Queer festival a success

Hlonela Mkhathali who played a gay part in one of the plays nailed it.

The Phefumla Annual Festival was a bold, bright and beautiful way to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex plus (LGBTIA+) community.

The two-day festival, held at Philippi Village last weekend, attracted hundreds of people from Philippi and other areas, and featured shows, dance and debates about the community.

The organisers – The Phefumla Queer Collective, Amandla Development and Triangle Project – said the festival was a platform for the LGBTI plus community to address issues such as trans rights, gay adoption, and helping parents understand LGBT+ subjects.

Through the festival, they also aimed to amplify the visibility of queer youth, and their experiences in their communities through artistic expressions of dance, music, visual installations and theatre.

The themes of this year’s festival included promoting mental wellness, advocating against gender-based and sexual violence, and the bullying of queer learners.

The festival was described as unique in that it is by learners, for learners and about learners.

Residents, parents, teachers, and pupils from Khayelitsha, Makhaya, Makhaza, Site B, Site C, Kuyasa, Mfuleni, Crossroads, Nyanga, Eerste River, Southfield, Lower Crossroads, Philippi, Samora and Stellenbosch participated in the festival.

Pharie Sefati, Triangle Project’s community engagement project manager, said she was happy that parents and some community members had showed support of the human rights of people of all sexual and gender identities. “This is a space to assist LGBTI community to the community. It is for youth involvement to fight for their own rights. As a Triangle Project we assist where we can. We also assist families to understand their children,” she said.

She applauded the young queer community for their bravery. “They persisted and were from different schools and townships. They did not know each other but had one thing in common, to fight for their rights. Today we are blessed to have this festival. They are now friends. It is amazing. They have created something made by queer learners for queer learners and beyond. We hope this is not the end of this festival,” said Ms Sefati.

One of the organisers, Ongeziwe Badli, was happy that the festival managed to attract all genders. “The festival advocates for the LGBTI plus community in different art forms. They should not be killed, raped, judged for who they are. There is nothing wrong with them,” she said.

Community members including parents of some LGBTIA+ children filled the hall a the Philippi Village.
Pharie Sefati was over the moon to see a successful festival organised by young people.
Young people showed off their talent at the festival.