Iranti-org, creating meaningful space for Queer Activism. Iranti-org is a queer human rights visual media organization based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Iranti-org works within a human rights framework as its foundational platform for raising issues on Gender, Identities and Sexuality. Read more about Iranti-org.
South Africa, 22 September 2016
Yesterday, the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) regretfully announced the postponement of Soweto Pride 2016. The postponement is a result of being bullied by state entities intent on stamping out and discouraging all forms of political protest.
The video examines the issues behind the postponement, including the state's request that FEW - a non-profit organisation, pay for police protection because of the public holiday, increased policing requirements of queer black bodies within the event, requirements to arrange additional private security guards, and to capitalize and commercialize Soweto Pride. The suspension leaves us with the question queer black and trans bodies confront daily; who's streets?
South Africa, 21 September 2016
It is with great regret that we, the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), announce the postponement of Soweto Pride 2016. The postponement is a result of being bullied by state entities who seem intent on stemming out and discouraging all forms of political protest. Read the full press statement…
The Lesbians Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) and Reverend Dumi Mmualefe submitted a petition with 2317 signatures to the Botswana Government to prevent Anderson from starting a church in the country. After a hate speech utterance by Anderson, the Botswana Government declared him a prohibited immigrant. Read more…
Events ~ Queer Pride is African Pride... the Exhibition
Women in Ventersdorp are terrorized
by the 26’s Gang
by Ayanda Msiza
31 August 2016, South Africa
Lesbian women fear for their safety as they face increased attacks, such as rape, death threats and psychological violence from a gang of men known as the 26s. SAPS is silent on this and prosecutor’s pass on these cases because they fear for their safety. Melissa Makau recently survived this ordeal.
Outside the Ventersdorp Magistrate Vourt. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Melissa Makau and her friend Koos were walking pass the graveyard in Toevlug, Ventersdorp, when a member of 26’s gang threatened her with a gun. He pointed the gun at her and told her friend to run and that he should not attempt to call the police or else his friend’s life will be in danger. The perpetrator took her to his backroom, where she was raped at gunpoint.
Two years ago Disebo Gift Makau a lesbian woman was raped and murdered by a member of 26’s gang. The perpetrator was sentenced to two life terms and 15 years in prison. This gang has terrorized Gift Makau’s mother and she was forced to flee her home. She is back and lives in constant fear.
After the brutal rape Melissa’s perpetrator said, “Tell your other lesbian friends they are next. I know where they stay and I know their working hours.” Melissa’s perpetrator is known as a dangerous person in the community of Toevlug, Ventersdorp. He has committed several other sexual offences before.
The prosecutor assigned to this case has requested another prosecutor to handle this matter. He fears for his safety. Iranti-org is shocked to learn how the criminal justice system in the North West Province is fearful of this gang. How many women in Ventersdorp will be targeted?
Melissa deserves justice. The Bill of Rights sets to ensure rights of all people in South Africa and it calls for the right to freedom and security, including freedom from all violence by both public or private sources, and the right to bodily and psychological integrity.
The perpetrator was arrested the following day, on 18 August 2016, and will be appearing on 1 September 2016 for the third time at Ventersdorp Magistrate Court.
We call upon SAPS to thoroughly investigate the 26’s gang and to institute safety measures for women and the LGBTI community in Ventersdorp.
On Saturday 6 August 2016, the police found the deserted body of 16 year old Lesley Makousa in a nearby field of Promosa, in the North West Province. Lesley Makousa was a gay Grade 10 learner at Promosa Secondary School.
On 11 August 2016, Iranti attended Lesley’s memorial service which was hosted by Promosa Secondary School. There was a high attendance from bereaved family, school mates and the broader community of Promosa. Lesley’s teacher spoke highly of them and expressed a deep regret that they had passed on so soon.
Iranti documented the memorial service and is monitoring the investigation of Lesley's murder. Rest in power Lesley, you will be missed.
Civil Society’s Response to South Africa’s
UN abstention on the creation of a SOGI Independent Expert
Geneva, 15 August 2016
South African-based civil society organisations together with the LGBTI community and human-rights based entities were shocked by the country’s abstention at the crucial voting that took place at the UN Human Rights Council on 30 June 2016 on a resolution aimed at establishing an Independent Expert on violence and discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. South Africa’s abstentions on voting on the day had far-reaching consequences. SA leadership could have helped build regional support and shape a more positive and inclusive dynamic; as it was, states like Angola, which co-sponsored the resolution at an early stage, were left feeling isolated, and withdrew co-sponsorship. In addition, South Africa abstained, not only on passing the resolution as a whole, but also on hostile amendments introduced by states that are in opposition to the human rights of LGBTI people.
For example, one suggested amendment expressed concern at the international human rights system inclusion of SOGI issues, terming them “social” and outside of the human rights framework. This amendment was adopted by a single vote of 18-17, with 9 abstentions. If South Africa had opposed this derogatory language, instead of abstaining, the vote would have been 18-18, with 8 abstentions, and the amendment would not have passed. Finally, the resolution as a whole passed with several hostile amendments, and the South African government’s choice to abstain was as damaging as having voted against the resolution.
Despite South Africa attending resolution negotiations, it did not speak, engage, present concerns or make proposals. In its explanation of its abstention, South Africa also attacked the Latin American states sponsoring the resolution, calling their approach “polarising”. In fact, numerous delegations praised the lead sponsors for their collaborative and respectful approach, and despite South Africa’s allegations of polarisation, the margin of support for the resolution creating the Independent Expert was actually higher than for South Africa’s own resolution in 2011. Ironically, South Africa also invoked its own Constitution and the struggle against Apartheid, a history that has taught South Africa a more collaborative approach seeking “maximum unity in the council”, overlooking that it was in part, international pressure from the UN that contributed to the end of Apartheid.
Iranti-org engaged with various civil society organisations to collate reactions from civil society to South Africa’s voting, and increase awareness of the impact the state’s regional and global actions have on South African and broader African LGBTI communities.
On Saturday the 6th of August, the police found the deserted body of 16 year old Lesley Makousa in a nearby field of Promosa, in the North West province. Lesley Makousa was a gay grade 10 learner at Promosa Secondary School. Lesley was found lying face down and his shoes neatly placed next his body. Lesley had been strangled to death with shoelaces. On the 11 of August, Iranti attended Lesley’s memorial service which was hosted by Promosa Secondary School. Read more…
The Mandela Marathon is a two day run inspired by the life of anti-Apartheid struggle hero, Nelson Mandela. The Marathon will take place on the 27-28 August 2016 in Howick, Pietermaritzburg. Iranti-org staff participated in the Marathon last year and would like to participate again this year. We need your help! We require assistance with transportation costs in order for us to participate in this sporting event.
In the words of Mandela, "Sports has the power to change the world." Help us change the world!
PASSOP is hosting a community-building and awareness-raising event on Saturday July 23rd. The aim is to promote understanding and tolerance, as well as further the integration of LGBTI refugees into the larger LGBTI community here in Cape Town. Our hope is that the event will encourage LGBTI refugee rights activism, empower the community, and be educational for those outside the community. The latter being extremely important for the safety of this very marginalized population. There will be an array of speakers.
About The African Queer Media Makers Network (AQMMN)
South Africa, 11 July 2016
In 2012, African Queer activists came together to form what is now
known as the AQMMN. The AQMMN aims to build capacity in media skills, change societal attitudes through increasing visibility and awareness, and use media as a tool to advocate for change. We also understand that misrepresentations and stereotypes that occur through others telling our stories for us and are a product of effort and energy. As a Network, we work towards matching that effort, owning our narratives, and reclaiming our power in global discourse on our lived realities
Press Release - The Urology Hospital in Pretoria operates in violation of human rights norms
8 July 2016, Pretoria
Many individuals with hypospadias do not experience the functional and/or psychosocial difficulties commonly attributed to it by the medical sector, nor desire surgery for it. In addition, hypospadias surgery carries a substantial risk of significantly poor cosmetic and functional outcomes, negatively impacting sexual and reproductive health. Dr Kabo Ijane describes even mild these instances in pathologisting terms, referring to healthy manifestations of bodily diversity as “abnormal”. We condemn the approach described by Dr Ijane and call on the Urology Hospital in Pretoria to set a precedent and meet with civil society to develop guidelines. Read more…
A personal story of a Trans person as they navigate the legal system in Kenya in relation to name change. It highlights the challenges Kenyan Trans people go through when they legally change their name but are unable to effect the changes on their national documents.
