Gay RSA News & Reports 2010

1 Black, gay and indisputably African 01/10

2 Qwelane: The invisible ambassador 1/10

3 HIV/AIDS Misinformation and Beliefs Among MSM in Pretoria, South Africa 2/10

3a Thousands march in Cape Town for gay rights in Africa 3/10

4 Trial resumes over 2006 murder of South African lesbian 3/10

5 HIV infections in gay men ‘increasing in homophobic countries’ 3/10

6 Many southern African MSM have concurrent sexual relationships 5/10

7 Awaiting a Full Embrace of Same-Sex Weddings 7/10

7a Car crash tragedy of gay couple in kiss photo rocked RSA 10/10

8 Black lesbians show their pride 9/10

9 Thousands join South Africa Gay Parade 10/10

10 Africa’s biggest Pride draws crowds of 18,000 10/10

11 ‘Pink Protest’ to be held at University of Cape Town 10/10

January 10, 2010 – The Los Angeles Times

Black, gay and indisputably African
– The draconian anti-gay legislation being considered in Uganda brings to mind a South African gay nightclub, an answer to the homophobes’ claim that it is un-African to be black and gay.

by Douglas Foster
When word began to whip around the world that the Ugandan parliament would take up a bill making lesbian or gay sex a capital crime, my thoughts went first to a nightclub I frequented when I lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, a few years ago.
It was always a revelation to spend an evening at Simply Blue. The club was a collecting spot for Africa’s gay diaspora, and its patrons came from every part of the continent. The age range was wide, class lines were smudged, and there was a symphony of languages. The very existence of the place posed an answer of sorts to the claim of homophobes that there was something un-African about being black and gay.

To get to Simply Blue‘s curved bar and large dance floor, patrons had to climb a long flight of stairs and go through a security pat-down. You could always spot newcomers because they usually sat off to the side in the shadows, on broken-down couches, their eyes wide and jaws slack. Many of them literally had had the idea beaten into them that they were part of a cursed, despicable, tiny minority.

There was the middle-aged man from Zimbabwe, formerly married, whose brother had plotted to have him killed because of the shame he’d brought to his family when he’d switched to dating men. There was a young Nigerian who lingered on the sidelines for weeks before inching out onto the dance floor, but then moved in an explosion of long-suppressed joy at finding himself dancing in public across from another man. I met an older fellow, a soft-spoken farmer from Uganda who’d raised his children before leaving his home, his wife and his country. He’d finally decided he couldn’t live to the end of his life without having the chance to express his truest self.

One night at Simply Blue, I found myself in a long, confusing and infuriating conversation with an evangelical preacher from Soweto, who was the guide for a group of conservative, anti-gay white American evangelicals traveling around the country. He belonged to a sect that inveighed against homosexuality.

Here’s how he reconciled the two halves of his existence: He felt an irresistible need, he said, to occasionally be in a place like Simply Blue with other black gay Africans because it helped him feel less strange, and a little less lonely. But he was also proud that he had so far stayed true to his theology by never acting on his desires. He watched — but never touched.

I thought about that preacher’s story — about the intensity of the pull he felt and also about his shame and self-revulsion — in the context of the three American anti-gay evangelical pastors who recently took their message to Uganda, and now seem shocked at the proposed law introduced in the wake of their visit. They participated in the March conference that sparked the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009, though they insist they had no intention of inspiring legislation that calls for the death penalty for homosexuals. But by posing as experts who offered testimony about how gay men rape teenage boys and how homosexuals are plotting to destroy marriage and the family, they helped build an explosive device and light a fuse.

One of them, at the time of the conference, announced that these sorts of revelations were like a "nuclear bomb" that would eliminate the entire country of homosexuals. They can’t now disclaim responsibility for the bomb having been detonated.

Read Article HERE

January 24, 2010 – Times Live

Qwelane: The invisible ambassador

by Sue Richardson, Johannesburg
The subject of tolerance, intolerance and "acceptable behaviour" has been in the news again. Mind you, has it ever left?
Jon Qwelane is preparing for an ambassadorial role in Uganda, regardless of his views on homosexuality, made public in the column he wrote in 2008: "Call me names, but gay is not OK".

