Iranti is a media
advocacy organisation
that defends the rights of Lesbians, Transgender
and Intersex persons
in Africa. 


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AQMMN podcasts


“Listen to our Stories”

South Africa, 18 February 2016spacer

PODCASTS. The time has come, Yes! The time we all have been waiting for... the Media Makers are ready to share their stories with everyone. They have been working on them following very exciting and insightful radio training, coordinated by Iranti. The stories are ready to shake and move the greater Africa as a whole. Please take a moment to listen and, if you like, share with friends and contacts, and post to social media. These stories will be uploaded every week starting from today, please check back here for more stories...


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Partially Legally Recognized

7 July 2016, Kenya

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.

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Leone Dalziel

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. During his fellowship, he learned and practiced how to use media tools for advocacy. This podcast is a product of his work.

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Legal battle in Botswana

3 February 2016, Botswana

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.

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Betesta Segale

My journey as a transman

22 June 2015, South Africa

Betesta Segale was an intern at Iranti from Rainbow Identity
Association (R.I.A) from January - May 2015.

By Betesta Segale, Botswana

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Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) Public service announcement (PSA)

24 March 2015, Malawi
By Ishmael K. Makhuludzo, Malawi

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Are you willing to die for this lifestyle?

I thank you for allowing us to share our stories

10 March, Botswana

By O.R. Moruakgomo, Botswana

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Sexism is binary

For how long must we fight to co-exist with our same sex partners in our counties and communities?

18 February 2015, South Africa

By Tshepang Maganedisa, South Africa

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16 days of activism

Johannesburg People's Pride Public Service Announcement

11 February 2015, South Africa

By Iranti, South Africa

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Love and Respect

You teach us at school to love and accept, but the world around us continues to reject

5 February 2015, Zambia

By MEB, Zambia

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Being the voice

She must be a Satanist

She must be a Satanist, why would one want to waste her womanhood and not do the vital purpose that God intended her to do?

10 December 2014

By MEB, Zambia

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A proud manly woman

‘I feel so uncomfortable and to be honest, I am scared’

24 November 2014, South Africa

By Tumi Mkhuma from South Africa

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Journey in Loologane

You are a man, can we talk about ‘this’ please...

17 November 2014, Botswana

By Activist from Botswana

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1st podcast - AQMMN PSA

Public service announcement (PSA) is the first podcast

13 November 2014

By Media Makers


2nd AQMMN Radio Training


Johannesburg, South Africa, 18-20 August 2014
A photo gallery on the 2nd AQMMN Radio Training coordinated by Ayanda Msiza from Iranti, facilitated by Fiona Lloyd and Sicelo Mahlangu. 18 participants from southern Africa who form part of the network were trained on producing radio/ podcasting stories. This capacity-building training was aimed at empowering each organization with essential skills to produce stories that amplify efforts towards change.


Blair, activist from Zambia paying attention to what is being shared in the group.
Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Kokeletso Lekgoete and S’du Mncube

From left: Kokeletso Lekgoete and S’du Mncube during the Technical training facilitated by Sicelo Mahlangu.
Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Tsepo Katlhane and Zikhona Gqoz

Tsepo Katlhane and Zikhona Gqozo glued to their screens as they edit their podcasts.
Photo by: Gugu Mandla

Fiona Lloyd, the facilitator and Betesta Segale

Fiona Lloyd, the facilitator, and Betesta Segale from R.I.A Botswana sharing the interview tips with the rest of the group.
Photo by: Gugu Mandla


Audio editing at AQMMN

Audio editing software was installed in the machines for the participants to start editing their recordings.
Photo by: Gugu Mandla


Fiona Lloyd, S’du Mncube

From left: Fiona Lloyd, S’du Mncube, Brandon Tshabatau and Betesta Segale shortening a story to record for group work.
Photo by: Gugu Mandla

Zheng Tlhaolakgomo watching Ayanda Msiza giving Kokeletso Lekgoete a certificate

At the back: Zheng Tlhaolakgomo watching Ayanda Msiza give Kokeletso Lekgoete a certificate of participation and a big warm hug.
Photo by: Gugu Mandla

S’Du Mncube and Tumi Mkhuma

From left: S’du Mncube and Tumi Mkhuma during the certificate ceremony.
Photo by: Gugu Mandla

