Shortly after the publication of our Rundbrief 9 we learned of
the death of
Simon Tseko Nkoli, on the eve of World Aids Day. For more than
13 years Simon had lived bravely with HIV/AIDS.
Simon was a fighter for freedom and justice for all – fearless
champion against prejudice and despair - respected leader of lesbian,
gay and transgender women and men. Anti Apartheid activist, Gay
and Lesbian rights activist and HIV/AIDS activist, he was dared
to declare his sexual orientation and his HIV status at a time
when few were prepared to do so. He defied the notion that being
gay is unAfrican.
Simon played and important role in putting Lesbian and Gay issues
on the agenda of the African National Congress (ANC). Simon was
a defendant in the Delmas "conspiracy" trial and was
jailed for treason for three years in the mid-1980s. In an interview,
he explained: "It was because of my previous political involvement.
I was involved in anti-apartheid organizations and demonstrated
against unjust laws such as detention without trial, inferior
education and the increased rents. I was held under Section 29
of the Internal Security Act."
As a founding member, of both GLOW and the NCGLE, Simon played
an important role in ensuring that equality for Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual and Transgender persons has been included in the South
African Constitution as an unalienable right. He was locally and
internationally loved, and respected for his fearless personal
struggle for the liberation of his fellow men and women; whether
from the indignity and scars of apartheid, from ignorance and
homophobia, from fear and misunderstanding about HIV/AIDS, Simon's
life celebrated hope, survival and a deep seated conviction that
creating a world without prejudice is a duty for every human being.
Premier Popo Molefe (of the North West Province) and Patrick Lekota
(National Chairperson of the African National Congress) who were
Simon's fellow defendants during the Delmas Treason Trial spoke
at his funeral.