On Sunday afternoon, 24 March 2019, we learned that our comrade Ayanda Denge was fatally stabbed in her room at occupied Ahmed Kathrada House in Green Point.
We still do not know the events that lead to this senseless killing.The police were called immediately and are currently investigating her death.
Ayanda identified as a trans woman who came to live at Ahmed Kathrada House after finding herself living on the street. She had been a sex worker for many years and was an advocate for the rights of sex workers and trans people in this city.
Ayanda will be remembered for her resilience and commitment to empowering those around her. She was a talented poet. She was elected as a house leader less than a month ago to lead our struggle for decent housing. We all looked forward to her leading the first RTC women’s group at Ahmed Kathrada House.
We are reminded that a year ago, in March 2018, we lost another comrade Zamuxolo ‘Rasta’ Dolophini when he was fatally stabbed by a security guard working for a private security company contracted by the Province to look after the occupied building. That case has been postponed countless times and there is still no justice.
We cannot separate the safety of women and LGBTQI people living in the occupation from the refusal by the Western Cape Provincial Government to turn the electricity and water back on at Ahmed Kathrada House.
The house is pitch black at night. We need lights to keep each other safe. It is as if the Province wishes to punish poor and working class people, whose only crime is that we needed a home. While they may disagree with our reasons for occupying they should be ashamed of themselves for putting politics before the safety and dignity of residents of this city.
Rest in Peace comrade Ayanda Denge, we shall remember you as we carry the torch forward in the struggle for decent well-located housing.