Iranti [pronounced írantì] is the Yoruba word for ‘memory’. Largely found in South West Nigeria and parts of Benin Republic, the Yoruba people consider memory a prized form of intelligence which determines how often one remembers what they see and hear.
Iranti is a queer human rights visual media organization based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Iranti works within a human rights framework as its foundational platform for raising issues on Gender, Identities and Sexuality. Founded in January 2012 by Human Rights activist, photographer and curator, Jabu Pereira is formed with the clear intention of building local partnerships and movements that use media as a key platform for lobbying, advocacy and educational interventions across Africa. Through the use of various visual mediums such as videos, photography, audio recording, among others sets itself as an archive of Queer memory in ways that destabilize numerous modes of discrimination based on gender, sexuality and sexual orientation.
Through such multi-media approaches documents issues related to gender and gender identification; sexuality and sexual orientation within varied contexts in South Africa and on the continent. Most importantly seeks to find local vernaculars that tell the stories of vulnerable persons simultaneously alongside and outside International Human Rights universalisms. Iranti works with rural and urban populations in South Africa and the region as part of its engagement with civil society at different levels. As a Queer Visual Media Non-Governmental Organisation seeks to document the lives of Queer Africans and Africa-based persons with the intention of building visual narrative evidence, creating awareness and influencing the making of policies and laws that advance Human Rights across South Africa and beyond.
Vision and approach
Iranti believes that all human beings have the right to enjoy and celebrate a life of economic, social and political freedom underpinned by dignity and respect.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trandgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons in Africa experience gross human rights violations. Such violations and abuses include prohibitions against the right to organize, freedom of association, discrimination on basis of sexual identity, denial of access to state services such as health care, education, employment and housing.
- Within such an understanding therefore:
- We work at advancing human rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity at a regional level.
- We promote international human rights norms and standards by documenting the failures of African governments to meet these standards.
- We train LGBTI human rights defenders to document in their respective contexts and thus amplifying the voices of LGBTI activists as a collective.
- We monitor, document and report on human rights violations by community members, service providers and government agents in the region.
- We use visual arts as an important platform for Iranti’s education and dialogue.
Objectives and activities
- To strengthen capacity in the LGBTI movement and civil society within the region.
- To build strategies for advocacy and human rights documentation
- To create a platform for the use of arts as a tool for activism
- To report on human rights violations and gains through news correspondents across Africa.
- Documentation and reporting on human rights violations and human rights gains.
Fostering collaboration and movement-building for the advancement of human rights regionally.
- Developing training programmes and resources to strengthen local and regional movements
Since its establishment in January 2012 has documented hate crime attacks and murders within South Africa. Iranti has worked closely with LGBTI groups in building an effective national campaign against hate crimes and violence.
In the past few months, we have, between June and July 2012,
documented the murders of:
- Thapelo Makhutle a 24 year-old gay man from Kuruman, Northern Cape
- Andritha Thapelo Morifi, a 29 year-old lesbian from Mokopane, Limpopo
- Sanna Supa, a 34 year-old lesbian from Soweto, Gauteng
In July 2012, in collaboration with FEW (Forum for the Empowerment of Women) developed a national action plan calling for an end to the silence by the South African Government on hate crimes and violence.
On the 18th July 2012 in collaboration with FEW, other national LGBTI groups and individual activists mobilized a national protest against the government’s silence on hate crimes and violence against LGBTI persons. Dubbed 67 Minutes of Shame this protest was framed within the 67 minutes devoted to acts of goodwill in honour of Nelson Mandela as South Africa’s freedom and equality icon.
Recently, in collaboration with TIA (Transgender Intersex Africa) and OSISA (Open Society Initiative Southern Africa) was involvement in the first workshop of its kind on gender identities and sexuality with Beyond Identities –a Soweto-based group for young lesbians.
Role and impact
In the coming months we will continue to meet with key government and political leaders. On the 8th August, together with FEW Iranti will meet with the ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe to discuss a memorandum submitted to the party by various LGBTI organizations on proposed action against hate crimes and violence.
Through the intervention of Iranti and allied organizations, South Africa’s Deputy President, Kgalema Mothlante and his Director-General have agreed to call a meeting of director generals nationally to discuss sexual orientation and hate crimes within government programmes.
