African gay rights cyclist completes daunting journey


Nate Freeman in Ethiopia

American lawyer Nate Freeman, who cycled 12,000km from Cairo to Cape Town to promote LGBTI equality in Africa, has donated R45,000 to the Gay and Lesbian Network in Pietermaritzburg.

Freeman’s Out in Africa Ride, which is also the name of his non-profit organisation, took four months to complete and raised a total of R100,000.

Anthony Waldhausen, Director of the Gay and Lesbian Network, said the funds will be used to open advice offices around KwaZulu-Natal to benefit the LGBTI community.

“I would also like to extend our sincere appreciation to Nate for selecting the Gay & Lesbian Network as a recipient of the funds and we are inspired at what he did,” he added.

Freeman came to South Africa in February 2014 to work as a law clerk for Justice Edwin Cameron in the Constitutional Court. He became inspired by individuals such as Simon Nkoli, who was an anti-apartheid activist, as well as an activist for LGBTI rights.

“I wanted to challenge myself, so I decided to stop being a lawyer for a while and go on an adventure that will also help others,” said Freeman.

His project is dedicated to decriminalising same-sex relationships throughout Africa and to create a network of shared knowledge between non-profit organisations.

He was one of 32 riders who set off from Cairo, Egypt in January, each of them fundraising for various causes close to their hearts. They rode through a total of 10 countries on their way to Cape Town, including Sudan, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia.

Nate Freeman (2nd from right) with the Gay and Lesbian Network team

Nate Freeman (2nd from right) with the Gay and Lesbian Network team

With his bike, named after Simon Nkoli, Freeman travelled between 130km and 150km per day. During his rest days, he tried to meet up with other LGBTI activists. He also came across wild animals, including close encounters with elephant and lion.

The journey went well and the group kept to schedule, donating many bikes along the way to various people. Freeman explains that, “It really challenged my view of Africa in terms of the mere size of the continent.”

He went on to to tell how when he was in Namibia, he and some of the other riders took their clothes off and cycled along a very quiet road for about 40km in the nude. Freeman said that, “I was completely naked expect for my pink feather boa!”

His ride has raised funds for at least four organisations involved in LGBTI rights on the continent. Freeman said he’s very optimistic about the future of the rights of LGBTI people in Africa and would like to see the money he raised going towards community outreach.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Latest Comments
  1. Abbi Swanson
    Reply -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend