FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
24 July 2012
In loving memory
Vuyisa Dayisi’s dead body was discovered next to her shack in Duncan Village, East London on Sunday morning 15 July 2012. This was a great shock to all the minority groups in East London to whom she was known as “Norizana”. 28- year old Vuyisa proudly identified as a transgender woman and was known by everyone in her community.
Her death sent shock waves through Duncan Village. The circumstances surrounding her death and the way her body was found raises many questions but nothing can be proved until the autopsy report is issued. Witnesses say Vuyisa’s body was found with her pants pulled, her genitals exposed and she was wearing only one shoe. Superficial evidence points to the possibility that she was killed.
Close friends who viewed the corpse said she had a blow to the forehead and appeared to have been smothered.
Vuyisa left the tavern where they had drinks on the Saturday evening, only to be found dead the Sunday morning. It was not unusual for her to have left the tavern alone since she was well known in the community.
She was laid to rest Saturday 21 July 2012 in her native village, Nxaruni. Friends and family spoke affectionately about the beautiful young transgender woman. A friend said: “Vuyisa was always glamorous and looked her best at all times. When I first met Vuyisa, she persuaded me to wear a pair of high heels, which I was not willing to do since I identify as a gay man and not a trans woman. I respect her very much and will remember her kindness and generosity”.
The tone of the funeral was one that constantly reiterated Vuyisa’s gender identity and femininity and her sister summarised her character as follows:
“Vuyisa was a lady, ebe li homba” (meaning she was always neat and well groomed). Each time the minister spoke of laying to rest lo tata (this gentleman), the community was quick to correct him saying hayi! Lo sisi (this woman).
Different speakers related what Vuyisa meant to them as a person, including colleagues from Berea Spar, family members and friends who came out in great numbers to celebrate the life of someone who did so much for others.
The East London High Transmission Area Project and S.H.E, social, health and empowerment feminist collective of transgender and intersex women of Africa were two of human rights organisations in attendance at the funeral service. Vuyisa was associated with both organisations as a participant on capacity building for minority groups in East London.
Her death comes in the days leading up to national women’s day celebrated on 9 August in South Africa. This sends a rather negative message in what is supposed to be a celebration of women’s rights for all women in South Africa, including transgender women!
Coordinator for S.H.E, Leigh Ann van der Merwe says:”Hate crimes should have no place in our society and we can never tolerate a system where hate becomes a part of our societal fabric. We cannot tolerate such indifference where minority groups are being persecuted for their chosen sexual orientations and/or gender identities”.
The SAPS is investigating Vuyisa’s death. We are asking local NGO’s and human rights groups to ensure that Vuyisa gets the justice she deserves.
For more information contact:
S.H.E, social, health and empowerment feminist collective of transgender and intersex women in Africa.
Through equality and accountability, ensuring visibility of transgender and intersex women in feminist spaces
Leigh Ann van der Merwe – Coordinator
EAST LONDON HTA PROJECT
Committed to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS/STI‘s occurring through casual & commercial sex
Nomzamo Maqungu – East London HTA Project – Executive Director
Tel: 043 742 2651
Fax: 086 639 3304