The recent launch of a new LGBT group in Namibia has led to accusations of racial exclusion on the part of organisers.
In a letter published in The Namibian newspaper on Friday, Pancho Mulongeni criticises the organisers of last month’s event launching the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Network of Namibia.
He notes that guests had to pay N$450 dollars to enjoy a dolphin cruise on a boat that brandished the rainbow flag.
“Such decadence, however, was out of place in the launch of a campaign of ‘equality for all Namibian citizens’, given that at least 40% of Namibians struggle to feed themselves,” said Mulongeni.
“Racially, it was also strange to see only white people in the photos of the party, because our LGBT community is as multicoloured as the LGBT flag.
“I therefore appeal to the LGBT Network of Namibia to launch the organisation for the remainder of the Namibian LGBT people who could not afford that Walvis Bay Party of April 24.”
He goes on to say: “Given their campaign for equality, I am confident that the LGBT network did not intent to be exclusive, but how many marginalised, poor, LGBT people did they expect to attend this event?”
Mulongeni, nevertheless “commends the LGBT Network of Namibia for attempting to open up opportunities for the minority of same-sex loving people in Namibia.”
In response, Chris De Villiers, who attended the launch justified the event’s fee in a letter by noting that LGBT Network Namibia is a non profit group and that “in order to organise a world-class event, it costs money.”
De Villiers also refutes claims that the event was racially exclusive, insisting that the event “was attended by members of various ethnicities” and that it should not be judged by the photos published in the media.
“Pancho Mulongeni raises some valid points, however, to marginalise an event which he did not attend, to the extent where he plays it off with the race card is completely ridiculous” says De Villiers.
Sodomy in general is illegal in Namibia but this has rarely been enforced to persecute LGBT people.