The second segment of the 14th Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival was launched in Johannesburg last night.

This year’s event was split into two smaller festivals, the first in March and the second now in November, as a transition to a new annual date in 2008.

Around 300 invited guests attended the function at Kilarney Mall, where they were treated to four local queer short films which were produced by Out In Africa. This was followed by a screening of the coming out documentary, Anyone and Everyone.

The festival was opened by guest speaker the Honourable Kate O’Regan, Justice of the Constitutional Court. She listed previous groundbreaking rulings of the Court which affirmed the rights of gays and lesbians, but asked, “what about people like Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Massoa?”

Referring to the two lesbians murdered in July this year, and other victims of hate crimes, she noted that there is discrepancy between the country’s progressive laws and the realities of many people’s lives. “The challenge is to make our constitution’s aim and vision a reality,” she said.

The Cape Town leg of the festival will be kicked off on Thursday 8 November by guest speaker Ms. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, the former Deputy Minister of Health who was fired by President Mbeki under controversial circumstances.

The festival will be presenting 29 films (including short films and TV series) from countries including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain, UK and USA.

Out In Africa runs in Joburg from Friday 2 to Sunday 11 November at Nu Metro Killarney Mall and in Cape Town from Friday 9 to Sunday 18 November at Nu Metro V&A Waterfront. Visit www.oia.co.za for detailed schedules and film line-up.

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