Good things come in three they say… the holy trinity, threesomes…
Which is why we at the GAY Flag of SA NPO are celebrating our 3rd Birthday.
When looking back at our record we can hardly believe we as a small NPO has done half of the activism and protests and of course the parties that we have done across the country in our communities, not to mention the radio, TV, print and protest.
There is some updates as the Gay Flag of SA is now a formal NPO advocacy and watch dog group. It is also proud to announce t hat the organizations new director is Pamela Dhlamini who has previously assisted the Gay Flag of SA with the Cape Town Mandela Day protests of 2012. Ms. Dhlamini is also a current student and acting chairperson for Rainbow UCT!
Ms. Dhlamini stated: “I am glad to be a director for the Gay Flag of SA and can’t wait to our ideas shape the next three years for the organization and our community.”
So in retrospect here is break down of what the GAY Flag of SA has achieved up to date…
• December 2010 – launched the Gay Flag of South Africa to an audience
of 7000 at MCQP:
• March 2011 – Accepted and welcomed at Cape Town Pride
• Later 2011 arranged a press conferences for victims of corrective
rape and violence, sending out press releases.
• Later 2011 – Assisted Luleki Sizwe in talks in Parliament to set up
a national task team on homophobic violence.
• Launched the world’s first and only national gay tour very much like
Priscilla Queen of the Desert which raised widespread awareness and
advocacy against lesbian hate rape whilst engaging the media, radio,
TV and also the charities and clubs across the nation.
WHEN Phatekile Holomisa and CONTRALESA threatened Gay and Lesbian
Constitutional rights the Gay Flag of SA coordinated the following:
• March 2012 set up a national coalition of LGBTI organizations to
protect gay rights within the constitution of South Africa which
reached 3000 + facebook members in a weekend
• launched and managed a successful petition winning 7 000 votes in a
week asking for a refutation of a succesful protest to review gay
rights in the constitution of South Africa.
• May 2012 – we initiated, organized and facilitated a national
protest in Jo’burg (1200 people) CPT, Durban and PE (all with 300+
people) against the review of gay rights in the South African
constitution. This march was deemed by many as the largest LGBTI
protest action in the new democracy of South Africa.
• June 2012 – We assisted in planning Cape Town Mandela Day protests
on the ANC offices – after which we successfully consulted the African
National Congress to publicly state its support for LGBTI rights and
equality, to condemn homophobic violence and tradionalist using
culture to discriminate.
• August 2012 – The Heraldic Council of South Africa, Department of
Arts and Culture convened and officially validated that the design
follows all international heraldic requirements and guidelines. The
Dept of Arts and Culture formally registered the design for the use of
the Gay Flag of SA NPO.
• September 2012 – Toured the country for the second time to raise
awareness of Traditionalist homophobia in South Africa – themed I AM
AFRICAN with a national talent search.
• March 2013 – Assisted Ameer Abbas and his mother to get their case
recognized by the equality court after his gay-bashing attacker got
off for a R 150 Rand on Mother’s Day.
• March 2013 – launched a facebook campaign to evoke a sense of
outrage that you can get off for a gay bashing for a R 150.
• March 2013 – launched a petition with Funeka Soldaat and Laurie
Gaum, calling the task team to task – since then the task team has
been much more visible and active with renewed vigour.
Eugene Brockman the Designer and Chair for The Gay Flag of SA commented that: “All of the above has been done with the passion, internet time and commitment of a hand full of people that was supported by key people of SA’s LGBTI community… and for that we are grateful.”
Countries such Canada, Israel, Brazil, England, USA, Turkey all have their own versions of the Gay Flag that Gilbert Baker designed. And their purpose is to celebrate what is local and unique… after all: local is lekker.
Eugene added that “The international Gay Flag will always be there to tie us internationally. However the Gay Flag of SA has by far done more than any of its international counterparts and has shown that it is has meant a tremendous amount to the queer people of our country.
