Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee (EPOC), South Africa
Local Hero Ntsupe Mohapi is working in her local community of KwaThema, South Africa to combat the rising violence against gay youth and adults. In her efforts to end the violence and targeted attacks against the LBGTI community, Ntsupe co-founded and chairs the gay-rights organization Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee (EPOC) in KwaThema. Of particular concern to her are the heinous crimes happening known as “corrective rape”—an assault in which a man rapes a lesbian in an attempt to “cure” her sexual orientation. At least 31 lesbians have been killed in attacks so far, many of which began as corrective rape. According to its laws, South Africa is one of the most progressive countries regarding diversity issues and in December of 2006, South Africa became the fifth country in the world, and the first in Africa, to legalize same-sex marriage. Sadly, these laws have not created social acceptance, especially in more rural areas. EPOC provides a platform for the LGBTI community in KwaThema to speak out and fight for their legal right to protection from abuse and harassment as South African citizens. Read more about Ntsupe Mohapi’s project below.