Onalenna Moruakgomo

Onalenna Moruakgomo standing in the middle of a circle. She is about to hand someone a certificate. At the back from left; Phiwe, Lame, Tshepang and Ayanda are listening to her speech.
Photo by: Gugu Mandla

Zheng Tlhaolakgomo

Zheng Tlhaolakgomoa with a big smile receiving a hug and the certificate of participation from Onalenna Moruakgomo, Yaruna FM in Botswana.
Photo by: Gugu Mandla


Batesta Segale, Brandon Tshabatau and Mwale Banda

From left: Batesta Segale, Brandon Tshabatau and Mwale Banda during the facilitation of Fiona Lloyd.
Ptoto by: Gugu Mandla

Tsepo Kgatlhane

Tsepo Kgatlhane from Kurara FM, Northern Cape sharing with the group about the importance of using radio as a platform to advocate for Human Rights Issues.
Photo by: Gugu Mandla



by Skipper Mogapi

Soccer by Raibow Identity Association

A day of sporting fun. Photo by Onica Lenkutwane


Botswana, 26 April 2014

Rainbow Identity Association (RIA) is the only organization in Botswana working with transgender and intersex people. Recreational activities and facilities for the LGBTI community and women are limited especially during weekends.


On 26 April, RIA organised the fourth ‘Gender 6-a-side’ social soccer tournament, designed to promote a healthier and fitter life style among the LGTBI network members and the broader community. The activity is to create LGBTI visibility and amplify the equality between the hetero and LGBTI communities, to unite and bring holistically the two communities despite differences of gender and sex.
Soccer has traditionally been male dominated, portraying a masculine image of sports.


Although gender equality in education does not appear to significantly impact the success of men when the measure of taste for soccer is not included, it does however have a highly significant and negative impact on men’s success once women’s points are controlled for. It would appear that the gender equality in a country increases the resources for women’s program at the expense of the men’s programs.


The tournament attracted nine teams from around Botswana, including women, men, queers and non-conforming gender persons. The winning team medal was scooped by the Scobo team, made up of young gender non-conforming people. Baiphatlakanyi team comprising of Serowe and Palapye people took second place. The Vannyana team from Block9 and Block7 in Gaborone won the third or bronze prize.


“It was an awesome event. Thanks to the Q-group for the energy and time. This year we had even more teams than before and we also had a new winner”, said Sputla Mogorosi.


Southern African Media Makers Network training workshop by Iranti


Johannesburg, 17 April 2014

On 10-14 February 2014, Iranti hosted a Southern African Media Makers Network training workshop in Johannesburg. LGBTI activists spent a week in training learning about media and the importance of amplifying our voices in all spaces. The Network hopes to generate a series of stories from organisations across the continent



A new generation of LGBTI media makers


Johannesburg, 17 February 2014

by Siduduzo Mncube, Gay & Lesbian Network – PMB

Giving the voice to the voiceless has been a long life struggle for every activist globally. Creating platforms of engagement for the marginalised poses a threat where certain groups live under the spectrum of the high and mighty.


LGBTI organisations across Southern Africa came together in Johannesburg for a week-long training workshop by Iranti on media-making for activism. The main objective of this training was to create a healthy network of active media makers to tell our stories in our own voice. Equipping LGBTI people with media skills will strengthen our plight for equality and provide a platform for various organisations to reach out and make their voices heard.


The training consisted of a number of aspects that are important for efficient media making. It offered photography, video, audio and creative report writing. Through these mediums a lot of activism can be catalysed and made accessible worldwide.

25 LGBTI people were trained under this programme from the 10th to the 15th of Feb 2014. They were all awarded the opportunity to learn and implement what they can best do within their respective organisation and to get their message across. Through Iranti, we have a new generation of LGBTI media makers.


Denied But Still Standing Strong

M.E.B talks to Augustine Mohale of Diamond Gays and Lesbians 

Augustine Mohale (with her back) being interviewed about her life. Photo by Gugu Mandla

M.E.B talks to Augustine Mohale of Diamond Gays and Lesbians

Augustine Mohale (with her back) being interviewed about her life. Photo by Ayanda Msiza


I sat there in awe of this brave young woman who shared her difficult story of rejection with us. Only 18 years old, Kimberly-born Augustine has already experienced the life of being denied for who she is. When she came out about her sexuality to her mother, life drastically changed for her. She shared with us during an LGBT media makers training workshop in Johannesburg her deepest fears. As she talked, many of us empathised with her as we saw our fears in hers. Listening to her gave us a sense of power – knowing that we were not alone. These were her words:

“As a young activists I have gotten to realise that one of my deepest fears is to be questioned about my sexuality, which made me feel uncomfortable and insecure ”.
Augustine talked about how she was being violated by her parents because of her sexuality. Her parents are of the opinion that being a lesbian is not normal. To make the situation worse, she is being denied the right to education – her parents refuse to support her desire for schooling. This has severe impacts on Augustine as she feels that she is not good enough to be who she wants to be professionally.


