“Today we have lost a giant, an HIV-struggle legend and a fierce advocate of women’s rights and access to HIV treatment,” says Larissa Klazinga, Regional Policy and Advocacy Manager: Southern Africa · AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), paying tribute to the sudden passing of Positive Women’s Network Director, Prudence Mabele on Monday, 10 July.
“Prudence, a long-time friend and partner of AHF (in fact, as recently as mid-June she was marching with us at the SA AIDS conference in Durban), was a groundbreaker in South Africa when she became one of the first black women to publicly reveal her HIV-positive status in 1992.”
“Prudence was an important voice for all women, but especially women living with HIV,” adds Hilary Thulare, Country Programme Director, AHF South Africa. “Her passing is a terrible loss.”
Mabele was one of the founders of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) “and one of the first gay women to raise the issue of HIV among lesbians in 1995, a key leader in the 1-in-9 campaign anti-rape coalition and an important voice in the fight for LGBT rights in South Africa,” Klazinga says.
“Her sacrifices and struggles helped millions access HIV treatment, she campaigned relentlessly in the struggle for justice for people living with HIV, spoke out against violence against women and never stopped educating, inspiring and advocating for women right up until she passed away. She is a true South African hero and will be sorely missed.”
In sending condolences to Mabele’s family and Positive Women’s Network, Klazinga promised, “AHF will continue to fight until Prudence’s dream of access to treatment is realized for everyone.”
For more information on AHF visit aidshealth.org.
A new reality television show aimed at changing the perception of how people view drag queens, is about to hit South Africa’s screens in the form of Betty Bangles en die Dossers, led by one of the country’s most popular drag artist, Betty Bangles.
With a stroke of a lip liner, the tightening of a corset and the careful teasing of his latest wigs, Johannesburg-based hair stylist Bernard Buys (37), transforms himself into the fabulous and daring Betty Bangles.
The show will be coming to South African screens on the 7th of July 2017 on VIA, channel 147 on DStv at 9pm with eight episodes. It’s edgy, exciting, a first of its kind on South African television and is sure to raise a few eyebrows among the more conservative South Africans.
“We are a channel that celebrates and depicts lifestyle choices including from unique communities that form the South African social kaleidoscope and so we chose to commission this out of the box new reality show starring Betty Bangles,” says Pat van Heerden, head of content at Via!
The Afrikaans reality show will be based on everything Drag. Betty Bangles, one of South Africa’s top drag artist, the presenter and personality of the show is on a mission to find her top 3 contestants to give them a chance to win the title of Miss Gay Mardi Gras Southern Africa. But first, she had to go through a process of elimination to find her top 3 drag queens, improve their craft and send them on a trip to the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras & Arts FestivalTM in Knysna.
“Filming Betty Bangles en die Dossers was filled with lots of laughs, tears and surprises,” says Hermi King, the show’s Executive Producer. We are excited to bring a show like Betty Bangles en die Dossers to the South African audience. The show is the journey of 3 new to the scene drag artists that get coached and polished by Betty Bangles. Betty Bangles call on a few of her fabulous celebrity friends to help judge and inspire the contestants. The end goal is to see if one of the 3 apprentices can win the Miss Gay Mardi Gras Southern Africa 2017 in Knysna. It has been an incredible journey to meet these wonderful people. I have such respect for their effort and dedication.”
Celebrities & special guests that appear in the show are; Chris Martin a.k.a Cleo (Drag Artist), Ryno Mulder a.k.a Starr Wood, JJ Schoeman, Casper de Vries, Gavin Prins, Armand du Plessis, Bianca Le Grange, Heidi du Toit from Hollywood Costumes, Demi Leigh Nel Peters, Tobie Jooste, Queens of Wigstock - Olivia Mae, Victoria Styles, Jett Joans, Charnè. The show will also follow the reality of Betty and Bernard’s daily life.
“There was a drag show and I remember how mesmerised I was by those drag queens on stage. I just thought to myself how fabulous it will be to continue my love for acting with sequins and feathers,” asserts Betty Bangles.
Getting to know the guy behind Betty Bangles is Bernard Buys, a friendly and easy-going guy with a heart of gold. He grew up in a conservative town called Potgietersrus in Limpopo. He currently works as a hairdresser for a well-known salon in Clearwater Mall, West of Johannesburg. But there is more to Bernard than what meets the eye.
