A young democratic country such as South Africa was one of the first to adopt a new constitution post-apartheid 1994 and with that meant a new era where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people, would now enjoy the same rights as non-LGBTQ people.
South Africa within the African continent may emerge as an idiosyncratic counterpart, for the most part, a young child that never plays by the rules. In the drafting of the new constitution is was important that for the first time it represents ALL people who lived in the country, regardless of your colour, gender or sexual orientation. South Africa was the first in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, she was also the fifth country in the world and the first, to date, only in Africa to recognize same-sex marriage.
Today, same-sex couples are able to adopt children jointly, arrange IVF and surrogacy treatments. The LGBTQ community is able to enjoy constitutional and Statutory protection from discriminations in employment, provision of goods and services as well as many other areas, making SA a safe haven within the African continent.
The LBGTQ Community has been a long-standing and active community against crimes against humanity and equal human rights, their first march in the year 1990 was the first ever Pride march on the African continent, which acted as both Gay Pride and an Anti-apartheid march. “The purpose of the event was not only to demonstrate pride in gay or lesbian identity but also to provide a wider platform for voicing political concerns.” according to a published article on sahistory.org but unlike many, the LGBTQ Community still had a long fight awaiting them in years to come.
In a case brought forth in the State versus Kamphur. the Cape Provincial Division of the High Court ruled that the common-law crime of Sodomy was incompatible with the constitution as we know it today and that the law had to cease to exist as an offence when the interim constitution came into force as of 27 April 1994. On the 9th of October 1998, it was finally ruled by the Constitutional Court that all common-law crimes were unconstitutional.
Since the 13th of October 1990 marked the first ever Gay and Lesbian Pride today there are between 400 000 to over 2 million living LBGTQ people living in South Africa, Pride marches have continued to grow in South Africa with each of the nine provinces now hosting a march. Under the democratic dispensation, some in the LGBTIAQ+ community felt that Pride should be more celebratory than political. This has caused widespread divide within the community, with many saying that the Pride march should retain its political legacy and highlight some of the issues affecting LGBTIAQ+ people in South Africa today.
The LGBTQ+ Community to date has held such a purpose in South Africa, as well as the many contributions they have made to society as a whole, one can only imagine what they are capable of in future. Whether you agree or disagree it doesn’t matter, which side of the line you fall, one can always make an impact
By Kagiso Kola