This is obviously a touchy subject, judging by the invective spouted in almost every newspaper and on numerous blogs. So far, he has neatly managed to avoid being served with the summons issued by the Human Rights Commission. No mean feat for an up-an-coming relatively visible public persona. The reason given for the failure to serve the summons was that he could not be traced. Pardon me for stating the obvious, but isn’t the government becoming a little careless? Losing one’s mind is personal and unfortunate, but losing a new ambassador – that’s a sign that new directions are needed.

There seems to be far too much attention paid to just what humans do with and to their genitals. Why do we care? Is a person less of a human being, mind, body and soul, because he or she has sex, or doesn’t, in a particular way? Why? Regardless of sexual orientation, bigotry and intolerance should not be tolerated. But then, this is South Africa, where some are more equal than others. Thanks George Orwell – you put it so well.

February 2010 – Population Council

HIV/AIDS Misinformation and Beliefs Among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Pretoria, South Africa

In South Africa, the Council is investigating the extent of HIV misinformation and beliefs among men who have sex with men, the factors that may influence HIV misinformation and mistrust, and the impact HIV misinformation and mistrust have on HIV preventive behaviors.

With messages from high-profile South African figures contradicting evidence-based HIV information, it is no surprise that misinformation and conspiracy beliefs about HIV abound in South Africa. The long-term goal of this study is to better understand the extent of mistrust in evidence-based HIV information and implications for HIV programs among men who have sex with men (MSM) in South Africa. Highly marginalized groups, including MSM, often are hit hardest by medical misinformation because of their lack of exposure to credible health information sources.

The specific aims of this project are to:
* determine population-based prevalence estimates of HIV misinformation and beliefs, mistrust in medical providers and institutions, and HIV-related sexual risk behaviors among MSM;
* identify factors associated with HIV misinformation and mistrust; and
* determine the effect of HIV misinformation and mistrust on HIV preventive behaviors, utilization of HIV-related services, and willingness to participate in HIV treatment/vaccine trials.

A cross-sectional survey will be conducted with 500 MSM in Pretoria and its neighboring townships using respondent-driven sampling. This study will be conducted by the Population Council in collaboration with a local NGO, OUT LGBT Well-Being.

Project results will be used to:
* inform how HIV informational messages can be developed to address misinformation and mistrust among MSM;
* identify sources for health information trusted by different subgroups of MSM;
* identify effective strategies to disseminate accurate health information; and
* inform large-scale media campaigns to educate MSM.

March 6, 2010 – AFP

Thousands march in Cape Town for gay rights in Africa

Cape Town(AFP) — Thousands of people took part in a raucous gay pride march Saturday in Cape Town, South Africa’s gay capital, pressing for more tolerance in Africa, one of the world’s most homophobic regions. Men, women and children joined the parade featuring floats and pounding 1970s disco music. They held up banners saying "Your hate won’t make me straight," "I was born gay," "Jesus says ‘love your neighbour’," and "Hate is unAfrican."

The marchers denounced a proposed anti-gay law in Uganda calling for tough penalties against homosexuality, including the death penalty, and the jailing of two men in nearby Malawi after staging the nation’s first public same-sex wedding. South Africa, whose 1994 constitution following the demise of apartheid is one of the most liberal in the world, legalised same-sex unions in 2006. But discrimination still exists, notably among lesbians in poor townships who are targeted for "corrective" rape.

March 16, 2010 – PinkNews

Trial resumes over 2006 murder of South African lesbian

by Jessica Geen
The trial of nine men accused of murdering a lesbian in Khayelitsha, South Africa, has resumed. Football player Zoliswa Nkonyana, 19, was stoned, beaten and stabbed to death on February 4th 2006 in the township on the outskirts of Cape Town. She was known to be a lesbian and gay rights activists say her murder was motivated by homophobia. It is claimed that she was killed after she tried to use a female toilet in a bar but was told to use the men’s facility by other women. She left the bar but was allegedly followed by the group of men and attacked.

Nkonyana was stoned with bricks and beaten with golf clubs in front of her stepfather, who was said to be unaware the woman he regarded as a daughter was the one being attacked. The trial has been postponed around 20 times and some of the defendants claim their constitutional rights were violated because they were "minors" when their statements were taken. Now aged between 19 and 25, all nine deny Nkonyana’s murder, along with two charges of attempted murder for attacks on the dead woman’s friend and a man who was accompanying her.

