their homes. Only through this effort to bring value to the lives of others can we hope to prevent more death.

For enquiries contact Triangle Project:

Sharon Ludwig
Health and Support Services Manager

Matthew Clayton
Research, Advocacy and Policy Manager