To play on the logic of John F Kennedy “Ask not what the Gay Flag of SA can do for you, but what you can do with the Gay Flag of SA” ”However the Gay Flag of SA’s true potential lies in you, in us as a community. ” Eugene Brockman added.
SA Government approves official gay flag to fly – NPO “Gay Flag of South Africa” calls for sanctions against Uganda by Henry Bantjez Joburg Pride, the African continent’s first and largest annual LGBTI celebration, took place at the Zoo Lake Sports Club on Saturday, 6 October 2012. This year’s theme was “Protect Our Rights”, underscoring LGBTI’s in South Africa’s support of basic human rights, as highlighted in South Africa’s ground-breaking Constitution. The event attracted thousands of supporters from across the country including the Gay Flag of South Africa (GFSA) a Human rights NPO who had travelled 5000 km in a Budget-car-rental coach themed I AM AFRICAN to make a world breaking announcement. The South African government had announced in their gazette that the image of the gay flag of South Africa was approved and accepted as South Africa’s official gay flag (an adaptation of the international gay flag and the South African national flag). This makes South Africa the first country on earth to officially recognize such a symbol. The Department of Arts and Culture through the Bureau of Heraldry designs and registers heraldic representations such as flags and is guided by the Heraldry Act, which governs the use and protection of national symbols which is currently under the authority of the Minister of Arts & Culture. “The Gay Flag of SA is now officially recognized and protected by the department of Arts and culture and the government of South Africa,” said Mava Mothiba from this department. Eugene Brockman (who started the NPO as well as the flag design) said: “The flag has become a symbol of both the celebration of queer South African identity as well as the obstacles and hate crimes LBTI South Africans face that are unique to this country. More than that the flag is a watch dog, NPO advocacy group that has brought Adv. Pathekile Holomisa’s actions into the spotlight and mobilized vast numbers of LGBTI citizens and civil societies to take action. “Today is personally, the most important day of my life, an emotional Brockman noted who is photographed here with Justice Edwin Cameron, an out gay judge who invited the GFSA to the constitutional court to celebrate and acknowledge the gay flag team’s efforts. Since CONTRALESA’s (Council of Traditional leaders of South Africa) Pathekile Holomisa (also on the constitutional review committee) placed constitutional protections for sexual orientation against discrimination up for review on the agenda of the Constitutional Review Committee, the Gay Flag of South Africa has initiated and supported activism in the LGBTI community of South Africa into national protests in collaboration with other groups. On Mandela Day the Gay Flag of South Africa in protested the ANC to demand action against homophobic violence and murder on July 18th 2012 which lead to constructive talks. The ANC openly condemned all homophobic discrimination, violence, rape, murder and most recent mutilation against people on grounds of their sexual orientation. “It is my believe that gay rights are human rights and that no homophobic violence or prejudice should be tolerated. The ANC has always endeavored to build an equal and progressive South Africa. The ANC’s values are guided by the South African constitution, where we develop a equal non-sexist, non-racial and non-homophobic nation,” said Songezo Mjongile, Western Cape ANC secretary. “We are committed to work with the Gay Flag,” he said. “Though we are a politically neutral organization, we are excited by the ANC sending a message of acceptance and respect for LGBTI South Africans to their vast constituencies. We are world leaders in gay rights, NOW WITH OUR OWN FLAG and it is time that we start placing economic sanctions on African countries who are violating human rights on their LGBTI citizens,” Brockman said. “Uganda is the first country we should target. We plan to have further talks with the ruling party on this matter in the next few days, he said. PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAMIEN SCHUMANN
I am on what is known as the gayest tour on earth. The Gay flag of SA, Budget-car-hire’s I am African national coach experience that has brought us form Cape Town to Johannesburg, city of gold, opportunity and danger.