Initially, Augustine’s mother did not have problems with her sexuality. Things got bad when Augustine’s stepfather found out. He argued that being a lesbian was not African and that such behaviour should not be tolerated. This strong claim made Augustine’s mother change her relaxed behaviour towards her daughter. She soon started believing her husband’s ideas. This tore Augustine a great deal. She stated:

“I don’t understand what kind of a mother would side with the man in her life and push away her only daughter. Threatening me or not letting/taking me to school will not change the fact that i am a black lesbian woman”.

Having had a chat with this young lady made me realise that being who you are in the LGBTI community is a challenge and while talking about it may help – it can be perceived by the listener in very different ways. I take courage from this young woman’s strength to come out and challenge the injustices around her.



A week of Learning, Courage and Love

Johannesburg, 10-14 February 2014

by Betesta Segale, Mosa Mahlangu, Josie Mavundla and Skipper Mogapie


Iranti brought together 24 activists from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe to learn about using media as a human rights advocacy tool and for social change. Many of the activists were media makers or agents in their own countries and organizations. Gathering in Johannesburg afforded them an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which issues around sexuality and gender diversity can be advocated through media.


Betesta Segale, a transman from Botswana and a member of an organization called Rainbow Identity Association (RIA), was one of the participants. This is what he had to say about the training:

This training enlightened me on documentary practice and human rights documenting, understanding issues around security and making use of technologies for advocacy. At the end, it was possible to imagine us as media makers in action. The training afforded us to interact as activists from different parts of Southern Africa and share our experiences and expertise on human rights documentation from our areas.


I now have more understanding and improved skills on technical issues around media; photography; video; and audio. This would enable me to maintain and manage our organisation’s blog so as to better share information, contribute in advocacy work in Botswana, and also to strengthen LGBTI solidarity within Southern Africa.


Mosa Mahlangu from TIA (Transgender and Intersex Africa) in Pretoria had a personal and moving experience of the training workshop. This is his story:
All my life I felt so ashamed and it was very hard for me to come out as a transman. But after the interview I witnessed on SABC Kids News when I was on a tour with Iranti and LGBTI Crew, then I realised than that’s where I belong.


TP, Betesta Segale and Lesego at SABC Kids News. Photo by Gugu Mandla

TP, Betesta Segale and Lesego at SABC Kids News. Photo by Ayanda Msiza


VIDEO “Mosa interviews TP and Betesta”

This was an interview between LGBT activists and transmen from Botswana and Lesotho. They were representing LGBTI people at the SABC Studio by opening up about their identity and how proud they are. Right there I decided to have my own introspection. I realized that I am like them and I felt a connection that drew us closer as family.

Being a transman is not a curse. These guys told me to walk tall, lift my head high and not be ashamed of who I am. After interviewing them, I realised that nothing is impossible in life, thanks to Iranti for making things possible and making a difference… I am a proud man.

Josie Mavundla also from TIA (Transgender and Intersex Africa) was thrilled to have been part of a TV set at the SABC tour. Her excitement is captured in her words:

I could sense the excitement from some of the activist in the group, even though others felt exhausted. Like many, I was looking forward to the SABC tour. The tour guide took us on a news set where he told us how news is prepared and produced on a daily basis. What surprised many others and myself was how what we see at home is a fake reality of some sets in the studio.

I stood there in awe, asking questions about some media related basics and the TV set in particular. In the picture I am a visibly curious and asking question.

Josie Mavundla (left with hand up) at the SABC news studio. Photo by Gugu Mandla

Josie Mavundla (left with hand up) at the SABC news studio. Photo by Ayanda Msiza

We all felt good and the mood was overwhelming. You could sense the spirit of activism and how this media tour influenced it.

