by Kopano Sibeko
The year is about come to an abrupt end and there’s something innately endearing about the Johannesburg Pride which is now known as the People’s Pride but that’s a story for another day. With yet another kind of spin an unprecedented fever has finally hit ablaze with the spirit of togetherness as we anticipate the LGBTI Recognition Awards.
There are many connotations to what these awards embody or intend to present, so I conversed with Lebo Radebe affectionately known as Nob Ody the event director of these esteemed awards. Nob ody articulates on how the whole thing started “we started as a group of friends and we were trashing each other” she said. She further added that, the inception of these awards were initially a form of mockery with her friends back in 2009. But it finally dawned on them that they needed to make them more positive. “There was no such thing as an awards event in the lgbti community. So we decided that the awards could be something that can also motivate them, inspire them to aspire to do better in their lives” she said. “These awards are also about edutainment. The recognition awards also help LBGTI people to act socially responsible manner and they create a harmonious environment” she added.
The third annual upcoming awards have been the talk of the town since the nominations have been handed in. In about a month time from now the winners will be announced at the State Theatre in Pretoria. However debates have spiralled out of control and rumours have been flying around that in the past two consecutive years the winners of these awards are known close friends of the bubbly event director.
It’s also rumoured that people win because of their ‘fame’ in the lgbti community, whatever it is their famous for beats me, but those are the rumours. Nob suggestively defends the rumours and explains that “with the planning and categories I involve everyone and everybody is allowed to nominate any person of their choice.”
I then asked her how does she ensure or assure that the nominees are credible or if there is any research done. Her response was that with every person that nominates someone they give a short motivation that stipulates if the person is deserving to be nominated “because I don’t know everybody” she said.
My thoughts are that not much research is constructed to ensure if the information about the nominees are legit, because one cannot entirely depend on what the nominator motivated, I stand corrected.
Organising a big event always comes with challenges and Nob Ody says that although they’ve grown since the first awards but they still have the major obstacle of not getting any sponsorship “I do these awards out of my own pocket.”
She says we’ve tried everywhere for sponsorship but it seems like every company when they see the acronym LGBTI they have a problem. No company wants to be associated with that. “We’ve tried other organisations and they also say that this was not within their budget” she said.
She utters that it’s sad to not get support from our sister organisations. She also mentions that the other challenges that she’s facing are the people that are not on Facebook “how do I go about informing those people about the awards.”
She further adds that another challenge is with the voting system “I did my research with the sms system. You have to be very big, and there’s a certain amount that you pay, like you pay something like R6 000.00 to get the smses and if you don’t reach a certain target you deplete the whole amount” she expressed.
With so many challenges one wonders where she takes the courage to continue hosting this event. She says with a smile on her face that “when you are passionate about something you don’t give up on it.” She also enlightens me that she sees these awards on a more national scale “if we can have them more nationally whereby every province have their own mini awards and the bigger awards are this side that will complete me” she voices out.
Lebo tells me that even with the past awards she didn’t make a profit for herself but she managed to make a break-through because some of the money proceeding that she made from that event she donated it to charity at the Kitsong Children’s Centre . “I just get satisfaction just to organize what I see and something that is becoming bigger and growing and becoming successful” she confesses.
Another connotation that was blabbed about was the fact that these awards carter for mostly lesbians but they are titled LGBTI recognition awards. This is not just a mistake that Nob Ody did, but you find that other organisations tend to do too.
According to Nob ody she titled the awards like this because she had a bigger picture in mind, but the other letters from the latter are inactive, “they have the platform to nominate” she says.
There is evidently more that comes with organisation such a prestigious event, and not everything will play out perfectly. Though we do encourage that more research be done to ensure credibility and more neutrality is required so that people do not temper with the votes or think otherwise of them . There’s also a great plead to sister LGBTI organisations to help with the little that they have to make this mark of historical invention even bigger.
Previous articles by Kopano
2013 Sept. 22: Stop this is hurting me…