Steve Letsike (Role Model of the Year) with Mambaonline Editor Luiz De Barros (Media of the Year)
Mambaonline was one of the winners in last night’s spectacular Chevrolet Feather Awards in Johannesburg, winning in the category of Media of the Year.
The event was held at the Johannesburg City Hall and was a glittering and glamorous gathering of celebrities, government ministers and officials, activists and performers.
Among the winners was Minister Malusi Gigaba (for Best Styled Male), who heads the Department of Home Affairs; often criticised for not clamping down on offices that have refused to marry same-sex couples or that have delayed gender identity changes.
After being presented his award, Gigaba said he hoped to “spread a message of supporting one another as human beings, regardless of our sexual orientation.”
A surprising and controversial presenter was Kaya FM DJ MoG, who in June was slammed for saying on air that if Caitlyn Jenner were his father, he’d “take a sjambok (a short leather whip) to him.”
Hunk of the Year, Vuyo Dabula
Just before awarding the Hunk of the Year category (to actor Vuyo Dabula), MoG acknowledged the furore, saying: “It was a very stupid thing for me to say and I want to apologise. I’m sorry.”
The event was attended by the Premier of Gauteng, David Makhura, who told the audience that, “tonight is a very important statement – a celebration of diversity and difference.”
He went on to say: “We live in a country and province that guarantees that we can be what we want to be. We want to show our continent and the world what it means to live in a free country.”
The Feather Awards, now in its seventh year, was created as a light-hearted celebration of high-profile LGBTI and other individuals who, the organisers say, have inspired, scandalised and amused South Africa’s LGBTI community over the past year.
After receiving criticism for lacking gravitas, it has evolved to increasingly focus on acknowledging LGBTI figures and achievers and highlighting activists from South Africa and the continent.
Long-standing activist Steve Letsike, who heads up the organisation Access Chapter 2, won in the category of Role Model of the Year. The coveted Feather of the Year Award went to openly lesbian South Africa women’s national football team star Portia Modise.
LGBTI activists from seven African countries took to the stage
Last night’s function included a video message from iconic singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, who is a global ambassador for the UN Free & Equal campaign against homophobia. There was also a tribute to the late Swazi LGBTI activist and director of Rock of Hope, Xolile Sane ‘Malume’ Mabuza, who passed away in September.
Courtesy of the Other Foundation, the awards honoured seven LGBTI activists from different parts of the continent who all attended the event, including Angolan transgender Kuduro music star, Titica; awarded the African Feather of the Year.
The audience was treated to musical performances by stars including Simphiwe Dana, concluding with a high energy surprise reunion by classic kwaito group Boom Shaka that had the crowd on its feet.
Here are all the winners of the 2015 Chevrolet Feather Awards:
Boom Shaka thrilled the audience
Best Styled Female
Best Styled Male
Minister Malusi Gigaba
Hunk of the Year
Diva Extraordinaire of the Year
Sports Personality of the Year
Role Model of the Year
Hot Chick of the Year
Media of the Year Award
Fag Hag of the Year
Musician of the Year
Socialite of the Year
Drama Queen of the Year
Feather of the year