It was not only media talk that pre-occupied the activists. Emotions flared, particularly on Valentine’s Day. Skipper Mogapi from Rainbow Identity Association in Botswana was touched by the expressions of love. As a love skeptic, his ideas of love were challenged by some of the LGBTI people who openly declared love to each other. This is what he had to say:

I have always wondered if ‘true love’ really exists. As many celebrate Valentine’s Day LGBTI and Queer persons gathered from seven Southern African countries for media training. Some of the participants laid bare their love to loved ones as a way of demonstrating ‘true love’. Lovers expressed their love through love songs, flowers and gifts before our morning session began. Cindy, a lesbian woman from Limpopo declared her love for Nkele by showering her with a bouquet of red flowers. She told Nkele, her lover of six years, how much she loved her and was still in love with her despite the challenges of their activist work.

There may be a strong belief that LGBTI Queer persons are not concerned with matters of love, or that sex, drugs and alcohol take precedence over love. This is not the case. There are meaningful relationships being formed. The Iranti participants this week proved that indeed there is true love within LGBTI and Queer relations.


A Peculiar Group

Johannesburg, 17 February 2014

by Slater Talks

I am a 35 year old journalist from Uganda who lives in a black and white world - these are the only colours I see.


Recently I started working at SABC in Johannesburg and on one particular day as I was walking through the halls of the hugely built infrastructure of the broadcasting studios I overheard a very interesting conversation between three people. This conversation would bring more colour to my world...


This group of people was talking about corrective rape, police brutality and murder of a certain community. They were lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists and they talked about how far they had come; the trials and tribulations they have faced; and the journey that lay ahead of them.

Tumi Mkhuma from Iranti with Cindy Molefe from LLPO at SABC. Photo courtesy of Iranti

Click image to enlarge: Tumi Mkhuma from Iranti with Cindy Molefe from LLPO at SABC. Photo courtesy of Iranti


Their conversation intrigued me. I was curious and decided to talk to a few of the people who were part of the conversation visiting the studio. They were in the studio conducting a media training workshop. Their concern was to make their voices heard about the issues they face.

Since that day, my world has been coloured with different shades. Such conversations have forced me to come out of my comfort zones and see the vast colours that South Africa’s rainbow is really made up of.



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


Dalziel Leone Story

Yearning To Be Freely Me

By Dalziel Leone


Kenya, 27 May 2016

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.


March 2016 Workshop

African Queer Media Makers release PSAs!


South Africa

From 19-24 March 2016 Iranti 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. Over one week, the participants scripted and produced 1 trans-focused short film titled "Transitioning with My Bible" as well as 6 PSAs on different issues affecting the LGBTI movement in Africa.

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.


PROFILE • dalziel leone

Legally a Partial Alien

By Dalziel Leone

Dalziel Leone

I keep going


Kenya, 4 May 2016

Have you ever woken up one day and decided, "This name doesn't feel right; I am gonna change it"? I guess I'll get more no's than yesses.

For most people their name matches who they are. They feel comfortable with the name they were given at birth. But for trans people, the case is often, if not always, different. Most of us choose to change our names to represent who we truly are. We are on edge with the names we were given.
As I sit here today, I go down memory lane, back to the moment that I changed my name. Life was pretty challenging before I changed it. I was disheartened and beleaguered most of the time. I wouldn't present my ID in public and I would shun all places that necessitated my national identification card. A couple of times I was accused of impersonation when I presented my ID card. It was clear that the name on my ID card did not match the person who was presenting it. Typically, we are given names according to our assigned gender at birth.

On most occasions, when I presented my ID card, the reaction would be more or less the same. It would vary from, "Why are you using your sister's document?" to "Are you really a girl? You don't look like one!" Subsequently, I would go into an endless loop of vindicating who I am and why my documents don't match who I am. Some would empathise and grant me the service I was seeking; others would chuckle and give me the cold shoulder, claiming I should seek psychiatric help.  Others would be curious and want to know more. Such scenarios act as a window to educate people about the variations of gender identity beyond the binaries.

I had just been enrolled for my bachelor's degree. My first semester was hell on earth. Throughout my life, I never looked like a typical female. So having a 'female name' was a big challenge. I did as little as possible at school. I was invisible. I avoided joining clubs or doing any extracurricular activities. I pushed people away, especially those who tried to get close to me. I only showed up for classes and would immediately get out of school right after that. I did not want anyone to know my 'official names'. During roll calls or when the lecturer would return CAT papers (of which the routine was to call out names loudly and one by one we would stand and go pick up our papers) I would just sit and wait for the lecturer to get done, place the remaining papers at the table and leave. Then I would go up and look for my paper. Occasionally the lecturer would point at me and ask what my name was. I would say Chayton (my preferred name).

