The South African constitution guarantees every citizen, irrespective of colour, creed or sexual preference, the same rights.
But this official pledge does not protect gay and lesbian people from assaults from ordinary people.
Gay women in particular are subject to something called corrective rape - an attempt by men to make lesbians straight - and punish them for preferring women.
To counter this, the government has set up a task team to deal with hate crimes.
Ndumiso Funda the founder of Luleki Sizwe, the organisation advocates the rights of gays and lesbians in South Africa and is working in 10 black townships and rural areas in Cape Town.
She spoke to Network Africa's Audrey Brown.