United Nations Makes History on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity by establishing an Independent Expert. It is a historic victory for the human rights of all persons who are at risk of discrimination and violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, 28 human rights groups said today. “It is important to note that around 70% of the organizations are from the global south,” said Yahia Zaidi of MantiQitna Network. “This is a powerful cross regional message of strength to the United Nations to protect the rights of LGBTI persons.” Read more…
Events ~ Pan African IlGA Regional LGBTI Conference
AFRICAN BODIES BREAKING GROUND BUILDING BRIDGES
Jholerina Timbo, director Wings to Transcend in Namibia
South Africa, 27 June 2016
African Bodies Breaking Grounds Building Bridges was the theme for the Pan African IlGA Regional Conference that took place in Johannesburg from 13-18 May 2016. This conference meant that emerging trans focused organizations had an opportunity to network with bigger organizations to share experiences, get advice and guidance.
Small organizations engaged with possible donors and funders to create future partnerships that could benefit the transgender community of Namibia. The Trans pre-conference was amazing and hands on and we got to see that regardless of where in Africa we come from, we share similar challenges. We face issues of stigma, discrimination and violence.
Access to services health care facilities and the protection from the law is lacking. Generally, there is a lack of information on Trans terminologies and what they mean, there is a lack of trans visibility in commonalities were part of the issues that came up. It came to light that as much as we might find ourselves in different parts of Africa, gender identity issues still need a lot of advocacy, sensitization and awareness-raising. This became evident when many transgender activists expressed views on how they have to advocate for inclusion and space we are supposed to be part of like LGBTI conferences.
The main conference was also informative with panel discussions that motivated and enlightened us on how we can lobby for equality and equity for the communities we serve. There were panel discussions that also shared best practices and guidelines to ensure our advocacy strategies are in line with our country contexts and constitutions. Furthermore, how we can use regional and international instruments and mechanism to aid our struggle and trans advocacy.
This conference brought together more than 35 countries and had more then 180 participants from across the globe.
The conference was a safe space where many Africans that are rejected, stigmatized and unacknowledged could express themselves fully without fear. The PAN AFRICAN ILGA REGIONAL LGBTI CONFERENCE was motivational. Yes, indeed, African bodies are breaking grounds and building bridges.
Steve Letsike, the director of Access Chapter 2, is a local and international LGBTI activist who has worked closely with the South African Government around constitutional reform and gender justice. In light of the Latin American Core Group (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay) which has recently tabled the SOGI resolution at the UN Human Rights Council, we asked Steve to weigh in on why she thinks the South African government should vote for a UN SOGI Expert and what this would mean for LGBTI activism on a global level.
UN SOGI Resolution interview with
South Africa, 22 June 2016
In many countries, LGBTI communities and activists are criminalized and persecuted daily. Globally, the fight for LGBTI rights to be recognized and included in the human rights frameworks of various countries and regional bodies is still a long way from victory. The Latin American Core Group (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay) has now officially tabled the SOGI resolution at the UN Human Rights Council. In South Africa, the government has made various commitments in the constitution to uphold and protect personal freedoms including those of the LGBTI community. Therefore, it becomes imperative that the South African government votes affirmative for a UN SOGI expert. In South Africa, we spoke to Yasmin Sooka, who has been involved in many UN processes and has served as a UN Special Rapporteur for torture in Sri Lanka, in order to get her perspective on what a UN SOGI Expert would mean for LGBTI activism globally.
Sitting on the sandy beach front on Mombasa's public beach, Saida stares into the vast blue horizon while she fidgets with her fingers. She's twenty-two, slender, and her demeanour is shy. This is her favourite place to come to when she wants to think about her life.
“I come here a lot. Especially when there are few people around, mostly in the early hours of the morning. It’s usually peaceful, and I don’t have to worry about people looking at me weirdly. The beach doesn’t mind about my gender!” she says, chuckling.
Saida is a transwoman, with Muslim parents and a mixed upbringing. Read more...
As the PAI Conference concluded with 34 countries represented and 180
delegates, we leave the space with vigour. WE are further motivated
todays decision from the Parliament of Seychelles to repeal and
eradicate the oppressive laws introduced by the British.
We praise the activists from the Seychelles and the organisation LGBTI
Sey for its great work with the government of their country. It is
truly encouraging to see this. Iranti met up with Ronny Arnephy from
LGBTI Sey at the PAI Conference.
We share with you our conversation with Ronny Arnephy.
In addition I pose some questions as we celebrate this victory. When
will we demand reparations for LGBTI African Queer persons who suffer
the indignity and consequences of colonialism? When will we see
decriminalisation of laws as a small step in decolonising our
identities and claiming ownership of our narratives? When will France
and Britian apologise to the people of the Seychelles and Africa as
whole for the horrible punitive laws imposed on gender expression, our
sexual orientation and for forcing our lives into poverty, trauma, and
SOGI can only be a reality when we integrate our holistic issues on
freedom, democracy and human rights.
On 18 May 2016, the Seychelles Parliament decriminalised homosexuality and created a new democratic and human rights path for LGBTI persons in the Seychelles. Iranti spoke to Ronny Arnephy from LGBTI Sey.
Colonised by the French in the 1770 and later colonised by the British. Seychelles became independent in June 1976. 14 members voted in favour of decriminalising homosexuality and 14 members abstained. What a great victory for all Africans.
In January, 2015 Daniel, a 22-year-old living in Ntungamo in Western Uganda, was arrested for “engaging in crimes against the order of nature.” We spoke to him in May after he was released from prison. Struggling to find words, he told us what happened. Read more...
The silence is deafening: Increasing violence on LGBTI Youth in South African Townships
South Africa, 1 April 2016
Leverne Cox believes “Justice is what love looks like in public.” And yet almost on a weekly basis Iranti-org deals with yet another LGBTI young person who has been either expelled from school or worse; brutally murdered. There is a deafening silence on main stream media and by our politicians. Read more...
Iranti-org is looking to appoint a full-time Deputy Director – someone who is self-motivated, energetic and highly organised with a deep understanding and passion for lesbian and transgender rights. This job is based in Johannesburg but requires local and international travel. Download more information. Closing date: 18 April 2016
Finance and Administration Manager
The full-time Finance and Administration Manager will be responsible for overseeing all financial and administrative aspects of Iranti-org, contributing to the smooth implementation and financial health of the organisation’s programmes. Duration: Initially 12 months. Download more information. Closing date: 18 April 2016
From a distance, he is just a man like any other. Blends in seamlessly with the community around him and gets along with most people. “Most of my days involve interacting with people from different walks of life. So I learned people skills in order to navigate well with fewer issues,” he says. Read more... at African LGBTIQ Media Makers Network (AQMMN)
Since February 2012, LEGABIBO and LGBT human rights organisation has fought for their right to be registered. The State denied LEGABIBO their right to freedom of assembly, freedom of association and freedom of expression. Four years later, LEGABIBO has ensured that constitution of Botswana includes citizens who are LGBT.
On the 16 March 2016, the Court of Appeal ruled that it was unlawful for the government not to register LEGABIBO and they should be register immediately. This is a victory for ALL Africans. Here is a brief timeline.
16 February 2012, 20 litigants – who are the Respondents, applied for the registration of the Lesbians Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana – LEGABIBO in terms of the Societies Act. On 12 March 2012, the Director of the Department of Civil and National Registration rejected their application for registration on the basis that the Botswana Constitution does not recognise homosexuals.
14 November 2014, the High Court, per Rannowane J, declared that the decision of the Minister to refuse registration of LEGABIBO contravened sections 3, 12 and 13 of the Botswana Constitution. And ordered that the government register LEGABIBO.
15 January 2016, five judges sat for the Court of Appeal hearing of the LEGABIBO registration case; Thuto Rammogwe & 19 others Vs. The State
16 March 2016 Court of Appeal of Botswana upheld the decision of the High Court, that the Botswana government must register LEGABIBO. A milestone moment for Botswana and for Africa. We congratulate LEGABIBO on this great victory.
South Africa, 16 March 2016
Storytelling is a common thread that ties media advocacy together. It is a desire to tell stories that move hearts and be a driving force for change against alienation and victimization of LGBTI in South Africa that lies at the heart of the Zwakala Media Advocacy Training Programme.
Zwakala is a three-year programme that seeks to build media documentation and increase real-time reporting of hate crimes against the LGBTI community. Between 10-13 March 2016, the Zwakala team led by Gugu Mandla and Ayanda Msiza, conducted a media skills training programme with Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) in the Gauteng province.
