By: Thobeka TK Bhengu

Performance artist, Choreographer, Dancer and Artistic Director of the Rainbow Theatre Group at Gay & Lesbian Network.

I am used to violence, I was raised around it. I remember the gruesome murder of a young man who tried to rape my grandmother.

The morning after the attack, mom got me ready for school earlier than usual. We made our way to where the community gathered after they caught the man. The mob carried just about anything to torture the man. I watched as he was tortured and killed. I never flinched.

As I grew older I distanced myself from violence but not my family. Talking things through was a futile exercise, I refuse to be like them. Violence doesn’t scare me neither does death but for the past 3-5 years I have feared for my life, not death but how I will die.   

We have seen and been around violence in our black families, yet we stay silent about it. The same way we have been silent about the violence in LGBTI relationships, particularly lesbian relationships.

I am also part of the problem, we have been too silent as women and defenders of human rights.

We are petrified to speak out because of the fear of being vilified by the victims themselves but mostly by our very own LGBTI community. So we vowed silence, until recently.

I salute women like Phila Mbanjwa and Tinashe Wakapila for starting these conversations. We will no longer be silent. Staying mum, makes you a part of the problem. We won’t turn a blind eye any longer. It really does start with you.