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Born Free, Killed by Hate in South Africa

April 28th, 2016

Episode 1242 of 1365 episodes

In 1994 apartheid ended in South Africa and Nelson Mandela was elected president. He promised in his inauguration speech to “build a society in which all South Africans will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts ... a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.” These promises were enshrined in South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution, the first in the world to outlaw all forms of discrimination. In 1994 Motshidisi Pascalina Melamu was born, making her one of the first of the so-called ‘born free generation’. Pasca, as she was known, dreamed of becoming a politician, and studied hard at school. She loved singing, dancing and football. And girls - Pasca was a lesbian. In December last year, Pasca’s body was found in a field. She had been beaten and mutilated. She was one of three LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex) people murdered in a six-week period last year. Hate crimes against the LGBTI community have long been a problem in South Africa, and the government has tried to tackle them. But activists say these recent crimes are just one sign that things aren’t getting better. James Fletcher travels to the townships south of Johannesburg to speak with Pasca’s family and friends, and to ask whether the government is failing LGBTI South Africans.

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