FREEDOM PARK • PRETORIA • SOUTH AFRICA • 26 – 29 NOVEMBER 2017
Everyone should be free to live a safe and dignified life, have a family and make their contribution to society – no matter who they are or who they love. The purpose of this kopano was to find ways to speed up change to make this a lived reality for LGBTI people in southern Africa.
kopano – Accelerating Change, a gathering of groups that are working to advance equality, social inclusion, and wellbeing of homosexual and bisexual women and men, and transgender and intersex people in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, was convened to address this need. We would like to thank the co-convenors Iranti-Org, LambdaMoz, Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), Namibia Diverse Women’s Association (NDWA), Pan Africa ILGA (PAI), and Gender DynamiX, for their incredible support.
With such an incredible team of individuals, groups and organizations behind kopano to ensure its success, it is no surprise that we received positive feedback from the more than 200 activists from 12 African countries.
‘I learnt a lot of skills on participatory community partnerships and strategic spaces.’
‘Great job, accommodated people even from rural areas.’
‘Working groups allowed for expression and sharing of ideas and working ways.’
‘Balanced and varied as well as stimulating conversations coming out of it.’
In keeping with the innovative formatting of the inaugural kopano in 2015, Accelerating Change was also documented in video so as to be able to share the experience far beyond the immediate participants in the kopano. After watching this opening video, click on the links below to watch recordings of the key plenary sessions and outcomes over the four day convening.
Our context: What changes have been happening for and against LGBTI people in southern Africa?
Framing the nature – both negative and positive – of changes in the social, political, economic, cultural, legal and civic context for LGBTI people in southern Africa.
Moderator: Bongani Bingwa – Journalist.
Panelists: Ricki Kgositau – Gender DynamiX; Linda Baumann – NDWA; Danilo da Silva – LambdaMoz.
An exploration of how the LGBTI movement is driving, hindering, or indifferent to changes in our environment, with a focus on strategies and actions that amplify or mitigate these changes.
Moderator: Melanie Judge – Queer and feminist activist.
Panelists: Chesterfield Samba – GALZ; Nonhlanhla Mkhize – Gay Centre.
What is informing public narratives about LGBTI people and activism in the region, and what implications do these narratives have for our activism?
Moderator: Bongani Sibeko – Independent activist.
Panelists: Ragies Gunda – Independent consultant; Zini Godden – Interim Chair, PLUS the LGBTI+ Business Network; Bourne Kanyumwa – Malawi Police Service.
Dialogue to explore African perspectives and narratives that could be used to integrate LGBTI freedom and equality within the broader African social and economic justice struggles.
Moderator: Bella Matambanadzo – Co-chair of the Other Foundation.
Panelists: Pansy Tlakula – former Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights; Lenny Lebon – former MP, Seychelles National Assembly; Deyonce Naris – Trans, Intersex and Androgynous Movemenet of Namibia (TIAMON); Caine Youngman – LEGABIBO.
Vote of thanks: Gary Rhoda – Human Rights Officer, Commonwealth Secretariat.
An assessment of the public messaging that LGBTI activists in the region use to engage the public, to evaluate whether those messages adequately engage the prevailing public narratives about, and social attitudes towards, LGBTI people.
Moderator: Dawn Cavanagh – Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL).
Respondent: Martha Tholanah – Independent consultant.
Framing of the main types of actions and partnerships needed to make social, political, economic, and cultural change in favour of LGBTI happen faster and in a lasting way.
Moderator: Ian Southey-Swartz – Open Society Foundations.
Panelists: Paula Sebastiâo – Independent activist; Diana Katu – Pakasipiti; Mclean Kabwe – The Lotus Identity.
Video summary of outcomes from working group discussions.
Envisioning change for LGBTI people in the next three years: What may we be able to achieve and what do we need to do to get there in terms of actions and messaging?
Moderator: Anzio Jacobs – SCOPE.
Panelists: Jabu Pereira – Iranti- Org; Tiffany Mugo – Holaafrica; Carina Capitine – LambdaMoz.