I want to talk about the Johannesburg ( Jozie as we call it) vibe. Why is it so different here? I cant put my finger on it. By different (as opposed to Cape Town) I refer not to what the place is most famous for – crime – I refer to the people. They seem friendlier and less stuck with carrots up their arses. Not necessarily down to earth (because that would just be fucking boring) but a greater willingness to mingle (as opposed to folks in Cape Town who often don’t notice the potential of making new friends and conversation because their noses are so high up in the air all they can see is the back of their eyeballs. Okay! Not all you beauties down there! I’ll be fair.). I swear, the other day, Huge (my partner of 11 years, and the designer of the gay flag of South Africa who put this whole tour together) went for a quick bite (by that I mean lamb shank prepared by Melon restaurants top chef, in Melville). Table to the right- 3 fag hag-looking African women – Classy Super sassy. Table to the left. Two Jozie gays. One 39 (he told us) and the other a twink who was obviously happy with his sugar daddy. I asked phone of the women, who was a perfect 10 who owned her? “Huh? “She said, after I interrupted a conversation they had about bond origination and other front office financial jargon. “I mean, you are so super fabulous, some gay guy needs you as his fag hag,” I said. “Oh my god”, she laughed “So true. I need a gay in my life. Can I have you?” she asked. The other guys joined in on the conversation and soon after we were having Jaeger bombs and tequila. We exchanged numbers and I have already gotten a few e-,mails from the ladies. The next day I went for a hair cut and the barber (In Melville since I can remember – way back) out of the blue said “You know, in Jozie you can go to any bar and people will talk to you. You can easily make friends here” I rest my case.
So many people on the bus have said they wanted to move to Johannesburg. People love s here. We love it here even though we have either forgotten or suppressed the very real presence of danger, but let me first talk about some fagulocity before I get into that.
Team Gay Flag of South Africa has taken over Johannesburg with a bang. Soweto had invited us to their pride for which we felt extremely blessed and apparently at some clubs they were looping images of the FlagBoys (that’s me and my partner Huge) and the gay flag of SA on their big screens. We had to pick up forms for Joburg Pride (we were told that we would not be allowed to be in the parade if we did not do this) so they whole team hopped on the coach (inn full costume and drag) and arrived at the Zoo lake Clubhouse with our resident flag bearer. What an entrance we made. People’s mouths were literally hanging open. Our performers have had a few successful events and I especially enjoyed Bitchy bingo hosted by Miss Lola Fine at Melon Bar, Melville and drag, dance and singing performances by Genevieve Le Coq, Odidiva Mfenyana and newcomer form Mafikeng, Adonis.
This morning, at 3:20 am, Adam, one of the GFSA board members, called me. Someone was in their apartment. A crazed fan had broken in and violently looking for one of our tour members. I told Adam and Albert (From Congo, who had suffered violent homophobic attacks in his country and fled to South Africa) to lock themselves in a room. We called the South African Police Service who put us all on hold (Cape Town, if I were with you, the cops would have been there in one minute. Oh and by the way 10111, South Africa’s 911 did not work either). Huge and myself rushed over to help since SAPS were too “busy” to respond (In Bloemfontein when we called, they also failed to respond – time to pull rank and get us some serious protection. Just spoke to the big wigs in Pretoria and they are already being super helpful). They guy had fled, but not without a wallet full of cash, cards, a passport and other very personal belongings. This gave us a wake-up call. A cruel reminder that we were all public figured (Who had advertised on radio where we were living) and that we had to be careful and vigilant.
Well, after last nights trauma (Some still in severe shock) we may rethinking the great exodus planned to Jozie. Will get back to you on that one. Cape Town we still love you!
I LOVE JOZI!
I am telling you, we flagboys have a every intention of moving here.
The vibe, the electricity in the air. People clued up and buzzing!
The people are also really welcoming and funky. None of the Cape Townian did we go to same creche or does my daddy know your daddy, I went to Bishops nonsense.
We are hosted by the wonderful Ricus and Emil or as we call them “The Ratz Boys” and Johan Strauss in the swank Johannesburg Suites and also 12 Stars Luxury Lifestyle apartments.
Henry and I have our pooches Jacky and Chan here too, so we are crashing in the plush guest room of the very welcoming Ricus and Emil, where our dahlinks can roam and run free.