"I have never come across that name in my register. Are you sure you are a registered student here?" he would ask.

Such instances would bring a lot of emotions to the surface. For most of my life, all I wanted was to vanish from the face of earth. I wasn’t recognised. I was an alien.

During this period, I had already met a number of other trans people. I couldn't live with my given name anymore. It had to go! I knew who to approach to help me with my name change.

I still recall sitting on a hard wooden chair in a restaurant explaining to her how I really wanted a name a change as soon as possible. Audrey, from Transgender Education and Advocacy, knowing the struggle I was going through at school, didn't have qualms about helping me go through the process. She explained to me what I would need and the procedure I would take. The organisation would pay for the legal fees and other costs incurred. The following week, I met with her again to sign my affidavit. The next couple of days I spent looking for the documents needed, such as the letter from the chief, an ID printout and so forth.

On 19 April that year I finally got my name change. Yes! My preferred name was official. I couldn't contain the elation I felt. It can't be put into words. I was finally set free! I was like a bird in a cage being freed for the first time; like a prisoner gaining his magical freedom after being sentenced for an indefinite period of time! I shared the news with my friends. I celebrated. Finally I was free to be me!

The following day, I immediately rushed to school to change my documents. The academics registrar was very understanding and granted me my request. I got a new student's ID card after a week. I felt brand-new, as if I had just been born again. Wherever I went, folks pointed out the joy in my eyes, my aliveness. And yes, I was ultimately alive. I had felt dead for years, being imprisoned with a name that had put me in a cage.

However, the struggle didn’t end there. Despite being able to change my name legally, the government hasn’t implemented it everywhere. I haven’t been able to effect the change on my ID card. After several visits to their offices, still they claim they can’t change it on the ID card because it doesn’t make any sense to them, mainly because there are no laws stating how to go about such a change. It makes absolutely no sense for the same government to allow you to change your name legally, give you a new passport and deny you an identity card.

This makes navigating through issues even more difficult. Having names that don’t match on my documents poses a huge challenge. Getting employed in the corporate world, let alone NGOs, is not easy, since they ask for an ID card. Very few of them will consider your passport. It’s also impossible to invest anywhere… you can’t buy property, you can’t get medical or life cover – because your names don’t match. Most of the time, it feels as if you are a stranger in your own country. You don’t belong. What other people enjoy freely and get with so much ease is denied to you, and you have to fight so hard to get what should be freely yours.

For most people, their ID card is just another document. I hold my passport close to my heart. When I look at it, I feel a sense of accomplishment; I feel alive. It shows that I exist, despite being legally a partial alien


March 2016 workshop

Media Making Workshop Inspires Activists!


South Africa, 31 March 2016

From 19-24 March 2016 Iranti 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.
The Africa Queer Media Makers Training programme, Birchwood Hotel, Benoni. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
The Africa Queer Media Makers Training programme, Birchwood Hotel, Benoni. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza


The workshop kick-started with a session on how to connect our stories to our advocacy, and how to use media as an advocacy tool. “Advocacy is standing up and refusing to be silenced”, commented Madam Jholerina Timbo, Director of Wings to Transcend, based in Namibia, “writing and storytelling are a powerful form of that.”


Facilitators Makgano Mamabolo, Magathrie Pillay and Jabu Pereira took the participants through an engaging panel discussion on public media and disclosure. This was followed by a session with therapist Casey Blake looking at how to deal with trauma related to re-telling your story, listening to the stories of others, and coming out on different platforms.


A phenomenal achievement Iranti is incredibly proud of!
AQMMN Panel discussion on public media and disclosure. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Panel discussion on public media and disclosure. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza


Participants strengthened an array of skills through writing, directing and producing their own short film. They also produced and edited their own PSAs, all within the space of a challenging, fast-paced and rewarding week.
Frank Lileza looking excited during the camera production with the flip cams. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Frank Lileza looking excited during the camera production with the flip cams. Photo by: Gugu Mandla

Joshua Sehoole, Iranti’s regional programmes manager, with AQMMN participants, Waleed- SWEAT, Mimz-TTI, and Whitney-Protea psychosocial support for Trans*persons. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Joshua Sehoole, Iranti’s regional programmes manager, with AQMMN participants, Waleed- SWEAT, Mimz-TTI, and Whitney-Protea psychosocial support for Trans*persons. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

AQMMN Participants preparing their PSAs. Photo by: Jabu Pereira
Participants preparing their PSAs. Photo by: Jabu Pereira



Charting my own path

Written by Dalziel Leone

Lani - a profile by Leone Wafula, African Queer Media Makers Network (AQMMN)

“It’s my road to walk, my path to define”


Kenya, 29 March 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.

