by Zandile Makhubu
Call them the Jet setters, globetrotters, call them what you may but the Inkanyiso Productions is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in the media industry and queer art activism.
Broadening international footprints may not all be that easy but it is worth the relations that we have built thus far. As Inkanyiso we are turning the tables around for a change, as representatives of the South African LGBTI community we are often used as candidates of studies conducted by people from abroad documenting our stories, our lives and our struggles to live proudly and openly gay in our country.
We are frequently on front pages of international media, being flavors of the month and seldom given the chance to attend and explore queer international.
Within amplitude of months, Inkanyiso has been representing South Africa and the LGBTI community across global borders, spreading the word through journalism, visual activism and photography to ensure our legacy is engraved in every corner of the earth we inhabit.
On the 2 – 7 June 2013 Lesego Tlhwale one of the journalists for Inkanyiso traveled to Salzburg, Austria to participate in Salzburg Global Seminar on ‘LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps’. The seminar was the 506 session and the first LGBTI focused session for Salzburg Global Seminar in its entire history.
Salzburg Global Seminars is an organisation that focuses on various topics from politics to human rights awareness just to mention a few. Speaking as a panelist on Social Media, Lesego Tlhwale discussed issues surrounding social media, how social media may sometimes be hostile towards the LGBTI community and at the same time act as a platform for our voices to be heard.
“The seminar was a very interesting because it brought academics, politics, policy makers, thinkers, activists and religious people. The diverse groups of 60 participants from 33 different countries were there to discuss the way forward in tackling LGBTI issues in our respective countries” says Lesego Tlhwale.
She further raises the issues that there are a lot of opportunities in international spaces and these spaces should be made available to black queer people.
Maureen Majola, a strong poet graced the city of Oslo, Norway leaving the country on the 18th June 2013 to capture and experience Pride week activities, Oslo style. A sad trip it was for her, due to the untimely passing of her beloved grandmother, who died just two days after she landed in Oslo “I don’t know how I felt since my grandmother died the second day I was there and I still had to put on a smile on my face “ says Majola.
Majola joined Zanele Muholi for the series of events which were part of I See Rainbow exhibition hosted by the Norwegian Student and Academics International Assistance Fund (SAIH) and Forum for Women Development (FOKUS) as well as two seminars which focused on methods of communication, representation and activism.
The other seminar was on Queer Art Activism, Muholi was the main speaker at seminar which was a dialogue between Norway and South Africa looking at how art can be used for information and advocacy.
Majola also took part in showing perspective around issues from her experience as a part of the Inkanyiso Initiative in South Africa. Given the opportunity again Majola said, she would love to go back to Oslo under different circumstances and strengthen relationships with international allies.
Just yesterday on the 10 July 2013, Charmain Carrol and Nqobile Zungu traveled to Barcelona, Spain and later will go to France to attend yet another workshop on behalf of Inkanyiso. They are attending the Eleventh European Feminist Meeting.
The aim of their attendance is to build international alliances and also to change perceptions that black lesbians in South Africa are not just hate crime victims and research subjects rather functional as individuals.
End of July 2013, other crew members, Kopano Sibeko and Thekwane Bongi Mpisholo will represent the organisation on separate occasions, Sibeko will be report from 2013 World OutGames in Antwerp, Belgium and Mpisholo to document the Amsterdam Pride.
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