The purpose of the training is to equip CBOs with the relevant skills to be able to document LGBTI hate crimes in their communities. The organizations that were represented were Vaal LGBTI, IHAWU, Uthingo-The Rainbow, Tisa Tshireletso, Tulo Ya Kagiso, EPOC, and Ratanang.
The participants were introduced to film as an advocacy tool. They analyzed and critiqued documentaries from around the world to promote understanding how the documentary genre can be utilized to create awareness about different issues.
Participants were also taught how to do storyboards, use a video camera and log footage before giving it to an editor. On the second last day, the participants went into the field and practiced their new media documentation skills by interviewing various LGBTI activists in Daveyton. On the last day, the participants learned how to use social media as part of their advocacy to create awareness about LGBTI issues.
Ayanda Msiza facilitated a session on the Introduction to Documentary on the Zwakala Media Training Gauteng. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Ayanda Msiza shows the Media Training participants how to shoot using the flip cam. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
O'lerato Masime and Thabiso Sithole from Tulo Ya Kagiso in Tembisa engage during the Camera Production module at the Zwakala Media Training Programme in Benoni. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Karabo Malope and Ntombi Radebe of IHAWU in Katlehong interviewing their lead character in Daveyton. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Pamela Mkhonta of EPOC used her camera skills during the Production Shoot outing in Daveyton. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Wanelisa Xaba of Iranti-org had a session on Media and Writing on Social Media platforms. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
VAAL LGBTI COMMUNITY SPEAK OUT ABOUT THEIR PAIN AND THEIR STRUGGLES FOR A SAFER COMMUNITY
24 February 2016
10 March 2016, South Africa
Pascalina Melamu's story
By Ajax Sengwayo, Project Coordinator: Vaal LGBTI
Pascalina Melamu’s tortured and burnt body leaves a scar in the minds of all lesbians in South Africa, but in particular the Vaal lesbian community who knew her so well. She is gone, killed before she could celebrate the passing of high school.
Despite clear legal protections and a very progressive Constitution, South Africa continues to report some of the highest number of violent crimes and murders against lesbians. These murders when reported to the police (SAPS) are often handled in a sloppy manner, with almost no sense of urgency.
"Never be Silent" against hate crimes against LGBTI community.
What is left for a community pained by violence, poor services and the absence of a police service that ensures the safety of the LGBTI community?
With the support of Iranti-org’s ZwaKala project, the Vaal LGBTI organisation hosted a social dialogue on 19 February 2016 at the Evaton North multipurpose centre. A social dialogue creates an opportunity for conversations to take place about the issues at hand related to violence, and also to map out advocacy approaches moving forward. The dialogue was attended by 110 people – members of the LGBTI community, SAPS, POWA and FEW, local government councillors representative and staff from the Thuthuzela centre.
Warrant Officer Mr Moopelwa from Mafatsane police station speaks about the procedures for reporting hate crimes.
As part of the dialogue Iranti-org screened its media report on the murder of Thembelihle Sokhela, a young lesbian murdered in Daveyton in 2014.
The dialogue created a space for people to voice their frustration and pain;“A very painful thing happened here. I do not know what type of a person did this. I am truly heartbroken by this and I believe we need to stand together as a community and fight the people who did this”, said Mr Ndlela, a local councillor.
Community members map out issues affecting LGBTI persons in the Vaal.
Dialogues such as these help streng the and build a community bond between the Vaal LGBTI, the Evaton North ward councillor and the Mafatsane SAPS. These constituents will continue to engage in discussions and workshops to build a safer community for all.
The investigation of Pascalina’s murder is ongoing and to date no arrests have been made. Iranti-org continues to monitor the case.
Tisa Tshireletso (TT), is a young LGBTI community based organisation rooted in Vosloorus and was established because of the increased violence affecting the community. Since is early beginnings in August 2011, the Vosloorus LGBTI community are more organised and responsive to the issues.
Black Lesbians in Vosloorus are at the forefront of seeking out changes for the LGBTI community, and most recently, TT organised a social dialogue at the Vosloorus Child Welfare centre. In January 2016, key organisers from TT, mainly Sweeto and Matshidiso were determined to have an engagement between the LGBTI community and the health care sector in Vosloorus. Some of the keys in the health care centres relate to prejudice the LGBTI community face based on socio-economic status, gender identity and sexual orientation.
The dialogue was vigorous and informative but unfortunately despite agreeing to attend the dialogue, the health care practitioners from government did not attend. A major draw back, however, the community wanted to share their frustrations and difficulties when accessing health care services.
Ziggy Nkosi a student at Wits University and a member of the LGBTI group said, “I often have difficulties with accessing services largely due to ignorant health care workers who don’t understand trans health care.”
Matshidiso Mofokeng of Tisa Tshireletso welcomes the guests who have attended the Tisa Tshireletso Social Dialogue, Vosloorus Child Welfare. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Tisa Tshireletso set up an information desk with information on LGBTI rights. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
People marked the register before the proceedings of the social dialogue. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Members of the South African Council of Churches led the day in prayer and song before the Social dialogue started. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Ziggy Nkosi from the Wits LGBTI was one of the panellists who spoke about his transition. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Reading one of the pamphlets on LGBTI rights. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Mama Dudu of SACC speaks out as a parent and a member of the church. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
On the 5th of March 2016, Iranti-Org will host LIMPOPO QUEER CONVERSATIONS a social dialogue and film screening in Polokwane, Limpopo. We hope to bring together 25 enthusiastic LGBTI activists from all 5 districts namely Mopani, Vhembe, Waterberg, Sekhukhune and Capricorn. This event will comprise two interactive sessions, the first a screening of a few LGBTIQ films and the second a dialogue on the advocacy required in Limpopo as a province.
Zwakala is an Iranti-org programme funded by the European Union. The Zwakala programme works in three provinces, Gauteng, North West and Limpopo. Zwakala is a Zulu word meaning speak out, be visible, be noticeable and be recognized.
Over the next two years, Iranti-org will work with LGBTI groups and
Empower human rights defenders to document and report on human rights violations
Strengthen LGBTI groups to undertake effective advocacy
Improve research and documentation on hate crimes and other human rights violations
For more information contact Zachary: 082 084 5237
By Onalinna Moruakgomo, a media advocate on women and LGBTI rights and a member of the African Queer Media Makers Network. She is from Botswana and reported from court proceedings held on 15 January 2016 at the High Court of Appeal in Gaborone, Botswana.
Botswana. 22 January 2016
The Three Dikgosi monument in downtown Gabarone is a significant landmark, recognising the three Chiefs who played an important role in Botswana’s independence. Independence from the colonial masters included taking pride and retaining the culture and identity of the Batswana. This is the same symbol LEGABIBO strongly identifies with and is central to the belief that their ancestral leaders fought so that ALL citizens may enjoy the right to freedom of expression and association. All citizens include lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex persons of Botswana.
Supporters of the case outside the Court of Appeal
This freedom of association was affirmed when Judge Rannowane of the Botswana High Court made his findings and decision in November 2014 stating that the government of Botswana must permit LEGABIBO to register as an NGO. Denying them this right will be considered unconstitutional. The Attorney-General did not accept this ruling and prepared an appeal to overturn the court’s decision.
This case dates as far back as 2012 when the Director of Civil and National Registrations rejected LEGABIBO’s application on the basis that homosexuality is not recognised within the country’s consitution.
Inside the court
On 15 January 2016, the matter was heard at the High Court of Appeal in front of a five judge panel. The State retains the argument that by allowing LEGABIBO to register, it will erode the penal code’s powers on morality within the Botswana society. The judges are requesting the State to provide evidence that indicates that the registration of an LGBTI organisation that teaches its constituents sexual health rights will lead to the decimation of society’s moral codes. To date, the State has failed to provide such evidence.
An activist with a clear message
In addition, the judges have requested the State to provide proof on how the sections pertaining to rights of freedom of expression and association in the Botswana constitution excludes LEGABIBO?
LeGaBiBo members and their legal representatives
The court resumes on the 7 February 2016 when the final judgement is expected.
Passing your matric is a major highlight in every young learner in South Africa. Doubly so for Black learners in townships who face major social and economic challenges. For LGBTI learners, ‘coming out’ in South African public school often means exposing oneself to bullying and teacher prejudice. The education system is failing to support learners on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Motshidisi Pascalini Melamu, a 21 year old lesbian, excelled and passed her matric, but she was raped, mutilated and murdered before she could even learn of her victory. On 18 December 2015, her body was found in an open field in the Vaal region of Johannesburg. She had been missing for two days. Her face was burnt with acid and one eye had been gouged out. Her breasts had been cut. Her mother recognised her daugther in the mortuary from the tattoo on her leg.