Lani is a businessman. He runs small businesses to earn his living.
“I started being involved in business from a young age. It wasn’t my ideal career, but I had limited options,” he adds.

Lani happens to be a transman, living in one of the very conventional countries. Despite Kenya being progressive and developed compared to most African countries, trans people face challenges in all magnitudes as they try to live like the rest of the population.

Lani was born in the 70s. Information was limited in this era as technology had not yet advanced to the level it is right now. He knew he was different early in his childhood. Having parents who were conservative, and being a first-born child, he was required to conform to the norms and traditions imposed on him. As a child, it was easier to get away with things, but puberty was a wake-up call. He struggled to come to terms with his identity for a long time.

“I had no idea what was happening to me. I didn’t like the way my body was developing. I knew I was a man, but my body didn’t reflect that. So for years I was in deep confusion as I had no information,” he recalls thoughtfully.
It was not until his thirties that Lani learned about the term ‘transgender’. He read books about it and educated himself more. Normally, in an African culture, at the age of thirty, you are expected to have settled down with kids, or be looking to commit yourself.

“My family, relatives and friends always wondered why I wasn’t married yet. After a couple of years, my younger siblings had settled down with kids, and I was still there. It wasn’t easy either to watch all the friends you’ve grown up with creating families,” he says sadly.

For years, he felt left out and out of place. Friends became distant after marriage. Within himself he knew that having a family of his own was just a dream. He understood his situation, despite the world not getting it.

Despite going to college for a different course, Lani chose to venture into business. Being employed did not sit well with him, mainly because of his identity. He did not want to be answerable to anyone either; he wanted to work according to his own time. Being self-employed also gave him a great environment to focus less on his identity and to live freely. Employment by either a company or an organisation involves disclosing your identity: your name, gender, educational background and so on. As a trans person, this can be pretty challenging as it brings out the part that you don’t want the world to know about. Transitioning legally, that is, changing your name and gender in your documents, takes time. Lani wanted to avoid all these.

Still, that does not solve all his issues. He still needs to access other services such as health services, banking services and so forth. Accessing specifically trans health services has been a challenge as few doctors are educated on trans issues. In order to access these, Lani has often had to take the doctor through what it means to be transgender.

“It takes a lot of time before you find a doctor who will understand and agree to offer you the service. Others will say no after hearing the explanation,” Lani laments.

Additionally, the sources of support are often limited. Inasmuch as family is who we turn to when we need a shoulder to lean on, it is quite different when you are a trans person. Lani doesn’t have family support. He has learned to find support from friends and allies and those he meets in organisations and at meetings. He is a member of a transgender organisation that offers support and services for people like him.

Lani wants to see a difference for younger trans people. He encourages them to seek support and transition as soon as they can to better their future chances. He encourages them to make use of the information that is at their disposal.

“I dream of a world where information is easily available for all trans people,” he says.



Africa Queer Media Makers Network training programme applications 2016


Application deadline: Friday 22 January 2016

Please download the following documents and complete the forms.

Kindly send an email with the subject “AQMMN Application” to and copy


newsletter launch

Launch of Gayzette


Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, October 2014

This is the first edition of the newsletter of the Gay & Lesbian Network (GLN) and there will be more to come, says Anthony Waldhausen, director. GLN has been in operation for 11 years in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Download Volume 1 Issue 1


Beauty Pageant

Presenting Miss and Mr Rainbow Identity Association


2014 Mr and Miss Rainbow Identity Association (RIA)


by Skipper Mogapi
2 September 2014, Botswana


Saturday, 30 August 2014 marked another significant day for Rainbow Identity Association as they organized their second beauty pageant. The aim of the beauty pageant is to raise awareness within the general community about LGBTI issues and also to bring together the LGBTI community.


Rainbow Identity Association remains the only solely transgender and intersex organization in Botswana which was legally registered in 2010 by the Registrar of Societies. The organizational programmes include advocacy, research, and sports and recreation.