Iranti 5 Years and Forward
South Africa, 15 December 2017
2017 marked Iranti’s fifth year documenting and advocating for the human rights of lesbian, transgender and intersex persons in Africa. Watch the video...
Shireen Motara is the Iranti board chairperson and is driven by her passion for women’s rights and social change. Shireen has worked in the development sector for over 20 years. Her expertise is built on leadership and management experience in the areas of women’s rights, human rights, governance, and sustainability. Her skills and expertise span the areas of operations, resource mobilisation, research, income generation, developing strategy, and embracing innovation in the development sector.
Shireen has held director roles in women’s organisations focusing on ending violence against women, and has held leadership positions in the fields of human resources and organisational development. She used innovative approaches to to turn around an organisation that was on the brink of closing its doors due to funding challenges. In the leadership roles that she held, she has supported organisations to improve operational functioning including implementing policies and improving human resource and financial management systems. She has also consulted to major institutions like the Graca Machel Trust, Irish Aid, UN Women, and UNIDO.
Her previous board experience includes being the chairperson of the board of the AIDS Foundation of South Africa, serving on the boards of Safer South Africa, and the Council of Technikon SA (now part of UNISA).
Shireen is an innovative thinker with an analytical approach to strategic management, resulting in her ability to provide practical and realistic solutions to complex challenges. She holds the following qualifications: BProc LLB, LLM, Post-graduate Diploma in Business Administration, Higher Diploma in Human Resources and Higher Certificate in Coaching. She is the Founder of Ikhala Women’s Investment Circle and works as an advisor on sustainability, fundraising, gender and women’s rights, and organizational effectiveness.
Robert Hamblin is the Iranti board deputy chairperson. He is an artist, father, and gender activist. His fine-art work is concerned with issues of masculinity and transgender activism. A narrative that he continues to explore is that of the complexities around sex work in South Africa, in particular trans-femme sex work. Since 2011, he has been producing a series of photographic works and advocacy tools with Leigh Davids, a trans sex-work activist of The Sistaaz Hood support group at the sex-work rights-organisation SWEAT.
His commitment to these subjects was invoked at a time when he transitioned from female to male and was a founding member of trans-rights organisation Gender DynamiX. He soon left organisational work, frustrated with organisational processes and opted to rather do outreach to trans sex-work communities as a volunteer, and he continues his fine-art work.
Monique Salomon is a research activist in land and agrarian reform in South Africa, a facilitator of multi-stakeholder initiatives for sustainable development and passionate about tapping into people’s potential as active citizens, leaders, and drivers of their own development. Indonesian-Dutch - PhD - queer - feminist.
Thato Pule is the Iranti treasurer and is a 24-year-old black trans woman from Mahikeng; a small town in the Bokone Bophirima province known for producing talented people. Her life’s journey has always seen her land up in spaces of resistance, such as UCT: The Trans Collective, in search of true liberation and fulfillment. In 2016 she graduated with a Bachelor of Business Science in Actuarial Science (Quantitative Finance) from the University of Cape Town and currently works for one of the major financial services firms in South Africa as an Actuarial Specialist. She uses her free time to identify ways in which she could use her skill set and experiences to benefit the broader black trans-feminist movement.
Thembani Chamane became an Iranti board member in 2016. He is currently working in The Presidency: Office of the Republic of South Africa as a Deputy Director, previously he was the Regional Policy Advisor at Norwegian Church Aid – Policy Office of Southern Africa and before that he worked at the Commission for Gender Equality. He has a passion for human rights promotion and social justice. He holds a Masters of Arts in Gender, Health & Religion from UKZN.
Julius Kaggwa is the executive director of Support Initiative for People with atypical sex Development (SIPD) Uganda, the only human rights organization in Uganda which, through community outreach and engagement, provides reliable and objective information on atypical sex development issues (also known as intersex conditions) and particularly addresses the need for organized medical and psychosocial support, public education, as well as advocacy for human rights protection of intersex children and people.
Julius, a fervent advocate for intersex and gender-nonconforming human rights, is the author of several media articles on the human rights of intersex children and people in Uganda and has facilitated a number of workshops on the rights of intersex and gender variant people. He also led the Uganda Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law for the first phase of its existence and was at the forefront of the campaign against the anti-homosexuality bill (AHB) tabled in Uganda’s parliament in October 2009. He testified before the US congress and did extensive advocacy in Uganda, Kenya, the US, South Africa, and Europe on the human rights implications of the AHB. His passion is to see a world where every human being is treated with dignity and without discrimination on any basis.