Pascalina had been at a social gathering with a friend on 16 December. She went to the bathroom and never returned. Her friend was raped and narrowly escaped the same brutal death. The perpetrators were known to both victims.
The community of Evaton North took to the streets demanding the perpetrators are arrested. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
The community demand action from the police. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Vaal LGBTI and others took to the streets on 12 January. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Vaal LGBTI and others took to the streets on 12 January. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Lesbians. On 12 January 2016, the Vaal LGBTI marched to the Mafatsane Evaton Police Station and handed over a memorandum to the MEC for Public Safety in the Emufuleni local municipality demanding the perpetators be arrested. At the time of Pascalina’s murder, the case was handed to an investigating officer that was still on leave. No work was done on the case in his absence. The petition calls for SAPS to speed upits investigation on this and other cases and to ensure that arrests are made.
VAAL LGBTI is registered and struggles to receive support to run programmes that could assist in reducing homophobia and transphobia in the Vaal region. Annually they have organise a Vaal Pride and some fear that these attacks may occur as a result of visibility campaigns on LGBTI rights.
Iranti-org is documenting this case and will continue providing support to the Vaal LGBTI organisation in collaboration with other civil society organisations.
If you missed it or want to relive this historical day, here's a video about Africa Trans* Day of Visibility. On December 5, 2015 we celebrated African Trans* Visibility with panels, discussions, stalls and performances, all at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, South Africa.
History made: Photos from Africa Trans* Day of Visibility
South Africa, 5 December 2015
On the 5 December 2015, Iranti-org hosted its first Africa Trans* Visibility Day at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg, which brought together Transgender activists from Uganda, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, and Namibia. Panel discussions on Trans* rights, accessing healthcare, legal recognition, employment, safety and security, allowed participants to observe experiences of panellist's daily lives. The day visibilised transgender lives within Africa and celebrated freedom and ownership of their lives. The afternoon programme ended with musical performances and gatherings.
Photos by Dean Hutton
MCee Seo Mooketsi opened Africa Trans* Visibility Day with a beautiful poem.
African Trans* Visibility Day panel discussion moderated by Jabu Pereira with Shawn Mugisha from Uganda, Ricki Kgositau from Botswana, Tampose Mothopeng from Lesotho, and Jholerina Timbo from Namibia.
Shawn Mugisha spoke about transgender issues and the recent attacks against transgender persons within his home country, Uganda.
Ricki Kgositau from Gender Dynamix spoke about the case that she is pursuing in Botswana.
Reggie Maleme from Gay Umbrella said that we need to join together and activate for people in African states that have anti-homosexuality laws and that discriminate against transgender persons.
A screening of the short documentary "They want to see Me Dead" which focuses on the recent attacks towards transgender persons in Uganda.
Dr Anastacia Tomson held an 'Ask a Doctor' session.
The audience engaging during the morning sessions at Africa Trans* Visibility Day, Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.
Activate, a LGBTIQA students organisation at Wits University, had a stall at the Africa Trans* Visibility Day.
Iranti-org had a stall selling t-shirts, packers, pumps and vibrators on the day.
Khwezi Ndlela performed for the crowd at the African Trans* Visibility Day.
Stephanie Legari from GLOR entertained the crowd in the afternoon programme.
Sam Ndlovu from Zimbabwe performed a tribute song "Malume" in remembrance of the late Malume from Rock of Hope, Swaziland.
Snowy Mamba and friends posed for the camera.
Mosa Mahlangu enriched the crowd with his latest gospel hit song on the day.
Refilwe Mooketsi graced the event with a beautiful performance and had the crowd singing along.
Director of Iranti-org, Jabu Pereira, was excited on the success of the
first African Trans* Visibility Day Event.
Venue: Women's Jail, Constitution Hill Precinct, Johannesburg
South Africa, 19 November 2015
Between 20 November and 10 December several important dates that highlight trans* awareness across the region occur. The period includes Trans Day of Remembrance, Rainbow Identity Association's Trans Pride in Botswana, World AIDS Day and International Human Rights Day. These are all significant dates that impact on our gender identity and gender expression.
We demand that transgender persons across Africa are protected against violence, economic oppression and should enjoy full human rights - including the right to health care, and full legal protection. All countries in Africa are signatories to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
We call on you to stand with us and fight transphobia in all its forms. Join us on Africa Trans* Day of Visibility taking place on Saturday 5 December 2015 at the Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg!
The legal recognition of Trans People
in South Africa
South Africa, 21 September 2016
The Alteration of Sex Status and Sex Descriptor Act 49 of 2003, referred to simply as "Act 49", allows South Africans to change their gender marker on their identity documents. Without the correct ID, it's difficult or impossible to apply for jobs, access a hospital, obtain school results, open a bank account and withdraw money, obtain a driver's licence, travel, vote, access social grants or shelters, or accomplish any number of other basic tasks. People using a name or presenting themselves as a gender that is not reflected in their ID book are regularly turned away from services, subject to humiliating delay and interrogation, and are at risk of verbal or physical violence because of that perceived discrepancy. Provisions of the Act 49 are regularly ignored or violated in practice by the Department of Home Affairs. We follow the plight of Nadia Swanepoel who, after a 3 year wait, embarked on a hunger strike in her struggle to get the Department of Home Affairs to issue her with the correct ID, and look at some of the core issues of this systemic problem.
We are a group of gay, bisexual, queer, and other trans masculine people* who have sex with men (trans MSM) and allies, and we are involved in the global HIV/AIDS response as advocates, researchers, and service providers.
Read more about Trans masculine people who have sex with men claiming our place in the global HIV response - Trans and MSM, 3MB PDF
Peer Advocacy Network for the Sexual Health of Trans Masculinities (PASH.tm), Australia - Facebook PASHtm
tm4m, Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center, San Francisco, USA - TM4M
Trans Men’s Working Group, Ontario Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance, Canada - Quertransmen.org
Later today we will watch South Africa’s Caster Semenya compete in the Rio Olympics. She disturbs stereotypical assumptions that inform how women are classified, and like a number of women competing in the Olympics, her body has come under scrutiny.
Caster has shown a tremendous amount of strength and determination in the face of public scrutiny focused at her gender rather than her resilience, amazing performance and athletic talent. We condemn the patriarchal Western bio-medical imperialism reflected in media coverage and by the IAAF and stand with Caster as she runs for gold at 4pm SAST. Caster ke Mokgadi! #HandsOffCaster
Ugandan Police Attack on Lawful LGBTI Pride Celebration
Uganda, 5 August 2016
Civil Society, Human Rights Activists Condemn Ugandan Police Attack on Lawful LGBTI Pride Celebration. On 4 August, pride celebrations were brutally and unlawfully raided by the Ugandan police, starting at approximately 11:30 pm. Police claimed they had been told a “gay wedding” was taking place. The police locked the gates of the club, arrested more than 16 people and detained hundreds more for 90 minutes. Read more…
8 July 2016, Johannesburg
Words seem inadequate to express the loss we feel following the tragic and untimely death of Quen Garaj (20 October 1993 - 28 June 2016). We sincerely express our profound condolences to her family and chosen family, and her organisation Wings to Transcend, where she served as a treasurer on the board and worked tirelessly as a young fierce activist helping the transgender community in Namibia.
No dia 27 de Setembro 2015, Iranti-Org em parceria com Gender DynamiX e GATE (Ação Global para Igualdade Trans) organizaram uma conferência regional sobre o ICD (Classificação Internacional de Doenças) em relaçao a pessoas intersexuais, em Johanesburgo, na África do Sul.
From 19-24 March 2016 Iranti-org hosted the 3rd AQMMN training at the Birchwood Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa. 21 activists interested in media-making from 11 countries in Southern and East Africa worked tirelessly on the pre-production and production phases of film-making, as well as Public Service Announcement (PSA) development. Watch the videos they have made...
27 May 2016. "Discrimination" - This PSA touches on the pervasive discrimination present in various sectors, such as policing, the education and health sectors, and violence against LGBTI people. It reminds the audience of the values of Ubuntu, and asks for Africa to live up to its values.
12 May 2016. "My Story Matters" - This PSA calls out misrepresentation of LGBTI stories by mainstream society, and why its important for us to own our stories.
6 May 2016. "Stop the Hate" - This PSA focused on individual experiences that are representative of wider systemic injustices, specifically with regard to hate crimes.
