Staff of the newly-named Uthingo Network
There are exciting changes happening at the Pietermaritzburg-based Gay and Lesbian Network, including a name and logo change and a new five-year strategy.
Now named the Uthingo (rainbow) Network, the 18-year-old organisation will shift its focus to rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal, with the goal of improving the lives of rural LGTBI+ people.
The strategy includes documenting and developing LGTBI+ individuals in these communities and using these insights to inform Uthingo’s work and agenda.
“To our knowledge, no other LGTBI+ organisation on the continent is working on change in rural communities using this kind of indigenous, facilitative approach,” commented Director and Founder Anthony Waldhausen.
The organisation was founded in 2003, initially focusing on Pietermaritzburg’s LGTBI+ community and on creating safe, social spaces.
The new name aims to encompass the diversity and inclusivity of the LGTBI+ community in its future work on the African continent. In addition, a new complement of members has joined the organisation’s board.
The re-branding to Uthingo Network was launched on 18 June with a ceremony that included dignitaries, stakeholders, beneficiaries and a keynote address by Anne E Linnee, USA Consul General from the Durban Consulate.
It also featured a look at the organisation’s origins, poetry by Sanele Nzuza, the official unveiling of the new name and logo, and refreshments for the guests.
US Consul General Anne Linnee and Uthingo Network Director Anthony Waldhausen at the new logo launch
PEPFAR (the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) has provided support and funding for the rebranding of the organisation including marketing materials, banners and staff uniforms.
“This is the most exciting time… as it will usher in major changes for the organisation,” said Waldhausen. “Change can be scary but if one grabs the change with commitment and excitement we will see opportunities and renewal happening all around us.”
For more information about its work, visit the Uthingo Network’s Facebook page and website.