Mzikazi Nduna is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She has 21 years working experience as an educator, facilitator, trainer, and currently a lecturer. She has worked as a high-school educator, community facilitator, and trainer-of-trainers in the fields of health, education, and social development. She has co-authored 51 peer-reviewed journal articles, four book chapters, and presented at international and local conferences. She develops generic training material for research field workers for related studies. She is registered with the South African Council of Educators
Advisory board: Strategy
Ellen Sprenger is with Spring Strategies and works to strengthen social justice leaders, organizations and movements globally by supporting them grow, thrive and lead change. Her approach is both down-to-earth and transformative and combines challenging conversations, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking with a drive for practicality and excellence. Spring Strategies specializes in Integral Coaching® of executives and in-tact teams, organizational capacity development, financial sustainability, future trend analysis and scenario planning and integrally informed facilitation. Recent clients include Hivos Netherlands, Ford Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands, CREA and Breakthrough in India, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), Soul City in South Africa, Global Fund for Women in the US and Greenpeace International, among many other social justice organizations and foundations globally. Ellen was the executive director of Mama Cash (2001-2004), a dynamic foundation based in Amsterdam, and from 1992-2001 held several leadership positions at Oxfam-Novib. Currently she is the chair of Women Win Foundation and is on the board of Meta Integral Foundation. She holds a Masters in Development Studies, a Masters in Business Administration and is an Integral Master Coach™. Ellen is from the Netherlands and Canada. Ellen Sprenger coaches Jabu Pereira, and assists Iranti with its strategic framing.
ADVISORY BOARD: Media
Jian is Assistant Professor of English and affiliate faculty of Sexuality Studies, Asian American Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Film Studies at The Ohio State University. Their/his research focuses on new strategies for transgender, queer, and gender & sexual non-conforming transnational cultural activism at the turn of the 21st century, with the shift towards cultural economies facilitated by globally networked media technologies. Along with academic work, is an independent curator, whose media projects have screened with the 6-8 Months Project, hosted by Kara Walker Studios in New York City, the New York MIX 24 Queer Experimental Film Festival, the Wexner Center for the Arts Film/Video Theater in Columbus, and the Asian Pacific American Institute of New York University. Prior to graduate studies, was a labor organizer, popular literacy educator, event planner, and fundraiser with San Francisco/Bay Area community organizations working to address immigrant sweatshop labor and anti-LGBTQ violence. In conversation with IRANTI, hopes to help build community-based strategies for safety using cell phones and shared knowledge on local and regional cross-media-based activisms for social justice. Jian works with Iranti in shaping its “new media” approaches and closes work on the development of transnational media activism.
Past board members
Lyn Ossome is based in the Political Studies Department at Wits University, where she is currently completing her doctoral studies. A feminist scholar and activist, her research work has spanned the East and Horn of Africa countries, most recently in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Somaliland, where she collaboratively researched on community activism strategies and practices with a number of feminist grassroots movements. She has served in consultative and advisory capacities within a number of civil society organisations in eastern and southern Africa. Her research interests are in the areas of feminist theory and politics, land and agrarian studies, postcolonial queer feminist theory, and African politics, and she has contributed several journal articles, book chapters and opinion pieces in these thematic areas. She serves on the board of Artists for Recognition and Acceptance (AFRA), a Nairobi-based women’s art collective, the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA Network – Kenya Chapter), and chairs the Board of Iranti in South Africa.
Mpho Nefuri is an attorney, practicing in Pretoria. She is the director of Nefuri Attorneys a law firm established to focus more the injustices faced by LGBTI persons. Nefuri Attorneys has handled a number of LGBTI cases aimed at protecting rights. The main goal and priority of the firm is to protect the human rights of LGBTI persons. There have been successful litigation outcomes in the Boni Mtshali case (a lesbian assaulted at Carlton Centre), High Court Applications on in vitro candidates, divorce and custody cases.
Emilia Potenza is the curator of the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. In consultation with architects, historians, film-makers, picture researchers and graphic designers, she is responsible for the ongoing expansion of the permanent exhibition. She also curates temporary exhibitions as a regular feature of the museum’s public programme and publishes exhibition catalogues and educational materials.
