Mbuyiselo Botha and
Justice Edwin Cameron

Guarding our constitutional freedoms was the theme of the launch of the third and final edition of the 2011 Out In Africa (OIA) Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in Johannesburg on Wednesday night.

The event was opened by guest speaker Mbuyiselo Botha, the Sonke Gender Justice Network Media and Government Liaison officer, at the Nu Metro Hyde Park cinema.

Botha addressed around 250 guests, which included Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron. He slammed President Jacob Zuma for recently appointing the controversial Mogoeng Mogoeng as Chief Justice of South Africa.

He said that the appointment of Mogoeng, whom he described as openly homophobic, was an insult to the people who had died in the struggle to liberate South Africa.

“This is a man who believes that homosexuality is a disease that can be cured by praying,” said Botha. “If we undermine the Constitution, we spit on the graves of those who died for our freedoms.”

Botha added: “South Africans should be prepared to lay down their lives for this freedom. We will not keep quiet.”

The guests were treated to a screening of the film Howl, starring James Franco as gay American poet Allan Ginsberg, which deals with the theme of freedom of speech.

The Cape Town leg of the festival will be opened on Thursday night by Lindiwe Mazibuko, MP and DA Shadow Minister for Rural Development and Land Reform.

The OIA Lesbian and Gay Film Festival runs from 21 to 30 October simultaneously at Nu Metro Hyde Park in Johannesburg and Nu Metro V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

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