They found Noxolo Nogwaza's body in a drainage ditch choked with trash and high reeds. The lesbian activist had been repeatedly stabbed with broken glass, and beaten so severely with chunks of concrete that her teeth had been knocked out.
The neighborhood where the 24-year-old mother of two was slain once was known as a haven for black gays and lesbians, but activists say her death here late last month highlights an alarming rise in homophobic violence in some of the country's most impoverished areas.
"If the police and other state officials do not act swiftly, it will only be a matter of time before they have to account for their failure to the family and friends of the next lesbian who is beaten and killed in Kwa-Thema," Human Rights Watch researcher Dipika Nath said in a statement.
No arrests have been made in Nogwaza's death, one of dozens that happen each day in a country with high rates of violent crime. Authorities are also investigating whether she had been raped.
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