Press release: Eudy Simelane Lecture, 7 th April 2016, Colin Webb Hall, Pietermaritzburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 5.30pm.
The Ujamaa Centre of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (in partnership with The Other Foundation,
the Pietermaritzburg Gay & Lesbian Network, and the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council) inaugurates
an annual Eudy Simelane Lecture on the 7 th of April 2016.
Eudy Simelane’s body was violated and her life taken because she was lesbian. This hate crime was
perpetrated by men from her own community in KwaThema, not far from her family home. These
crimes were committed against Eudy Simelane because of her sexual orientation. Her local profile as
a mid-fielder in the Springs Home Sweepers F.C. and her national profile as a Banyana Banyana star
were not enough to protect her.
The Ujamaa Centre recognises that in South African communities religious change is central to social
change. Those who raped and murdered Eudy Simelane would have justified their criminal actions
on religio-cultural grounds. The Ujamaa Centre contests these religio-cultural grounds, collaborating
with local faith-based organisations and civil society so that religion becomes a redemptive and life-
giving, not death-dealing, resource.
In the inaugural Eudy Simelane Lecture we will watch and listen to a video of those who knew and
loved Eudy, including her family, who will be present. We have invited Mmapaseka ‘Steve’ Letsike,
a friend of Eudy Simelane and a gender, sexuality, and HIV activist, to speak about black lesbian
reality. We have also invited Justice Edwin Cameron, an eminent human rights lawyer and
Constitutional Court judge, as well as a LGBTI and HIV activist, to address us.
The Eudy Simelane Lecture, like each of the Ujamaa Centre’s public ‘lectures’ will draw together a
wide diversity of sectors, and will provide space for discussion with the speakers. The Ujamaa Centre,
together with Prof Cheryl Potgieter, the DVC for the College of Humanities, and herself a scholar
and activist in the area of gender and sexuality, invites you to the Eudy Simelane Lecture.