We were lazy in the 5 hr drive to Jozi. A pitstop had Genevieve give and Afrikaans Antie a piece of her mind when she told her she can’t use the ladies restroom. The others of us chilled, on the lawn sipping coffee.
Our first day was a bit mellow and then suddenly we were on the bus for our first nite out! Provocative nite club was on the itinerary and we were so ready for a party! Provocative is run by the owners of the previous Ramp Diva’s and lives up to the great sound, hot tall, lanky and hunky barmen and a bevvy of East Rand boys (and gay girls as our videographer happily discovered).
Our show was centered on a podium with a pole on which Adonis and Odidiva immediately started bumping and grinding.
Genevieve hooked us up with the owners and soon the show got on the road.
Odidiva did Riri’s “Where have you been all my life” and Adonis astonished the crowd with his snappy and lightning fast moves.
Lola just had a lovely patsy and mingled with the single guys.
All in all it was an amazing day and we loved having our drivers taking us home at 2PM. Getting ready for the next day where we went to Soweto Pride!
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On Saturday, 29 September 2012 members of the LGBTI community gathered in Soweto, South Africa for its annual pride event themed “Giving homophobia the red card” SOWETO Pride is aimed at expressing and celebrating identities, activism and resilience as black lesbian women and received great support from different sectors of the LGBTI community where black and white came together as one. It is also a space to express outrage at the violations that we still face in South Africa because of sexuality. SOWETO Pride is a political project initiated by FEW in 2004, this year lead by FEW’s Dikeledi Sibanda.
A few hundred people marched down the streets of Soweto carrying gay flags , chanting revolutionary songs reminiscent of the apartheid era whilst curious onlookers cheers them on and cars honking in support. A lesbian from Johannesburg asked why the Department of Justice created an LGBTI Task team who has only failed us (LGBTI’s). “Where are they today? Where were they when we marched on May 19th?” she said. The recent request of CONTRALESA’s Pathekile Holomisa, also chair of the Constitutional Review committee, to scrap LGBTI rights, lead to the mentioned protest where a memorandum was handed to parliament. The NPO, Gay Flag of South Africa (GFSA) recently collaborated with the ANC and got them to strongly condemn Holomisa’s notions saying “It is my believe that gay rights are human rights and that no homophobic violence or prejudice should be tolerated. The ANC has always endeavored to build an equal and progressive South Africa. The ANC’s values are guided by the South African constitution, where we develop a equal non-sexist, non-racial and non-homophobic nation,” Songezo Mjongile, Western Cape ANC secretary. It was the combined hopes of these two organizations that this message would shift public perceptions to mutual acceptance and make it clear that hate crimes and murders will no longer be tolerated (Even though the ANC was not visible at the event). The GFSA, who joined the march, is currently travelling 5000km in an LGBTI-branded Budget-car-hire bus in protest of traditionalists trying to amend gay rights with their theme I am African.
The crowd formed an emotional circle in the middle of a busy road (while SAPS prevented traffic from passing through) and asked for a minute of silence. Black cloth dolls representing murdered lesbians were laid on the tar in an emotional plea to end homophobic violence and discrimination. It was an act of bravery and resistance, and a key moment for this community. The procession ended at the Openheimer park where a host of entertainers, including new kid on the Block “Electra Lux” (Thabo Gaobuse from Mafikeng, one of the GFSA’s entertainers) wowed the crowds with his acapela singing and hip dance routine. Even though people were enjoying the music, food, laughter and connecting with friends they knew that a dark cloud hung over South Africa- that of homophobia, hate crimes against women and a recent threat to amend basic human rights. Albert Kafuka, member of Passop, NPO working on rights of immigrants into Africa with an LGBTI subsidiary (Suffering xenophobia and homophobia) said “You are still lucky in your country, but you can loose what you have (LGBT rights) as easily as you got it).
-Henry Bantjez, Gay Flag of South Africa
-Photography by Damien Schuman