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South Africa Makes History with its First Ever Healthcare Facility for Transgender People

The University of the Witwatersrand's Reproductive Health Institute is creating a safe space for transgender people seeking healthcare.

South Africa has made history after it opened the doors to its first dedicated healthcare facility for transgender people. According to eNCA, the Reproductive Health Institute, which has been set up by the prestigious University of the Witwatersrand, wants to create a safe space for transgender South Africans by removing the stigma and prejudice they often face while trying to access healthcare in the country. It is a major stride against the backdrop of a continent that generally still treats members of the LGBT community as second-class citizens.


READ: The World Congress of Families is Expanding its Homophobic Agenda into West Africa

Speaking about the Reproductive Health Institute based in Johannesburg, a South African transgender woman named Tiny Williams tells eNCA that, "Within five minutes I am done with everything and there is no criticism about the way I am." In contrast, Williams describes her previous experiences at public hospitals saying, "When I go there asking for treatment, some they start gossiping about to, laughing at you and the way you are that this person is gay."

The Johannesburg facility, and the three others which are located in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces, are a result of a 5-year USAID Award which aims to increase access to healthcare to marginalized groups including the LGBT community and sex workers in South Africa.

Interview

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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