“The organization realized the need to showcase talent in among transgender and intersex, as many are not privileged to participate in the beauty pageant such as Miss Botswana as they do not conform to the societal norm. We, as the organization, felt that we should bring our girls together and show their bodies and be proud of who they are,” said the organizer, Mpho Tekanyo.


For one to participate in the beauty pageant one has to be a member of the organization, and within the organization there are various groups such as trans women, trans men, gender non-conforming, intersex and an alliance group. For one to qualify for the beauty pageant one had to fall within one of these groups. The reasons for this is that the person must be able to show the issues they face, as they will now be an ambassador of the organization.
This year eight participants entered for the Miss title, and six entered Mr title. The battle was tough as all came well prepared. They firstly came on stage in school uniform, to express how they would have loved to have been recognised during their school days. The second set of attire was the swag, which illustrated how the participants dress and express themselves on a daily basis. The last set of attire was evening wear.


The event was sponsored by Oasis Motel, Ratanang Mosweu, and Olivia Ntlame Mash. About 100 people turned up for the event from as far as Francistown, Lobatse, and Molepolole to come and support their friends and family members. Organizations such as BONEPWA, LeGaBiBo, UB LeGaBi, and HER came to show solidarity.


Those who made it to the top three for Miss RIA 2014 were Kessy, Nelly, and Kabo and for Mr RIA 2014 were Dee, Tro, and Sputla.


“I was expecting to be in the top three, but as for taking the title, I was not thinking it was possible because the competition was tough. When I heard the announcer announce position three I was nervous, honestly I was shocked when I heard Tro is position two, which meant I am Mr RIA 2014,” said Sputla with a great smile.



21 year old, male student, imprisoned for six years with hard labour for sodomising 14 year old boy


by Ishmael Makhuludzo

Malawi, 12 June 2014


On 2nd June, 2013 a 21 year old man, a secondary school male student, was sentenced to six years in prison with hard labour for sodomizing a 14 year old fellow student from the same school. The victim was in a senior class at the school. On the day of the crime, the convicted student is alleged to have dragged the minor to the school grounds, after the evening time study period, where he forcefully sodomized the minor. He is alleged to have used a condom in the act and threatened to beat the young boy if he said anything. He pleaded guilty to the charges.


On the day in question, the senior student invited younger student to his hostel in the morning for a chart because the two were lovers. They were in a sexual relationship for close to six months. Rumours have it that, the older student was always suspected of being gay, and has always faced continued stigma from other fellow students at the school.


When these two became close friends, other students became more suspicious about their friendship, and had often teased them in school.


One Sunday morning the two met, and spent the rest of the day together, because it was not a busy school day. Later in the evening, they disappeared towards the school grounds and had oral sex as usual. They stayed there until 8:00pm. When other students returned from the evening study, the two lovers also resurfaced. They bade each other good night and separated.


When the junior student went to his hostel to sleep, he was quizzed on his whereabouts by other roommates. Some claimed to have seen him disappear towards the school grounds with the popular gay student. He was pressured to disclose their private meeting, and he admitted to have had gay sex at the school grounds with the senior student.


Chaos broke out and all students ganged up and went to drag the senior student out of bed. They beat him up, before handing him over to the school authorities who immediately took him and reported the matter to the police. The minor student was perceived to have been raped against his will. He was reported to be 14 years old.


The boy was later taken to hospital for examination, and the medical report proved clear evidence of anal penetration. The senior student pleaded guilty to sodomy charges with a minor and was sentenced to six years in prison with hard labour.


Recently, an officer from CEDEP visited the convicted man at Rumphi prison. The prisoner claims to have been in a sexual relationship with the minor for six months, and says that he never had sex with the minor on the said day. He said they had consensual anal sex several times in the past, but not on the day in question. He said he admitted to the charges because he was severely tortured while under police custody, and the police officer who arrested him advised him to quickly admit to the charges in order to receive a minimum sentence. He was also severely beaten up by other students from his school prior to his arrest.


Efforts to meet with the minor student were fruitful. The minor acknowledges to have been in a sexual relationship with the convicted man. Surprisingly, the junior student disclosed to the author that he is 19 years old.


In an interview with the police officer who arrested the victim, he said he was also advised by his supervisor to rush the case because they feared interference from human rights organisations while the suspect was still in their custody.