To date, she has curated the following major temporary exhibitions:
- From Apartheid to Democracy: Celebrating 10 years of democracy
- Separate is not Equal: the struggle for equal education in America
- Balancing Act: South African gay and lesbian youth speak out
- Witness to 1976: the 1976 uprisings through the eyes of photographer Peter Magubane
- Our Triumphs and Our Tears: women’s struggles in 20th century South Africa
- Malibongwe: Let us praise the women – photographs of veteran women activists by Gisele Wulfsohn
- Biko: The Quest for a True Humanity
- Mandela: Comrade, Leader, Negotiator, Prisoner, Statesman
- Oliver Reginald Tambo: The Modest Revolutionary 1917-1993
All of the above exhibitions are currently on display in venues in South Africa or in other countries. A French version of the Mandela exhibition opened at the City Hall in Paris, and a Spanish version is currently touring South America.
Emilia has initiated various education publications which draw on the museum’s contents, including a high school resource pack, and a series of comic books for younger readers. She also oversees the educational experience of the many school students who visit the museum. She is passionate about creating opportunities for young people to understand South Africa’s history, and to draw on the crucial lessons that this offers. She remains committed to fighting against racism and discrimination wherever she encounters it.
Tebogo Nkoana is a black post-op transsexual man. He started his human rights activism in 2007. He is passionate about gender, sexuality, HIV and AIDS issues. He worked as outreach officer at Gender DynamiX from 2008 until 2011. Tebogo is the founder and director of Transgender and Intersex Africa (TIA). TIA is an advocacy organization that primarily focuses on Black transgender and intersex issues in Black townships and rural areas in South Africa. It has many regional partnerships. Tebogo is also the co-founder of Transitioning Africa which focuses on supporting a growing transgender and intersex movement in the region. This network advocates for the human rights of transgender and intersex people. He was a member of the Iranti board and contributed to the strategic vision of Iranti’s regional media advocacy and the advancement of transgender and intersex persons in Africa.
Neo Musangi, previous Iranti program associate, was born in Mwingi, Kenya. Musangi lives between Johannesburg, South Africa and Nairobi, Kenya. Musangi is currently a Doctoral Fellow at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of the Witwatersrand. Besides being a researcher and an ardent blogger, Musangi is a Queer activist, the Program Associate at Iranti and sits on the Advisory Board of US-based Queer African Youth Networking Centre (QAYN).
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Acc name: Iranti
Branch code: 253305
Swift code: FIRNZAJJ
Contact details, and more
Call us, email us:
Tel +27-11 339 1476
Tel +27-11 339 1468
Cell +27-61-851 6118
87 De Korte Street
3rd Floor Heerengracht Building
P.O. Box 31219
You are here:
How to get there
Gautrain and Rea Vaya:
This trip takes less than 5 minutes. Go to Park Station and take the Rea Vaya C3 West to DeKorte. Keep an eye on the building numbers and ask the driver for the Lamanu Hotel (offices are opposte the hotel), you will see a big yellow overhang over the doorway on the right hand side with the 87 De Korte address on. The bus stop is just beyond the robot and you will walk back the half block.
Get off at the corner of Joubert and Bree Streets. Catch a taxi to Joburg Gen. Get off on De Korte Street. Walk towards number 87 (we're directly opposite Lamunu Hotel)
How to get back to Park Station
Gautrain and Rea Vaya:
Turn left out of the building and left again, walking up to Jorrisen Street. In front of you will be a bus stop. There are two C3 busses that pass by there - one takes a 20 minute turn around the city and ends up at Park Station (It may say Rissik Street on its leader board, but ask the driver. It passes Joburg Art Gallery, Constitution Hill, The Woman's Jail, Hillbrow, The Market Theatre and Newtown, Wits Braamfontein, the Joburg Theatre and the Joubert Park taxi rank.) The other C3 bus that passes goes directly to Park Station in less than 5 minutes.
Directions to Iranti
Click here to go to Iranti's Google map
PS: We are in need of office warming gifts, coffee plunger, a kettle, a plant, office chairs, shelves, and anything else you may think of contributing to a great organisation. Telkom has installed our telephone line and internet. So bring your laptop along and come work in our space should you need WiFi.
