Iranti remembers Thapelo Makhutle

On the 23rd of June 2012, we first shared the story of Thapelo Makhutle’s resilience in living his life truthfully and unapologetically as a member of the LGBTIQ community. Today, a decade later, we honour him, we celebrate his life and we grieve the brutal loss of our sibling.

Thapelo’s life reminds us what Pride means to many black South African queer bodies – a time to celebrate our lives and do so without apology, it is also time to pay homage to those we have lost and those who have been violently taken from our community.

This year, Iranti reflects on its 10 years of existence and our contributions to defending the rights of LGBTIQ persons in Africa and the growing discourse on human rights. 10 years after his death, Thapelo’s murder continues to serve as a painful reminder of why Iranti’s work is important in upholding the memories of Thapelo and many others that have had their lives taken from them at the hands of a violent society and the state’s failure to affirm their rights and freedoms.

As we look ahead, Iranti renews its commitment to defending the lives and rights of LGBTIQ persons and calls for the protection of queer bodies in South Africa and Africa, by our families and communities, by states, by the law and definitely by ourselves: we will not tire to demand accountability. The spirit of Thapelo and many others who lost their lives for living their truth continues to drive us in advocating for the rights of the LGBTIQ people in South Africa, Africa, and the world.

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