Yesterday, around 200 protesters from a variety of gay groups protested outside the court in Khayelitsha calling for justice for Nkonyana and for her murder to be treated as a hate crime. Marlow Valentine, director of the Triangle Project, told the Cape Times that the court must recognise the homophobic element of the killing. "It needs to be made clear that it was not another township murder," he said.

A report released in March 2009 suggested that there was a rise in ‘corrective rapes’ and assaults on lesbians in South Africa. Charity ActionAid said women in Johannesburg and Cape Town were suffering an increase in homophobic attacks and sexual assaults which are seen as a form of punishment or "cure". Figures suggest there are an estimated 500,000 rapes in South Africa every year and for every 25 men accused of rape in the country, 24 walk free.

In September, a man was jailed for life for the murder and rape of a lesbian South African footballer. Eudy Simelane, a player for Banyana Banyana and prominent South African gay rights activist, was stabbed to death in April 2008. She had been robbed, gang-raped and stabbed to death. Her body was left in a stream. Themba Mvubu, 24, from Kwathema, was found guilty of murder, robbery and being an accessory to the rape.

March 16, 2010 – PinkNews

HIV infections in gay men ‘increasing in homophobic countries’

by Staff Writer,
Rates of HIV infections in gay men are increasing in countries which have homophobic attitudes, the chief of the UN AIDS agency has said. Michel Sidibe told journalists at a lunch yesterday that rates of infection among gay men were rising in areas such as Africa, where many countries have laws against homosexuality. He said that in Africa and China, around 33 per cent of new HIV infections were being found in gay men, which he said was a significant increase.

AP reports that on new laws being introduced in countries such as Uganda, he said: "You have also a growing conservatism which is making me very scared. "We must insist that the rights of the minorities are upheld. If we don’t do that … I think the epidemic will grow again. We cannot accept the tyranny of the majority."

Mr Sidibe said that, in contrast, between six and nine per cent of new infections are found in gay men in the Caribbean, which has fewer laws against homosexuality. He blamed the rising infection rates on infected people being too scared to seek help and fearing they will be punished. He also cited rising infection rates in drug users and prostitutes in countries which have stringent laws against drug use and prostitution.

Uganda’s proposed anti-homosexuality law will impose the death penalty on those caught having gay sex while infected with HIV. The bill’s sponsor, David Bahati MP, claims it will reduce HIV infections in the country, although health experts say it will have the opposite effect. Mr Sidibe also mentioned HIV infections in the US, saying it was "shocking" that more than 50 per cent of new infections in 2009 occurred in gay men.

He said: "It seems like we have come full circle. After almost no cases a few years ago we are seeing again this new peak among people who are not having access to all the information, the protection that is needed."

May 19, 2010 – AIDSmap

Many southern African MSM have concurrent sexual relationships with both men and women

by Michael Carter
The majority of men who have sex with men in southern Africa are bisexual, and a significant proportion have concurrent sexual relationships with both men and women, investigators report in the online edition of Sexually Transmitted Infections.
The investigators suggest that this finding should occasion a rethinking of the factors driving the HIV epidemic in the region. However, they were encouraged that men in concurrent relationships with men and women (which the investigators term bisexual concurrency) reported high levels of condom use.

Sexual concurrency has been identified as an important contributory factor to the high levels of HIV transmission in southern Africa. Men who have sex with men in this region are highly stigmatised and often criminalised, and there has been little research into their sexual behaviour and HIV prevention needs.

However, the limited research that has been conducted has shown that many men who have sex with men in sub-Saharan Africa also have sex with women. Therefore, an international team of investigators conducted a cross-sectional study, interviewing 537 men who had ever had sex with men about the gender of their sex partners, partnerships and sexual risk behaviours.

Overall, 17% of men were HIV-positive. Factors associated with being infected with HIV were older age (over 25), and not always using condoms for sex. Just over a third of men reported that they were married or had a stable female partner, and 54% said that they had had both male and female sex partners in the previous six months. Bisexual concurrency was common and was reported by 17% of men.

Factors associated with any bisexual behaviour included a lower level of education (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.1 to 2.3), higher condom use (OR, 6.6; 95% CI, 3.2 to 13.9), and a lower likelihood of ever having had an HIV test (OR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.32 to 0.67). Analysis showed that having a concurrent relationship with both men and women was associated with higher levels of reported condom use (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0 to 3.1), and a lower likelihood of being ‘out’ to family (OR, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.22 to 0.65). Bisexual concurrency was also associated with having paid men for sex (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.2 to 3.2).

