Eudy Simelane, gay icon with a tragic fate

In 2008, Eudy Simelane was found murdered after being subjected to horrific abuse. This South African international footballer was one of the first players in the country to assert his homosexuality. A look back at a pioneer’s tragic fate on this world day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.

She would have turned 45 this year and could have become a regular part of South Africa’s women’s national football team. Banyana banyana that Eudy Simelane played for in the 2000s. Or the one who was born in 1977 in the township of KwaThema, near Johannesburg, could have become a judge. She had really started training for.

But we will never know what this gay pioneer in South African football would have done. On April 27, 2008, the body of the football player had indeed been found in a stream, not far from her home. She had been brutally murdered, after being beaten, the victim of a gang rape, stabbed many times.

A few months later, two of the suspects were sentenced to 32 years in prison and life imprisonment respectively. However, the qualification “corrective” rape had not been retained by the local judiciary. Eudy Simelane then became a symbol of violence against lesbians in South Africa, she, the activist in the “07/07/07 Campaign”, to end hate crimes against South African LGBT people.

LGBTQI + ICONS Eudy Simelane was a successful football player, active LGBTQI + activist and one of the first women to live as an open lesbian in her hometown of KwaThema, Springs, Gauteng. She played as a midfielder for her local Springs Home Sweepers team, as well as for SA … pic.twitter.com/FqlXEeRiJh

– Constitution Hill SA (@VisitConHill) October 8, 2020 Precursor However, the relatives of the deceased preferred to remember his joy thanks to the round ball. “Around the age of 85, when she started playing football, she was nicknamed ‘Styles’ because she was left-handed,” says her mother, MallySimelane, proudly in a documentary by the Open Association. Society Foundation.

“She loved football very much from her earliest childhood,” says Eudy’s grandmother, Gogo Skhosana. Then I was ashamed and worried about what the neighbors might think. But she replied, “Gogo, my soul is at peace when I play.”

The midfielder thus wore the colors of Springs Home Sweepers, the club in her neighborhood. A training that has seen many great players in the country, such as the current and charismatic South African captain, Janine van Wyk.

This opened the doors of selection for him. “She was always ready to help others and a really very humble person, had reacted to her teammate Anna Monate, in a tribute at the site of the South African Federation (SAFA), in May 2008. It is a real loss for domestic football because of their talent in women’s football is not abundant all over the country and I know that their players have been hit hard by it in the club. “

Symbol Instead of becoming a star, the South African has become a symbol. In Paris, sports equipment will soon be called Eudy Simelane. Near his KwaThema a bridge had been built in his name, with his picture on it. For fraternal care, Bafana, the legacy of Eudy Simelane is still very much present. “My sister’s death was planned. They succeeded in murdering him, but they were not entirely successful because his memory and his vision are still alive. Even if people try to forget him, his spirit will live on.

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