Betty Bangles is a fun and outgoing personality who performs in a show at Beefcakes on Fridays and is a co-host of The Casper Radio Show on CliffCentral. Her accolades do not fall short of being fabulous, the most recent being the face of Pink Loerie Mardi Grass 2016.
Betty Bangles wants South Africa to understand and appreciate the art, effort and talent that goes into drag.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are South Africa’s most at risk population for HIV acquisition and transmission. For this reason ‘WeTheBrave’, a sexual health campaign, has been launched with MSM in mind. This will be the first large scale campaign ever in this country to specifically address gay men and other men who have sex with men.
The launch event took place in Newtown, Johannesburg on Thursday 25 June with a who’s who of LGBT and HIV activists in attendance. They were entertained by a performance by Odidi Mfenyana and heard messages from Sir Elton John, Professor James McIntyre, and others.
Spearheaded by the Anova Health Institute, and funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the WeTheBrave.co.za campaign will address both prevention and treatment issues in an affirming, non-judgemental and sex positive way, which will be entertaining and engaging.
By Lawrence Mashiyane
It is February and, for those who care for such things as Valentine's Day, it is the month of Love. Some scurried throughout January to get someone 'special' and others are getting on the love train before the 14th. At the end of search, many will be on dates on the 14th and many will be having sex; others will probably be watching TV, but we are not interested in them for now (and clearly love isn't either). The interest is in the ones who will be on dates and/or having a shag. The interest is in what happens after Valentine's Day. After Valentine's Day, how long until the romance fizzles out and turns into a memory or worse, a one night stand? You're probably thinking not long and if you are then it means you know about the cloud that hovers over the gay community; our relationships do not last. Of course this stereotype or stigma does not apply to everyone in the gay community but, as I always say, stereotypes do not come from out of nowhere. They are not made up. Stereotypes are that big cloud of black smoke that let every one know there's a fire. It does not mean an entire building is burning, but it does mean a floor or two could be.
For any relationship to last, one thing is important and that one thing comes before love, trust and commitment/faithfulness. That one thing is compatibility. The problem with the gay community is that compatibility has been cut down to two simple things; sex role and behaviour/gender expression. "Are you top, bottom or versatile?" They ask. "Are you 'straight' acting or feminine?" Once those two questions are asked and the answers are the desired, everything is good to go! But truth is, it is not good to go. Not at all! I am not saying that those things are not important (although how greatly important is up for debate), I am saying that there is more to find out beyond those two. There is a lack of compatibility in Gay relationships and it is usually because people have two things in mind: Society and Sex.
Whether a guy is effeminate or not is usually a concern with society; especially if one is in the closet. Sometimes it is preference but also, some people prefer to be with more masculine or 'straight acting' guys because it is a lot less obvious and covert. When two guys walk down the street, looking all heterosexual, no one really thinks "oh look, there goes a gay couple" but the concern is if a guy walks with another guy who has a twist in his hips, a twang in his voice and speaks with swinging hands; it all looks too obvious. The feminine guy draws too much attention, the two guys walking together now stick out like a sore thumb. Even if some guys are 'open' and out of the closet, the still remain (if I can say) conservative. They do not want to put society on edge, draw the attention of homophobes and they believe that their sexuality is no body's business. A fear for being judged for being gay still exists.
The second concern is Sex. The "are you top, bottom or versatile question?" simply put is, "are we going to be able to fuck or not?" I reject any other interpretation, it simply amounts to that.
The Hate Crimes Working Group and Peace Action, are concerned about the growing climate of violence in South Africa. The frequent and vicious outbreaks of xenophobic violence, violence against women and violence against the LGBTQI community, to name a few, are threatening the security of all who live in South Africa.
The increasing levels of intolerance and anger, expressed violently, have a devastating impact on those who are most vulnerable and marginalised in society - such as women, children, LGBTQI, foreigners and the destitute. The repeated xenophobic attacks during the past decade against refugees and other non-South Africans are adding to a culture of intolerance and resulting in violence, pain and suffering for victims of this violence. The government has failed to adequately respond to these incidents and do the work necessary to prevent continued incidences of xenophobic violence,
and to create a safe environment for non-South Africans living in South Africa.
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