3 May 2016. "Education" - The PSA focuses on Queer African bodies marginalized by the education system, as articulated by the media makers in their various languages, and calls for inclusive education for all.
29 April 2016. "Stop Hate" - This PSA challenges narratives, myths and stereotypes that dehumanize the LGBTI community, and elevates the voices of the LGBTI community, with an emphatic call to stop hate.
26 April 2016. "Victory" – This PSA is inspired by and celebrates LEGABIBO's resilience and victory in court after a 4 year struggle to be legally registered.
As a media documentations organization, over the past four months Iranti-org has received an alarming number of cases of hate crimes in the Gauteng province. The Eastrand and the Vaal region have been mostly affected. Iranti-org is currently following up and reporting on 1 murder case of Pascalina Malemu in the Vaal, 1 murder case of Tebogo Mkhonto in Volsolruus and 2 cases of Lucia Naidoo and Mabelandile Mohlabi in Katlehong. Iranti-org is also following up and reporting on a rape case in the Vaal and a hate crime incident against a trans* woman in Klerksdorp, North West.
Among these cases, Iranti-org documented the heartbreaking murders of Lucia Naidoo and Tebogo Mkhonto. Lucia was murdered outside her house on her birthday, March 19th 2016 and died in her mother’s arms. About two weeks later, a few streets away from Lucia’s house, a young gay man Tebogo was also murdered in his home in Volsoorus. He had gone out with his friends and returned to 5 men breaking and entering into his home. Tebogo's property was taken from his home and the four men raped him with a stick, stabbed him to death and decapitated him.
Iranti-org is closely monitoring the cases and working with the South African Police services to ensure justice is served. 1 suspect has been arrested for Lucia’s murder and 4 suspects have been arrested for Tebogo’s murder. Iranti-org will also release a report to the Ministry of Justice’s national hate-crimes task team highlighting the urgency of government intervention regarding LGBTI hate crimes in South Africa. Iranti-org, along with two community based organizations, IHAWU and Voslo Activators documented both the cases of Lucia and Tebogo.
South African Government Silent on Transgender and Intersex Rights
Gambia, 11 April 2016
Today, the South African (SA) government presented its state report to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) during the latter’s 58th Ordinary Session in Banjul, the Gambia, 6-20 April 2016. We noted with concern that the SA State report neglected to address widespread human rights challenges faced by transgender and intersex persons in South Africa. It merely contains a brief section on “Sexual orientation and gender identity”, but the focus is on sexual orientation, same-sex marriage and homophobia, and refers primarily to gays and lesbians. Read more...
The Elections Serve as a Painful Reminder of How the South African Government Renders Trans and Intersex People Non-Citizens
South Africa, 7 April 2016
In 2014, transgender woman Nadia Swanepoel went on a hunger strike to protest discriminatory treatment at the hands of the Department of Home Affairs after the process to change her name and her gender marker on her identity document in terms of the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act 49 of 2003 (Act 49) had been ongoing for over 3 years.
Department of Home Affairs still fails to systematically address discrimination against Transgender and Intersex people despite numerous meetings with T&I NGOs over the years on Act 49.
Her struggle is one of many, and a reflection of systematic bias within the Department of Home Affairs system. The lack of regulations to oversee and streamline the application process at Home Affairs has meant that the application process is left to the whims of Home Affairs’ officials and their prejudices. This has resulted in applications taking years to be processed, getting lost or simply being rejected without sufficient reasons. For intersex South Africans the provisions in Act 49 are harsh as well, legislating a pre-requisite unbroken 2 year period during which they must “satisfactorily prove” their gender, as well as medically proving intersex status – invasive and cumbersome requirements.
South African Trans and Intersex people are denied access to IDs, effectively denying them voting rights.
Without an accurate ID, a person is hindered in seeking employment, is unable to enter into contracts such as bank accounts, store accounts, rental agreements, loan contracts and unable to access services such as grants, housing shelters, opening a hospital file, updating a driver’s licence and denied their right to vote. The state’s failure to provide transgender and intersex persons with the necessary documentation renders trans and intersex South Africans non-citizens, and puts them at increased risk of being seen as fraudulent which subjects them to humiliation and potential arrests. It grants to cisgender people rights denied to transgender and intersex populations. The Department of Home Affairs’ lack of will with regard to enabling gender marker changes disenfranchises transgender and intersex voters, creates a system of gate-keeping of citizenship and perpetuates grave injustices and human rights violations against the transgender and intersex populations.
The 2016 South African municipal elections will be held on 3 August 2016. Iranti-org will intensify its advocacy actions for individuals who have been waiting for their correct ID cards and seek immediate remedies before election time.
If you have applied for a gender marker change under Act 49 and are still waiting for your ID, please contact us through Survey Monkey to enable us to urgently assist you while we continue to fight for structural reform.
Iranti-org is part of the ACTion49 Campaign – an Iranti-org, Gender Dynamix, LRC coalition fighting for better implementation of, and immediate redress for applicants under the Act 49 as well as of the broader Self-Identification and Bodily Autonomy Legal Reform working group – a coalition of South African Trans and Intersex focused NGOs and individuals whose goals include pursuit of reforms that will allow transgender and intersex persons to access socio-economic rights, such as the rights to education, social assistance and non-discriminatory employment opportunities; and pursuit of self-identification and the depathologisation of transgender and intersex identities within the healthcare and legal fields.
From 19-24 March 2016 Iranti-org hosted the 3rd AQMMN training at the Birchwood Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa. 21 activists interested in media-making from 11 countries in Southern and East Africa worked tirelessly on the pre-production and production phases of film-making, as well as Public Service Announcement (PSA) development.
After a four-year-long legal battle with the State, LEGABIBO has won its right to be legally registered. This legal recognition was affirmed at the High Court of Appeal when the court ruled that it was unlawful for the government not to register LEGABIBO.
According to SALC, “The Court of Appeal judgment is not only significant for its promotion of human rights for LGBTI activists, but also for its recognition and appreciation of the vulnerability of sexual minorities in society.” The real issues are still in place, and much work must happen to facilitate changing governments’ attitudes towards the LGBTI community. LEGABIBO’s right to march was denied several times as it prepared for the court hearings and gender-marker changes are still not permitted in Botswana. Iranti-org has documented this case since 2012 and welcomes the High Court of Appeal ruling.
Activists gather in front of High Court of Appeal. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Bradley Fortuin LEGABIBO and Humphrey Ndondo from SRC, Zimbabwe (far right): Photo by: Gugu Mandla
South African Litigation Centre Representative Tashwill Esterhuizen with LEGABIBO Co-ordinator Anna Chalmers. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Joyful faces - Anna Mmolai Chalmers after Judge Justice Kirby confirmed victory. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
LGBTI members hold up messages. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Happy People after the victory of LEGABIBO registration case. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Recognise LEGABIBO poster about being proudly LGBTI Motswana. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Humphrey Ndondo from Sexual Rights Centre in Zimbabwe, said "This win is for all LGBTI persons in Africa." Photo by: Gugu Mandla
News Release from the Southern Africa Litigation Centre
Botswana, 16 March 2016
Ground-breaking Judgment by Botswana Court of Appeal on Freedom of Association and LGBTI Rights. A full bench of the Court of Appeal of Botswana ordered the Botswana government to register the organisation Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO).
Queer Conversations and Movement Growth in Limpopo
8 March 2016, South Africa
“People be careful, South Africa has not accepted you” were the words uttered by an LGBTI activist during the Zwakala workshop conducted by the Iranti-org team in Polokwane, Limpopo on 5 March. The purpose of the workshop was to create links with LGBTI community-based organizations (CBOs) on the ground such as FAMSA, TVEP, Mokopane LGBTI, LoveLife, UL Outrage, Sekhukhane LGBTI, Mohlarekoma HTA, and Limpopo LGBTI Proudly Out regarding LGBTI organising in Limpopo.
Poet Kagiso Monama of Mokopane LGBTI opens up the Queer Conversations with a poem on LGBTI visibility. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
The Iranti-org team had the opportunity to introduce the groundbreaking Zwakala project and gauge prospects for future partnerships with the organizations that were represented. The workshop afforded Iranti-org insights into how CBOs operate, as well as the various challenges they face. The main challenge highlighted in the meeting was the lack of collaboration or support among LGBTI organizations in Limpopo. Some LGBTI activists were not aware of all the LGBTI organisations, therefore making it difficult for the organizations to establish a powerful unified movement in Limpopo.
Emmanuel from FAMSA (Families South Africa) spoke about their organization's work with LGBTI persons and their families. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Lilly (3rd from left) from Limpopo LGBTI spoke about the importance of working together within the LGBTI community.