“This is the first analysis known to the authors that attempts to explore patterns and associations of bisexual partnership and of bisexual concurrency among men who have sex with men in Malawi, Namibia, and Botswana,” write the investigators. They continue: “The majority of men who have sex with men sampled were sexually active with both men and women, about a third … were married to women, and about one in six were in a stable relationship with a man and a woman.”

The authors were “encouraged” that men in concurrent relationships with both men and women reported less sexual risk and higher levels of condom use than men who reported exclusively homosexual behaviour. “Further research is needed to assess the extent to which bisexual partnership may be a driver of HIV in southern African sexual networks,” conclude the investigators.

July 27, 2010 – The New York Times

Awaiting a Full Embrace of Same-Sex Weddings

by Dan Levin
Cape Town — It was another picture-perfect wedding at the foot of Table Mountain, recalled the Rev. Daniel Brits. Inside the chapel, a female vocalist sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” before he led the nervous couple through their vows surrounded by family and friends a few weeks ago.
That the betrothed were two men gave few of the guests pause. For Mr. Brits, it was all in a day’s work. After all, he says, he has married more than 500 gay couples in the four years since South Africa became the first country in the Southern Hemisphere to legalize same-sex marriage. (This month, Argentina became the second.)

More than 3,000 same-sex couples have been married in South Africa, with about half of those couples including at least one foreigner, the government says. The law permitting same-sex marriage has begun to pave the way for greater tolerance of homosexuality, advocates contend, and the weddings have provided a shot in the arm to companies catering to those tying the knot. “Apartheid suppressed tolerance, but once that was out of the way our society has moved so fast and most people just go with the flow,” said Mr. Brits, a nondenominational minister.

The weddings frequently take place on Table Mountain, the vast, flat-topped landmark that looms over the city, and at hotels like the 12 Apostles, a resort perched on a cliff above the sea where Arianne McClellan and her bride, both London police officers, said “I do” last fall. The couple chose Cape Town for its stunning natural beauty and gay-friendly culture. The legal protections in South Africa stand in stark contrast to the antigay sentiment that has recently been on display elsewhere in Africa, whether in the trial of a gay couple in Malawi or the legislative proposal in Uganda to make homosexuality a capital crime in some cases.

But even as human rights advocates praise the country’s legal openness and the economic windfall that has accompanied same-sex nuptial tourism, they fret that the law, like so much of the new South Africa’s promise and prosperity, has bypassed many of the country’s citizens, particularly in the black majority.

Anthony Manion, director of Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action, said the law had largely failed to benefit blacks living in the impoverished townships that stretch for miles outside cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg. In them, gay men and lesbians often face unabashed discrimination and violence; advocates say that a growing number of lesbians have become victims of so-called corrective rapes aimed at ridding them of their sexual orientation. “The vast majority of gay people in South Africa are still shut off from marrying the partner of their choice because of the deep economic inequality, social isolation and cultural exclusion,” Mr. Manion said.

He and others complain that the focus on wedding cakes and floral arrangements distracts attention from far more serious challenges. Melanie Judge, an author of “To Have & To Hold: the Making of Same-Sex Marriage in South Africa,” was far more blunt, accusing white middle-class South Africans of ignoring their black brethren in their rush to the altar. “Marriage is a commodity that’s been branded and packaged,” she said. “The law hasn’t gotten to the depths of prejudice if gay marriage ignores our collective trauma in favor of clothes, makeup and honeymoons.”

Others say change in the socially conservative townships will take time, and they point to a shift in attitudes among Afrikaners — the white minority that once imposed racial apartheid on the nation — and within the mixed-race population known as coloreds. Mr. Brits, for one, said it was striking that 80 percent of the South Africans he has married have been Afrikaners, who come from a community that has long condemned homosexuality.

Perhaps most astonished are the same-sex couples who expected far more resistance among their families. When Jens Von Wichtingen, a German, and his Afrikaner husband, Daniel, who took his surname, married in February after 17 years together, they were surprised at how readily Daniel’s deeply religious parents accepted their union. “Afrikaners do not talk about sex and definitely not about gays,” Jens said. Yet at the wedding “they were so damn proud.” He added that Daniel’s parents might not feel comfortable with the notion of “gay rights,” but they accepted their marriage and their decision to adopt a black child.