Video presentation of what discussants found unique about our kopano, with a closing message from co-chair of the Other Foundation’s board of trustees, Xhanti Payi.
Graphic harvest of all the plenary sessions at kopano – Accelerating Change (click to enlarge)
kopano – ACCELERATING CHANGE – an LGBTI strategy space where people, places, and ideas meet to help make freedom a reality for all in southern Africa
SOWETO • SOUTH AFRICA • 28 – 30 SEPTEMBER 2015
Everyone should be free to live a safe and dignified life, have a family and make their contribution to society – no matter who they are or who they love. We need to figure out what is working and what does not, to make this a lived reality in southern Africa. That was the purpose for convening this kopano.
Our inaugural kopano Freedom for All provided a unique and empowering strategy space for groups that are working to advance and protect the human rights, social inclusion, and wellbeing of homosexual and bisexual women and men, as well as transgender and intersex people in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Remarkably positive feedback has been received from many of the over 100 activists from 11 African countries, who engaged in facilitated strategy discussions geared towards shifting the paradigm of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex [LGBTI] activism from individual sexual rights to transformative social change.
“What an amazing conference! So much motivation for us as African social movements.” Alain Redcliffe, OUT!ology Network
“It was a delightful experience.” Melusi Simelani, Swaziland
“I am truly grateful to the Other Foundation for being part of this amazing conference.” Ricky Nathanson, Zimbabwe
Breaking away from dreary conference formats, the kopano was purposefully designed as a community gathering, to facilitate as much soul-searching, interaction and discussion between participants as possible. It was defined by collaborative organizing, enough time for remembering those who have gone before us, and great moments for celebration of new milestones that have been reached. 1 in 4 participants was actively engaged in the running of the kopano – by being a co-facilitator, volunteer, or intern. There was emphasis on self-empowerment and community building through working with activists from the media, faith groups, organizations focused on human rights defense from a legal perspective, health and wellbeing organizations, and social justice movements. In addition, high profile panelists and moderators in plenary sessions helped to unpack the possibilities of alliance building with non-LGBTI groups and challenge participants to re-invent their approaches.
Our kopano was also innovatively documented in video by a cohort of media interns working with more experienced media professionals, so as to be able to share the experience far beyond the immediate participants in the kopano. In the interest of those who couldn’t attend our kopano (and for those who wish to relive some moments), we have uploaded footage of the plenary sessions, which can be viewed on our kopano-dedicated YouTube channel. Click on the links below to watch recordings of the key plenary sessions.
Gains made from across the region over the last 12 to 18 months are interrogated for lessons to strengthen our work.
Moderator: Eusebius McKaiser – Social Commentator.
Panelists: Danilo Da Silva – LAMBDA; Fadzai Muparutsa – Coalition of African Lesbians; Ricky Nathanson – Southern Africa Regional Trans Forum; Monica Tabengwa – Activist; Steve Letsike – National Task Team, South Africa, Access Chapter 2.
Presentation: Carla Sutherland – The Other Foundation
Speakers: Miguel De Brito – Trustee; Neville Gabriel – The Other Foundation.
Exploring what it will take to build strong alliances with related sectors.
Moderator: Alice Mogwe – Trustee.
Panelists: Malusi Mpumlwana – South African Council of Churches; Edwin Cameron – Constitutional Court of South Africa; Karima Brown – Independent Media; Lindiwe Zikhali – Anglo American.
Short inputs on new and innovative work happening in the region.
Moderator: Ian Southey-Swartz – Open Society Foundations.
Panelists: Faraaz Mohamed – South African Human Rights Commission; Mukami Marate – UHAI, The East Africa Sexual Health and Rights Initiative; Swelakhe Shelembe – KwaZulu Natal Christian Council; Finn Reygan – Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action; Jabu Pereira – Iranti.
What is needed to achieve sustainable social change, from human resources to strategy and everything in-between?
Given limited resources and trying environments, which areas of focus have been proven best at effecting change ?
Many hands make light work – are you aware of these opportunities?
kopano FREEDOM FOR ALL – an LGBTI strategy space where people, places, and ideas meet to help make freedom a reality for all in southern Africa.