A lively discussion ensued about the relationship between risky behaviours (alcohol abuse or walking late at night) and hate crimes. Even though it was agreed that members of the LGBTI community should behave responsibly, some participants felt that it was unfair to focus the sole responsibility for the perpetrators' actions in the hands of the victims of hate crimes.
Finally, participants had the opportunity to apply for the Zwakala media training workshop which will take place April in Limpopo.
Registration desk with Iranti-org goodies (stickers and buttons). Photo by: Gugu Mandla
On January 2, 2016, Ken Msonda, the spokesperson of the People's Party, wrote on his facebook page, LGBT people are worse than dogs and Malawians should kill them. CEDEP, CHRR and the Malawi Law Society charged Msonda for breaking Malawi's constitutional law. In this media report they speak about this fight against hate towards LGBT persons.
18 February 2016, Kenya
Leone Dalziel, from Kenya, is a young Trans man, a social justice activist and a blogger. He is committed to improving the lives of transgender people in Africa. In 2015, Leone received a fellowship from the Open Society Foundation, East Africa (OSEA) to be based at Iranti-org. During his fellowship, he learned and practiced how to use media tools for advocacy. This podcast is a product of his work.
Civil Society Stand United Against Hate Speech In Malawi
22 January 2016. By Iranti-org, Blantyre
The decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions of Malawi to issue a discontinuance against the matter in which Msonda was charged for his Kill the Gays statement was of great concern to key leaders of civil society.
Welcome to the warm heart of Africa billboard with the face of honourable Peter Mutharika, president of Malawi. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Civil society leaders from the religious sector, youth and human rights sector met in Blantyre to collective decide that a judicial review is required to decided on the Director of Public Prosecutions decision. There remains a collective action by civil society to stop all forms of hate speech towards all vulnerable groups such as women, youth and the LGBTI community of Malawi.
Neighbourhood of Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city.
Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Organisations such as MANARELA, the Pentecostal Revive Church, YOCRIS, CEDEP and CHRR agreed to continue working on the Msonda case as a collective. Iranti-org agreed to support the advocacy initiative, by documenting and reporting on the LGBTI human rights situation in Malawi.
Left to right; Gift Trapence with Dunker Kamba from Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP). Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Left to right; Gift Trapence Director at CEDEP together with Timothy Mtambo Director at CHRR. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Bishop Joshua Jere, speaking against Kill The Gays Statement. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Bright Kampaunai, Youth and Children Rights Shield (YOCRIS). Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Left to right: MacDonald Sembereka, Bright Kampaunai, Gift Trapence, Jabulani Pereira, Timothy Mtambo and Bishop Johua Jere. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Iranti-Org, together with other interested NGOs such as Gender
Dynamix and GATE have been embarking on advocacy work around
increasing African engagement with the ICD revision process,
specifically in relation to Gender Incongruence in Adulthood and
Adolescence as well as Childhood.
From discussions that have taken place since the inception of our work
in this field, there have emerged several concerns around the approach
taken in the South African field testing process specifically. This
has culminated in the attached letter of concern co-authored and
co-signed by several individuals who were involved in the field
testing process (indicated by an asterisk), as well as those currently
invested in it.
Together with other organisations, Iranti-org looks forward to
meaningfully engaging with the WHO in addressing some of these
concerns in the run up to 2018 and exploring alternative options where
possible with regards to field testing in South Africa.
Anastacia Tomson is a medical doctor, activist and author. She has a history of working in primary healthcare, with a special interest in transgender health.
Her autobiography, detailing her own experiences and challenges seen through the lens of transition, is set for release in early 2016. Anastacia is a vocal feminist and advocate for social justice, with a passion for promoting awareness, education and understanding of trans issues.
Kristian Ranđelović, born in 1973 and based in Belgrade, Serbia. He is MA Editor for TV and film and psychodrama trainee.
As an activist, he served as a board member of ILGA Europe board from 2010-2012.
He is also board member of ERA - LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey, TGEU-Transgender Europe and OII Europe-Organisation Intersex International Europe.
In 2006 he started working with Gayten-LGBT, Center for LGBT Human Rights, where he has been systematically developing programs for trans individuals, including the first trans support group in the Balkans. He has also contributed to creation of trans programs in ex Yu region and he participated in the creation of the first trans site in ex Yugoslavia region (www.transserbia.org). His main areas of work are capacity building for trans individuals/organisations and psychological counseling for LGBT individuals.
Throughout this working period he has appeared in various media sharing his experiences and issues faced by trans persons.
Blantyre, Malawi, 21 January 2016
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of Malawi has urgently issued a notice of discontinuance in the case of The Republic and Kenneth Msonda. The DPP has used its legal powers to stop Kenneth Msonda from appearing in court for his Kill the Gays statements.
On January 2, Msonda posted the following comments on his facebook page “Government should come up clear on the issue of Gays and Lesbians. They are worse than dogs, sons and daughters of the evil one – Arresting them won’t address this problem because sooner or later they are being released on bail. The best way to deal with this problem is to KILL them!” Msonda at an interview with radio Joy reiterated these comments stating, “by releasing these people, it means Malawi is a lawless country. These people have no rights. The best way is to kill them.”
Msonda was charged by the Malawi Law Society, CEDEP and CHRR for breaking the law and for inciting hatred and violence. The court found sufficient reasons for Msonda to be appear and defend his claims. Msonda’s legal argument and affidavit sent to the court quotes biblical verses on why homosexuality should not be condoned and he argues that he has a right to freedom of expression and opinion.
Gift Trapence, Director of CEDEP. Photo by Ayanda Msiza
CEDEP Director, Gift Trapence and CHRR Director, Timothy Mtambo, both arrived in Blantyre to face Msonda in court. Their legal representative Soko was called this afternoon by the DPP’s office stating that they will stop this case from proceeding by issuing a notice of discontinuance. The constitution and the criminal procedure and evidence code gives the DPP powers to discontinue a matter. The reactions by both Directors are ones of shock and disbelief that the government would protect a politician from being legally accountable for inciting hatred and violence. “Msonda committed a criminal act and he should be held accountable for violating the laws of Malawi. The government’s action in stopping this case sends a wrong message to the nation. They are saying killing Gay people is fine. Interference such as this is dangerous in any democratic society. How then is the right to life guaranteed, if the incitement and promotion murder is protected by the state?” asks Trapence.
Hate speech cases are not new to the Malawi courts. In 2008, political leader Gwanda Chakwamba called on the public to attack the Lomwe people. The late President Bingu wa Mutharika is Lomwe. Chakwamba was arrested and appeared before the court. In addition the government has used laws to charge and arrest Journalists who criticize the President. The late Ralph Tenthani was charged for calling the President “a Big Kahuna.”
Creating a progressive nation? Photo by: Jabulani Pereira
Since the utterances of Msonda, a new movement called Youth with Vision placed an advert in several print newspapers calling on the public to support
Msonda’s legal case. They called upon the public to join Msonda at the court and to show their support against homosexuality and same-‐sex marriage. The newspapers published the banking details of the fund that is set up to support Msonda. “We want the Malawi Human Rights Commission to investigate as this contravenes the law of the country. Can a fund be set up to support someone who has called on others to kill gay people? Is a bank allowed to open such an account?” asks Trapence. Mtambo the Director of CHRR says, “killing of human beings has no basis in any society. There is no justification for what the DPP has done and we will not stop here. We have an obligation to ensure that all Malawians live in a free and safe society.”
YOCRIS, CAYO and FND are youth movements in Malawi. They have joined CEDEP and CHRR in the legal fight against Msonda. They will collectively discuss the next steps in reviewing the DPP’s decision and ensuring that Msonda is held accountable.
Jabulani Pereira is the Director of Iranti-‐org, a regional Transgender and Lesbian documentation and reporting organization. Iranti-‐org is based in Johannesburg.
by Vikar Singh, National Officer for Sexual and Reproductive Health including HIV/AIDS (NORA)
South Africa, 7 December 2015
5 December 2015 marked Africa’s first-ever Transgender Visibility Day. The initiative aims to fight Transphobia in all its forms and demands that transgender persons across Africa are protected against violence, economic oppression and should enjoy full human rights - including the right to healthcare and full legal protection.
The Committee on Sexual and Reproductive Health including HIV/AIDS (SCORA) has 5 main focus areas, which includes Sexuality and gender identity by committing to end stigma and discrimination in access to healthcare of LGBT+ individuals.