But white South Africa is still a long way from fully embracing gay marriage. While some mainstream businesses have been happy to capture part of the gay market, others — photographers, clerics and catering hall owners — have rejected same-sex couples citing “Christian principles,” some industry members say. James Cussen, co-founder of an online same-sex wedding directory, said that even as his listings had grown to include more than 60 service providers, others still balked when asked to list their companies. “They say, ‘No, we’re not gay; why would we do that,’ ” he said. “Others hang up on me.”

Seon Kilian, a Cape Town-based event planner who has done a number of same-sex weddings, says that after the country’s long struggle against racism, it is painful to see another group of South Africans facing bigotry. She says she tries to buffer clients against uncomfortable moments by vetting the waiters, floral designers and videographers she hires. “The last thing you want is two grooms kissing on the dance floor and a waiter drops a tray in disgust,” Ms. Kilian said.

To some gay South Africans, the law has allowed them to dwell on questions they might never have thought possible, like guest lists, wedding vows and their lives as husbands and wives. “We just want it to be a truthful mirror of our intentions and how we feel about each other,” said Paul Botha in the midst of arranging the final details the day before marrying his partner, Albert Marton.

And for many foreign gay and lesbian couples, South Africa offers a legal tolerance often denied in their own countries. In 2007, Damon Bolden married his partner at Constitution Hill, the site of an apartheid-era prison that now houses South Africa’s Constitutional Court and several human rights groups. The American couple, who lived in Johannesburg for five years before returning to New York in 2008, married in a ceremony that blended American and African traditions, including jumping the broom, a wedding ritual used by slaves in America, who were forbidden to marry. “It was an honor to get married in a democracy so young and progressive,” Mr. Bolden said from New York. “If it can happen there, it can happen here.”

9 September 2010 – The Guardian

Car crash tragedy of gay couple in kiss photo that rocked South Africa
– One dead, the other seriously injured in crash one month after moment of passion was controversially published in newspaper

by David Smith –
Theirs was a kiss that stunned a conservative town. When a moment of passion for two men was published on a newspaper front page it provoked fierce debate in one of South Africa’s oldest communities. In a single photograph Bjorn Czepan and Mark Dean Brown became unwitting symbols for tolerance and gay rights at the predominantly Afrikaner, rugby-playing Stellenbosch University. Just a month later, there is a tragic postscript. Czepan is dead and Brown is critically ill in hospital.

The students were involved in a car crash in the suburb of Woodstock, last week, the Cape Times reported. Czepan, from Germany, was killed, and Brown was put on a ventilator at the Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital. The hospital said a third student, Brian Kline, was admitted late last Thursday night after the crash. Brown and Kline were critical but stable. The fleeting moment of fame for the Cape Town University couple came at last month’s annual Soen in die Laan (Kiss in the Avenue) event at the nearby university, when lesbian and gay students joined the traditionally heterosexual occasion.

The photograph was published on the front page of the student newspaper Die Matie, triggering furious debate on social networking sites. Copies were torn up or defaced in protest but there were supportive comments from gay students. Vanessa Smeets, the paper’s picture editor, told the Christian Science Monitor: "We knew it would be controversial, but not this level of reaction … Most women seem OK [about it], but a lot of Afrikaans men and African men were very unhappy. Some have been using the paper as dart boards, tearing them up."

The image caught the attention of South Africa’s lesbian and gay community. Marlow Valentine, community engagement manager at the Triangle Project, Cape Town, said today: "It was one of those articles that challenge hetero-normative ideas. Stellenbosch is a very conservative town and doesn’t like anything out of the ordinary." Matthew Gardiner, a friend of Czepan, told the Cape Times: "Bjorn couldn’t understand [why] the Soen in die Laan situation could make so much of an impact, but he was also very proud that he had been able to help people come to terms with their sexuality through that kiss."

September 25 2010 – IOL News

Black lesbians show their pride

By Sameer Naik
Thousands of black lesbians were due to take to the streets of Soweto today to celebrate their sexuality and humanity at the annual Soweto Pride Day. Soweto Pride, which was initiated in 2004 by the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), aims to promote tolerance of sexual diversity in the township. The event will also commemorate and honour Soweto’s fallen victims and survivors of crimes motivated by prejudice – including migrants facing xenophobic violence and other minority groups that are stigmatised and discriminated against.

