By Soraya Soemadiredja
Eudy Simelane was a well respected midfielder and captain of the South African women’s national soccer team, Banyana Banyana, passionate about the game. She was also gay and that’s why she was murdered. On the 28th of April 2008, at the age of 31 she was gang-rapped[sic] and stabbed while being subjected to “corrective rape”. Simelane’s teammate from the Tsakane Ladies football club, Girlie “S’gelane” Nkosi, aged 37, a lesbian activist actively fighting against hate crimes, was stabbed and murdered a year later in Kwa-Thema, where they were both from.
I hate to be one of those condescending “I’m not surprised” outside observers, but South Africa is still beset with problems of inequality and discrimination. Forget the difficulties in delivering security to the event. When the country is suffering from widespread corruption and general disorganization in delivering law and order to many local communities, a World Cup is going to be merely a temporary reprieve to showcase the elites and the already rich. At the end of the day, this is a glorified international soccer tournament that will not solve or even address the numerous injustices ongoing in South Africa, even if FIFA claims that the World Cup is more than just sport. I’ll watch the games with fervoured interest as a sports fan, but any talk about the World Cup representing more than just revenue and promoting market brands will fall on deaf ears.