Saturday, January 9, 2010


The murder of lesbian woman and Swaziland gay rights activist Pitseng Vilakati is beginning to attract international attention.

The latest reaction questions the role of the Swazi media in vilifying Vilakati and Thui Rudd, the woman she was planning to marry.

Rudd has been arrested for the murder of Vilakati, but people are beginning to question whether Rudd is really guilty or whether she has been set up by the Swazi media which hysterically attacked the couple after they publicly declared their love and their intention to marry.

Clarisse Thorn, writing on carnalnation said, ‘I’ve been tracking Pitseng’s story at a distance—and the Swazi media, bloodthirsty and intent on creating a circus, made it easy to track. There was a small furor after the engagement announcement in August [2009], when Pitseng and her partner Thuli Rudd declared their commitment at an upscale restaurant.

‘In September, Thuli Rudd's mother told the newspapers that her daughter had abandoned two children to her care and refused to give any help supporting them. In October, Thuli Rudd was supposedly committed to a hospital after attempting suicide. More recently, the pair was seen in court because, apparently, Thuli had stolen some items from Pitseng—but the wedding was set to go on. Then, on December 22nd, Pitseng's body was identified. She'd been found dead three days before, on Saturday.’

Thorn goes on, ‘Though it wasn't exactly explicit, the media swiftly made it clear that there was one major suspect for Pitseng's murder. Gleefully reported was the fact that Thuli was out of the country when the body was identified, and that she didn't attend her fiancée's funeral. She was detained at the border when she re-entered Swaziland, and on the 31st, it was announced that Thuli had confessed to the crime.

‘Did Thuli avoid the funeral out of guilt or because she knew the world was presuming guilt? Did she confess because she murdered her lover or because she hoped for lenience if she gave a suitably tearful apology? The paper vaguely notes that she cited "ill treatment" by police, which makes it impossible not to ask—just how voluntary was that confession?’

To read the full article click here.

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