The Gay Flag of South Africa, and the non profit organisation (NPO) behind it, celebrated their third birthday this week.
The flag, an adaptation of Gilbert Baker’s international gay rainbow flag and the South African national flag, was launched in December 2010 at the annual MCQP costume party in Cape Town.
Countries such as Canada, Israel, Brazil, England, USA and Turkey all have their own versions of the gay flag.
“Their purpose is to celebrate what is local and unique. After all, local is lekker,” explained Eugene Brockman, Gay Flag of SA designer and chair.
The NPO has used the flag, which has become a common sight at Pride events around the country, to front a number of LGBT rights campaigns over the past three years.
Notable achievements were the 2012 national protests against calls by Phathekile Holomisa, from the Council of Traditional Leaders of South Africa, to remove sexual orientation protection from the Constitution.
The organisation also assisted the corrective rape group Luleki Sizwe in talks in Parliament to set up a national task team on homophobic violence. In May, the SA Gay Flag launched a petition, with Funeka Soldaat and Laurie Gaum, critiquing the task team on its lack of action.
In addition, the Gay Flag of SA mounted two bus tours of the country to highlight homophobia and traditionalist threats to the Constitution.
“All of this has been done with the passion, internet time and commitment of a handful of people who were supported by key people within SA’s LGBTI community… and for that we are grateful,” said Brockman.
On Thursday, the NPO announced that Pamela Dhlamini had joined the organisation as a new director. She is a student and acting chairperson of Rainbow UCT, the University of Cape Town’s LGBT campus organisation.
“I can’t wait for our ideas to shape the next three years for the organisation and our community,” Dhlamini commented.
Playing on John F. Kennedy’s famous statement, Brockman added: “Ask not what the Gay Flag of SA can do for you, but what you can do with the Gay Flag of SA. The Gay Flag of SA’s true potential lies in you, in us as a community.”