Media & Documentation Officer
Finance & Administration Manager
Human Resources Officer
Executive Support Consultant
Nerina Penzhorn is a New York-based, South African-raised video producer, teacher and filmmaker. Nerina has produced stories for NGOs as well as for television. She teaches documentary filmmaking at the New School in New York and her documentary films have played at film festivals worldwide
Researcher and activist
Zandi Sherman is a queer African feminist passionate about social justice. She is a researcher and activist, and tries always to do both simultaneously. She pursued a joint masters degree in Sociology from the Universities of Freiburg and Cape Town and in September 2015 she will begin a PhD in Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. She has been involved in activism across broad issues, including LGBTI struggles, racial justice and the liberation of Palestine.
ZwaKala Intern (Limpopo)
ZwaKala Intern (Gauteng)
ZwaKala Intern (Gauteng)
Botshelo Mondi describes herself as a 23yr old art fanatic born and raised in Rustenburg. Botshelo studied Fine Arts at the Vaal University of Technology where she majored in ceramics sculpture. Botshelo’s artworks have been shown in both Switzerland and South Africa. In 2012 Botshelo started experimenting with editing and photography and also opened a mini beaded accessories business which exposed her to various forms of artistic expression. Botshelo is determined to learn and passionate about art for she believes that SHE IS ART. Botshelo brings a wealth of talent and energy to Iranti.
Nqobile Zungu resides in Thembisa, Johannesburg. She is a member of the Beyond Identities Initiative. She is young, energetic and very keen to develop her skills, which include organizational leadership development, photography and research. Nqobile has a diploma in Avianotics, no doubt intelligent, articulate and a perfect fit for Iranti. Within her internship she is developing her skills on organizational project planning and photography.
Kelebogile Ntladi was born in Soweto and raised in the east Johannesburg in Leondale, Gauteng. Kelebogile ‘Lebo’ Ntladi’s work is a combination of fine art, social documentary and portrait photography. Lebo is interested in human interaction and stories of people on the margins of society, often simple people who want to exist under the radar. Lebo is currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa and is on a visiting position at Iranti.
Kay Legoete was born in Mafikeng. She graduated with degrees in Psychology and Communications from the North West University (NWU). Kokeletso is passionate about human rights and movement building in relation to LBTIQ. She believes a free and just society begins with challenging and questioning the system. Led by humanitarian principles, Kay began her activism when she joined the counselling centre at the NWU, working as a peer helper and chairperson of ‘Out n’ Proud’, the first LGBTI organisation on campus. At Iranti, Kay works on fact files on hate crimes and often represents the organisation at external meetings and platforms.
Deekay Sibanda has been working as a human rights defender since 2004. She is passionate about working for a just society and influencing change, so that marginalized women can be free to enjoy their rights. In 2008, she joined the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW). Initially working as an Administrative Assistant and later as a Projects Coordinator/Community Liaison Officer. She developed her passion for the media while she was working at FEW; conducting interviews, public speaking, writing articles, managing social media and the website. Through her activism, she has travelled to other countries, learning and experiencing various cultures. She was the LGBTI young activist of the year in 2012 and featured in the Mail & Guardian Book of South African Women in 2013. She is currently studying for a diploma at Boston Media House and is doing an internship at Iranti.
Itumeleng “Tumi” Thandeka Mkhuma grew up in Katlehong, a township of greater Johannesburg. She is a young fun-loving lesbian, an activist and a survivor of violence. Prior to joining Iranti, Tumi volunteered at FEW (Forum for the Empowerment of Women) working as a photographer. She is a committed sport activist and a member of the Chosen Few soccer team. At Iranti, Tumi focuses on media documentation (photography, video and audio) and also supports the team with project administrator. In 2014, she co-organised the IDAHOT day of events.
Selogadi Mampane began performing at the age of 11 and has since never stopped. Her passion for performance necessitated exploration in the fields of research. She is currently undertaking her Masters studies at the University of Pretoria, in the field of gender, race, cultural, performance and film studies, focusing her research around female masculinity. She describes herself as an activist who utilises inter-disciplinary arts mediums to explore social issues. Her talents cover the disciplines of writing, directing and performance in film and theatre. Her performance work has been shown at the University of Pretoria and she has performed at platforms such as the Grahamstown Arts festival. She is most concerned with utilising arts mediums to explore the stories and experiences of LGBTIQ women. Her performance art is constructed through the processes of workshop, where she constructs art out of explorations done with her cast and the community around her. Selogadi believes that art is the means to explore, interpret and understand the world around her.