Soweto Pride is held every year on the Saturday closest to Heritage Day, and includes a lively protest march from the streets of Zone Two Meadowlands and through the residential and business areas of Soweto. A political programme at the end-point is followed by a cultural programme to celebrate the struggles and victories of black lesbians, as the broader women’s movement and as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

Community, religious and political leaders have been invited to denounce hate crimes in their speeches at the event. These were to be followed by various activities, including an exhibition and voluntary counselling and testing. Soweto Pride is also an occasion for the lesbian community to continue to create a political and social space for its visibility and to amplify its voice. According to FEW’s programme co-ordinator, Phindi Malaza, the event is an opportunity for the broader community to express its solidarity and support of lesbians.

“The goal of Soweto Pride is to ensure that lesbians residing in the township no longer fall victim to homophobic attacks or any other crime. We want lesbians to feel safe and protected during this day and beyond,” says Malaza. This year’s theme of Soweto Pride is “embrace diversity”, which Dikeledi Sibanda from FEW describes as their way of being inclusive of everyone, even outside the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community. But it was the case of the murder of 19-year-old lesbian Zoliswa Nkonyana, who was killed in March 2007 by a mob, which touched the country the most deeply.

Late this month, four fugitives were rearrested after escaping from the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court, where they were on trial in connection with Nkonyana’s murder. Meanwhile, the annual Joburg Pride Parade will be held next Saturday.

2 October 2010 – RNW

Thousands join South Africa Gay Parade

Thousands of people have joined a Gay Pride parade in South Africa’s capital Johannesburg, the continent’s largest such event. The aim of the parade is to draw attention to the persecution of homosexuals across Africa.

Organisers say more than 18,000 people took part in the march. They warn that a growing number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are being arrested across Africa. South Africa is the only African country which permits same-sex marriages. In 38 of the 53 countries, homosexuality is considered a criminal offence.

October 4, 2010 – PinkNews

Africa’s biggest Pride draws crowds of 18,000

by Staff Writer,
More than 18,000 people attended Africa’s biggest Pride celebration in Johannesburg on Saturday, organisers said. The event in South Africa is the continent’s largest gay celebration. Although same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination protections are legal in South Africa, many other African countries criminalise homosexuality.

The theme of this year’s parade was "We are all African". Organiser Luiz de Barros told AFP: "We are aware of the fact that LGBT people across Africa are being arrested, their human rights are under threat and it’s a growing phenomenon on the continent. "South Africa having an enlightened constitution, we have a responsibility to reach out to our brothers and sisters in Africa," he said.

October 7, 2010 – PinkNews

‘Pink Protest’ to be held at University of Cape Town

by Christopher Brocklebank
Student activists at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, are planning to stage an anti-homophobia protest today after a symbolic ‘pink closet’ sculpture intended to highlight the effects of homophobia was burnt down.
The bright pink closet was erected in the university’s Jameson Plaza for the launch of Pink Week, and was set ablaze on Monday, after having been on display for less than 12 hours. The closet had previously been displayed in 2007, when it was defaced with graffiti.

The Pink Week campaign is hosted by the university and Rainbow UCT, which is run by an LGBTI student group to celebrate and raise awareness of sexual diversity. Speaking to Cape Times, Dylan Jack van Vuuren, chairman of Rainbow UCT, said the closet had been left in its burnt-out state to highlight prejudice on campus. Mr van Vuuren said: "We request that university management, including Campus Protection Services, acknowledges that this is a hate crime and an indication of a larger problem found within the UCT community and broader South African society, which needs to be addressed."

The Rainbow UCT plan to gather at the Rondebosch campus this afternoon with a banner declaring "Gay Rights are Human Rights". They will then proceed to deliver a memorandum to university management. Campus authorities have opened a case of destruction of property, but there have been no arrests reported so far.

In a statement, Mr van Vuuren said: "The remains of the Closet have remained in position for the duration of Pink Week, and have been integrated into somewhat (sic) of an art installation designed to memorialise those who have suffered injustices and lost their lives at the hands of homophobia." He added that friends of the society had sent flowers and a new metal closet had been erected as a symbol of the community’s strength. Rainbow UCT said the message they wished to send with their planned protest was that hatred, regardless of whether it occurred within the campus boundaries or on a national level, was not to be condoned.