The much loved comedian and entertainer Soli Philander was the guest speaker at the opening night of the 20th Out In Africa (OIA) Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in Cape Town on Thursday last week.
Instead of the usual speech, he engaged the crowd with a remarkable spoken poem, titled Us, about the state of LGBT equality in South Africa.
“Be grateful I’m not a lesbian, otherwise I’m clear, that standing up here, all my talk would be the fear, that your sexuality could cost you dear.
“By cost you dear I mean cost you your life, You are aware so called corrective rape is rife, Murder etched on gun and bludgeon and knife, though the Constitution speaks of wife and wife,” said Philander.
Addressing the issue of the disparities between gays and lesbians from different social and economic strata, he went on to say:
“If you are fortunate enough to swim further upstream, it’s possible to be reaching for the South African dream, Whilst elsewhere milk is wanted, you’re having cream, in the knowledge that things are not what they seem…”
Philander has been a long-time supporter of the LGBT community and was one of the hosts of the 2012 Mr. Gay World Grand Finale in Johannesburg.
That same year he took part in a demonstration in Cape Town demanding that traditional leaders keep their hands off the Constitution’s sexual orientation protection.
The 20th OIA Gay & Lesbian Film Festival is now on in Johannesburg, at Nu Metro Hyde Park, and in Cape Town, at both Nu Metro and Cinema Nouveau V&A Waterfront, until the 27th of October. More details can be found here.
The Johannesburg leg of the festival was opened by Justice Edwin Cameron.
Watch Philander perform Us below.