The minor student was, however, perceived to be a victim in this case. No psychological counseling was offered to the boy. He is still attending the same school.

via Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP)


“If we do not document our stories – who will”


Johannesburg, 17 February 2014

by authors: Cindy Molefe & Nkele Aphane of Limpopo LGBTI Proudly Out, South Africa Mpume Ncongwane & Xolile Mabuza of The Rock of Hope, Swaziland


“If we do not document our stories, who will?” This question was posed by the renowned South African LGBTI activist and filmmaker, Bev Ditsie, in a media advocacy workshop in Johannesburg. This was a provocation that made us ponder what legacy we want to live behind for the next LGBTI generation? And how?

Click image to enlarge: Bev Ditsie talking to LGBTI activist and Media Maker during Iranti workshop. Photo by Ayanda Msiza

Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people continue to experience various forms of prejudice and discrimination in Africa and throughout the world despite social, legal and political advances that have been launched in an attempt to grant LGBTI people basic human rights. These forms of oppression have served their purpose for many years by keeping LGBTI people in the closet, invisible. The culture of silence in many African countries has also made people turn a blind eye on the issues that LGBTI face every day. Some African states even deny the existence of LGBTI people – claiming that such experiences are not part of their countries. At the same time, there has been a wave of media outbursts that show LGBT people, only to humiliate and harm them.


While mainstream media is harsh to LGBTI people, there are various ways in which media can be used to promote social change. This was the message during the Iranti- org media advocacy training workshop in Johannesburg on 10-14 February, 2014. The workshop created a great platform for the LGBTI community in the SADC region to learn about using media as an advocacy tool. It also ensured that people’s stories are fairly represented and that information is safely maintained.


Mpume Ncongwane and Lesego Thlwale making news at SABC. Photo by Gugu Mandla

Click image to enlarge: Mpume Ncongwane and Lesego Thlwale making news at SABC. Photo by Ayanda Msiza


Interventions such as the media advocacy training are necessary to challenge the many stereotypes and prejudices existing in our societies. The challenge when dealing with media is how to balance the ‘safety of the closet’, which has its own problems and the increased stress of hiding and ‘being found out’. Hiding means that ordinary daily interactions become minefields, it requires constant vigilance to avoid mentioning partners, same sex interactions, dating experiences as well as other activities. Being found out on the other hand requires constant maneouvering and negotiating your own space in a world that may be harsh.

VIDEO “Mr O interviews Mpume Ncongwane


Specific forms of utilising media can work in advocating for the rights of those who are marginalised or feel trapped between the closet and the harsh outside world. LGBTI people themselves have to take the challenge and responsibility of documenting their own stories so as to challenge the myths and stereotypes about our lives as well as educate the public about who we are. By making our own documentaries, capturing our own sounds and voices and taking our own images – we would go a long way in telling our own strories the way they matter to us.



Men for Health and Gender Justice secure a seat on the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM)


by Skipper Mogapi
Botswana, 10 June 2014


On April 23 2014, twelve organizations representing the ethics, law, HIV and key affected population sector gathered for two days at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) to elect representatives to serve on the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM).


The role of civil society organizations is important on the CCM, helping to set the country’s priorities alongside a wide array of other stakeholders. Ensuring meaningful participation from all sectors has been an on-going challenge. Legal registration is one of the requirements but organisations such as Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana and Sisonke, a sex workers' organization, have repeatedly tried and failed to secure registration.


Representative of the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law, HIV and AIDS (BONELA) Cindy Kelemi said, “Even though the CCM was not inclusive of key affected populations like sex workers, LGBTI and MSM, BONELA has continued to make sure that their voices are heard...” While BONELA has never shied away from speaking to these issues, it is not the same as having a seat at the table. After much deliberation, Men for Health and Gender Justice have been accepted as a member. Established and registered in 2012, it mobilizes men and boys on issues of health, gender equality and the prevention of gender-based violence.


Junior Molefe said, “It will be privilege for my organization to sit on the CCM as this gives greater visibility to men’s health and gender justice as a whole.” Men for Health and Gender Justice will not only table its own issues only but "we will also ensure the voices of LGBTI, MSM, WSW and Sex Workers are on the agenda," Molefe emphasized.



February 2014, Johannesburg

The African LGBTIQ Media Makers Network workshop 2014

Click on the image to go through to the web gallery about the February 2014 workshop of the Iranti African LGBTIQ Media Makers Network (AQMMN) in Johannesburg.







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