I recently caught up with Dr. Anastacia Tomson at the 7th African Population Conference in Pretoria, South Africa. She is a medical doctor, author, activist and a transgender woman.
Read more on the SAMSA website. South African Medical Students Association (SAMSA) is a national nonprofit organization of medical students from various medical schools working on a voluntary basis to create positive change in medicine.
I never wanted to become an activist, all I ever wanted was to reach out and support people that had similar experiences as mine, people that felt isolated and needed someone who understood what they were going through. This led me to joining NGOs that claimed to support intersex people, I don’t remember many intersex people being supported but in the end I was caught up with policy meetings, legislation consultations, movement politics and eventually we all forgot about the people we were trying to serve. I had to leave and here I am constantly dealing with the guilt of “leaving the movement”. Read more...
Malume is Xolile Mabuza's preferred name. He is his chosen gender pronoun. A proud Transgender rights activist and an overall human rights activist sadly passed away on the 13th September 2015. He was the founder and director of Rock of Hope and LGBTI human rights organisation in Swaziland. Iranti-org produced this tribute along with friends of Malume. there were just so many tributes we not able to add them all, but we hope this tribute honors his memory and the love he had for each of us. RIP Malume, you are sorely missed.
Iranti-org, Gender Dynamix, SIPD and GATE will host a workshop on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), in Johannesburg from 26-30 September 2015. This training is an integral part of our work to amplify African voices around revising ICD 10.
South Africa, 10 September 2015
The ICD is the international diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes. Maintained by the World Health Organization (WHO), the health care classification system provides diagnostic codes for categorising diseases, including symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or disease. The ICD is revised periodically and is currently in its tenth version. ICD-10, as it is known was developed in 1992, and ICD-11 is planned for 2017. Currently transgender and intersex identities are pathologised in ICD 10.
During the convening, activists from different parts of Africa will have the opportunity to:
Increase their knowledge about ICD 10 and learn about the revision process
Improve their understanding of current global advocacy goals
Gain an understanding of human rights considerations around access to healthcare
Develop a strategy for operationalising the African ICD advocacy campaign
This workshop is part of a boarder effort to ensure African voices are heard and there are on-going processes to build the capacity of African activists around the ICD process.
somewhere in Manzini and Mbabane the sun rises. without you.kuthwe us’Ezwilini.
birds continue to chirp in Nairobi’s arboretum. this morning the
construction workers cat-called me. maybe my face hasn’t registered
grief. who cares that i am in mourning?
(but who am i to mourn you?)
did the stars hide in mourning last night?
did your neighbor’s dog stop barking?
did the rooster not crow this morning?
did the tellers at Shoprite close/ this morning?
shall your being be respected on the day they bury you?
lovers kiss each other in the dark. forbidden. mouths that never
uttered your name.
malume; you who suffered from— and died of – death.
On 30 Aug 2015, nine walk/runners completed the 10km Mandela Day Marathon #MDM2015 race in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. They crossed the finish line at the Mandela Monument well within the two hour cut-off time. Join us as we continue to raise funds for Iranti-Org, a visual media NGO that advances the rights of transgender and lesbian individuals and organizations in Africa.
Register for another race and get people to make a donation to Iranti-Org. Email us your confirmed registration and we send you a #RunForIranti T-shirt. Like our Facebook page to receive updates, training tips and funds raised, and post news and photos of your group. For more info contact Monique Salomon at Korumo - firstname.lastname@example.org, +27 83 301 2936 or Gugu Mandla at Iranti-org – email@example.com , +27 74 6489371
You can make donations via PayPal on Iranti-org's home page using the reference: Run+Full name of runner/walker
Electronic Funds Transfer
Bank: First National Bank
Current account: 62417019602
Branch code: 253305
Swift code: FIRNZAJJ
Please email us proof of payment so we can track your donation.
Korumo Run/Walk for Change
Korumo is a coaching practice that exists to inspire people and organizations to live the life they long for. Korumo Run/Walk for Change is our fundraising arm to leverage resources for a just cause while promoting a healthy lifestyle. We haven chosen Iranti-org as our just cause for 2015. Through photography, audio, and film, Iranti-Org gives voice to people who, due to their gender identity and sexual orientation, are marginalized and prosecuted in countries across the African continent. In this video Jabu Chen Pereira, executive director of Iranti-org, tells why their work is worth your support. We want to raise ZAR 50 000 (US$ 4 000). All funds raised go directly to Iranti-org.
In her forthcoming solo exhibition, TESTIMONY, the first in South Africa and on the continent, Adejoke Tugbiyele speaks to her personal experience and the lived and imagined experiences of all Nigerians, regardless of gender and sexual orientation. She takes as her motivation the fact that many Nigerians and other Africans cannot survive each day without dreaming of being elsewhere – somewhere far away. A percentage of proceeds from the exhibition TESTIMONY will go towards supporting the educational mission of Iranti-Org. Read more...
National Women’s Day is a public holiday every year on 9 August. The day commemorates the 1956 march of over 20,000 women to the Union Building in Pretoria, in protest against the “Pass laws” that required women to carry passbooks at all times, restricting their movement and being subjected to police violence and intimidation if found without it.
Since 1994, August has been known as Women’s Month highlighting the ongoin plight women face today in South Africa. We asked a diverse group of women what 9 August means to them. Here are their voices:
Natasha Francis Feminist Activist
“I personally do not celebrate it as I feel that a month dedicated to the plight of women and their successes in fighting patriarchy, is condescending to their lived realities.” The single mum raising kids while living with an abusive husband and the young lesbian, who stands her ground against discrimination daily, deserve more than a month to be recognised. Their struggle for equality, dignity and the right to life happens every day of the year.
“I think an important question that one must ask when talking about Women’s day/month is: What is the actual impact of the day? And how is this impact realised every day of the year?”
Gugu Mandla Photographer at Iranti-org
“As a young, black professional woman, I have always had to prove to people that women can also be good photographers and can succeed. Women’s Day is a time for celebration for all women and a time for young girls to take pride in whom they are and who they want to become.
“We are also claiming back women’s power in this male dominated world.” We should celebrate Women’s month by taking charge of the opportunities we have available to us and become future leaders of our communities and South Africa.”
Matshidiso Mofokeng Spokesperson for Tisa Tshereletso
“I don’t celebrate Women’s month, it is not relevant anymore. I don’t see any cause to celebrate because of the vulnerability and the increase of violence happening to women.
"Women are still facing issues such as hate crimes, secondary victimisation from government service providers and the justice system continues to fail us.
“Our institutions are operating in an oppressive and patriarchal way towards women.” Women’s month should be an everyday thing whereby we are addressing issues to improve lives of all women."
Prudence Sedumedi Coordinator of the Gay Umbrella Potchefstroom
“Women’s day for me means that, women should be free to celebrate who they are and stand up for their rights and against violence and abuse of any form.” I celebrate women’s month because I can relate to issues that affect us as women.”
Akhona Ntsaluba HIV/AIDS Activist
“It is sad that though we know why we should be celebrating this day, I have lost interest or should I say, I have lost the meaning, especially when looking at women’s struggles today as well as mine. We are supposed to be celebrating, in light of the sacrifices that women have fought for change and our freedom, yet today we still have to struggle. Women suffer rejection, rape, murder and hate. It is worse for lesbians, bisexual or transgender women. Even though the constitution is supposed to be protecting these women, we still experience atrocities in our communities and the society at large, even in churches! What is there to celebrate when I cannot rejoice and exercise my rights fully?"
Nandi Msizane Human Rights Defender
“Women’s Month is a time to remember that South Africa’s liberation is not owed to the men whose name’s we often see in the narrative given to the world. Sadly, it has no longer the story of those women’s valour but just now another day off work for the majority of South Africans. We need to get to a point where we teach and share with young women about feminism and what coming together to stand for a cause.”
Kokeletso Legaote Gender Coordinator at ESSET
“Women’s month means to me same as any other historic dates, that which their importance have gone all in vain. This includes lesbian women, transgender and queer women. However, when we talk about women’s issues we only speak of heterosexual women. I do not celebrate this day. I am seen as a woman trying to be a man by my community, so the day does not have much significance for me. If South Africa is going to speak about women, yet being selective and exclusive, what’s the use of me celebrating such? Maybe by the time all women are included in women’s programmes, then I will see the significance of the month, and also, if we are going to celebrate women. Lets do it always, everyday.
"Contesting views regarding womens’ day has created the need for one to interrogate what the symbolism of this day actually is a need for all women. Most women feel that it’s a day of empowerment, a symbol of women rising above their circumstances whereas others feel it disempowers’ women and further reinforces the second-class status of women in South Africa. Ultimately the opinions of women about the day do not detract from the overall acknowledgment of the day - Women’s Day."
South Africa, 22 July 2015
The trial of Thembelihle Sokhela, a lesbian woman from Daveyton, finally goes to the Pretoria High Court. The case of Thembelihle’s murder will commence at the Pretoria High Court from Monday 27 to Friday 31 July. Thembelihle Sokhela, a 28-year old lesbian woman from Daveyton was murdered on 14 September 2014. She was found wrapped in a blanket and thrown behind her perpetrator’s bed. Read more...
Iranti-org started in 2012 with one camera and a big vision. To date we have reported on over 40 stories and are on the road to becoming a truly African Lesbian and Trans* organisation that combines documentation, reporting and direct action.
South Africa, 21 July 2015
Over the past three years, we have given opportunities to countless activists in South Africa and on the African continent to do media documentation.
Johannesburg, 25 May 2015
Iranti-org becomes the first African organisation to become an official member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). WPATH is an organisation devoted to the understanding and treatment of gender dysphoria and is most known for its periodic publication of the Standards of Care (SOC) for the health of trans* people. Read the full press statement…
South Africa, 21 May 2014
On Wednesday 20 May 2015, at the Potchesfstoom High Court, North West Province, Judge Kruger sentenced Pule Stoffel Botlhokwane two life terms and fifteen years for robbery. He was charged for: (i) Murder, (ii) Rape, and (iii) Robbery Click here to read the full press release.
Iranti-org is one of three organisations in South Africa to receive funding from the European Delegation in South Africa. ZwaKala, meaning speak out/rise up is a three-year programme that seeks to strengthen the capacities of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to document and report on human rights’ violations towards LGTBI persons in three provinces.
The recent revelations by Keeping Up With The Kardashian’s star Bruce Jenner that he has decided to become a woman has created a spotlight on gender identity across the world. Gender DynamiX was interviewed on Expresso SABC
Leigh Ann van der Merwe is the Director of the Social Health Empowerment forum better know as SHE. Transgender awareness became an interest for the South African media when Bruce Jenner in the US came out. Leigh Ann is interviewed on this and speaks about the struggles we face in South Africa as trans* person. This is a podcast from that interview. Listen to the interview on Sound Cloud.
The Iranti-org media team will be heading to Ventersdorp this week to monitor and lobby the judicial system on the case of Disebo Gift Makau. Disebo Gift Makau, a 24 year-old lesbian was found half naked and strangled on 15 August 2014. She had a wire around her neck with an open hosepipe pushed down her throat. Her case is another example of a hate crime, which the Rapid Response Team, has failed to attend to. Iranti-org and the LGBTI community from the North West Province (Gay and Lesbians of Rustenburg, Gay Umbrella from Mafikeng, groups from Ventersdorp, Klerksdorp and Potchestroom) have organised a mass action outside the Ventersdorp Magistrate Court from 9am on Thursday 29 January 2015.
Jabu Pereira, Director of Iranti-org and Board Member of Pan Africa ILGA (PAI) will be attending the first PAI Strategic Planning Session in downtown Johannesburg. Board members come from different African countries (Botswana, Kenya, Egypt, Uganda, Nigeria etc.) as well as the ILGA World Director from the Secretariat in Geneva.
Iranti-org will be represented at the launch of the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act, No. 49 of 2003 Briefing Paper, jointly written by Gender DynamiX and the Legal Resources Centre. This event will take place on 29 January at the Double Tree Hotel in Woodstock, Cape Town.
Over 80 candidates have applied for post of Programme Manager at Iranti-org. Shortlisting will commence this week.
Johannesburg, 12 January 2015
On Tuesday 13 January 2015 at 09h00, Thembelihle Sokhela’s case returns to the Benoni Magistrate’s Court, after being postponed on at least five occasions. The court is located at 29 Harpur Avenue, Benoni.
Thembelihle, a 28-year old lesbian woman from Daveyton was murdered on 14 September 2014. She was found wrapped in a blanket and thrown behind her perpetrator’s bed. Download the full press statement.
As the country formally returns back to work, the team at Iranti-org has been working hard to receive a visit from Witness.org. Bukeni Waruzi is the Senior Program Manager for Africa and the Middle East and will be visiting community groups and holding meetings with various LGBTI groups. The purpose of his visit is to collaborate with Iranti-org and partners on strengthening the use of video in strategic documentation and advocacy.
British musician, Peter Gabriel founded Witness in 1992. It is an international human rights organization that uses video to expose human rights abuses around the world and to advocate for change. To date, Witness has provided 10,000 activists and over 200 human rights organizations across the world with strategic tools and resources, building skills to use video.
On Tuesday 13 January, Bukeni will join the Iranti-org media and documentation team to the Benoni High Court to hear the case of Thembelihle ‘Lihle’ Sokhela (see press release), a 28 year old lesbian from Daveyton, killed in September 2014. Iranti-org and CBOs from various locations in Johannesburg have planned a mass action outside the court, demanding a fair and speedy trial of this hate crime. After this, Bukeni will have the opportunity to visit some of the lesbian groups in Daveyton and the Vaal.
On Wednesday 14 January, the team will travel to Potchestroom to meet with LGBTI groups in North West province. Here, he will hear more about the case of Disebo ‘Gift’ Makau, a black lesbian who was gruesomely murdered in Ventersdorp in August 2014. At the meeting, Iranti-org will facilitate a discussion on the advocacy for this case, scheduled for 29 January 2015 at the Potchestroom High Court.
On Thursday and Friday, Bukeni will host an assessment meeting with representatives from the various organisations. This will also be a planning process for the 10-day training course, scheduled at a future date in 2015.
23 December 2014
Over the past months and in some cases years I have engaged with some of you regarding my transition, all my fears, my concerns related to my feminism and conflicted, and never wanting to be embodied in any particular binary of being male or female, I still hold true to this.
I thought I should put out what’s foremost in my mind and in someway, do what I know best, that is to document stories and to join my story along with many, in what Ann Cvetkovich calls the Archive of Feelings. In my recent talk at the Quorum platform, I spoke of the trauma of the absence of histories that link our pasts and our present.
I hope that my construction of a FAQ narrative is more a constructed conversation with myself but also the many questions I have been asked over the past months and years. I only hope FAQ is not construed as a factual listing but rather a probing set of questions and answers I am engaging in.
I am also very aware that I have friends who walked this journey with me, for a long time and are as ahead as I am, and there are others who are only engaging with my transition in this present moment, either way, I ask you to be patient with me and I will similarly be patient with you as you become part of my gender identity and gender expression. I am aware that there are some who clearly won’t accept transgender persons, I am sorry that you will exit my life at this stage, feel free to engage and to express your feelings in this safe space.
New York, 4 December 2014
"Quorum: Global LGBT Voices" at the New York Public Library, featuring talks and panels highlighting the struggles and triumphs of LGBT people worldwide.
The Daily Beast, in collaboration with nine leading international human rights organisations, will host an unprecedented gathering of leading LGBT activists from around the world.
The event, entitled "Quorum: Global LGBT Voices," will take place at the New York Public Library on Wednesday, December 10, designated Human Rights Day by the United Nations. Download the full press statement.
Recently, Fray Intermedia and Iranti-org partnered in the first-ever training between community radio and print journalists and LGBTI activists looking at developing reporting guidelines for journalists.
This workshop was held in Johannesburg, and it was evident that journalists lacked the correct language and context related to violations experiences by Lesbians, Gay men and Transgender persons. Intersex was also tackled and it was agreed that journalists require tools on SOGI language and a deeper understanding of the issues.
The workshop developed a poster that has been distributed to all media houses, we aim to create more awareness among journalists. We believe that journalists have a responsibility to report responsibly and accurately on LGBTI concerns.
Harare, 7 November 2014
GALZ condemns the brutal attack of Journalist Itai Dzamara and nine other
demonstrators following their Occupy Africa Unity Square demonstration in
Harare on Thursday and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights projects lawyer Kennedy Masiye who was also severely assaulted by police officers at Africa Unity Square while representing the protestors. It is deplorable that Zimbabwe continues on this path of routinely beating protestors.
SATURDAY 8 Nov, Transgender and Intersex Africa (TIA) to host an event at Con-Hill, Johannesburg to raise awareness about intersex issues - Intersex Genital Mutilation (IGM), unnecessary hormonal treatment and many others.
For more information contact:
Admin and Communications Officer
Transgender and Intersex Africa