Photo via TONL

For Those Excluded From Easter Dinner Because of Who​ They Love or How They Identify

For some members of the South African LGBTQI+ community, holidays are reminders of rejection and persecution

In varsity I met Jeff—not his real name. He'd get drunk religiously because being sober was too burdensome. Alcohol helped him temporarily forget his sadness. One night on his way home from the bar, he was followed by five men who proceeded to mock him for looking gay before they began to hit him. Covered in blood he sought refuge in my apartment refusing to go to the clinic out of the fear of facing more discrimination. Crying, he told me that that there wasn't any point being alive because the world hated him. All his life he'd been taunted and assaulted for being gay and coming from a homophobic family he knew that he'd be rejected by them if he ever came out to them.

Like Jeff, countless members of the LGBTQI+ community—my community—are left without the option of going home during the holidays or any other time they might need to retreat from the world. It's a painful reality and around this time of the year it stings because for a lot of us irrespective of our religion, the Easter holiday is expected to be a period for returning home to family— a time of love and solidarity with the people we grew up with. But, for many of us, it is a time of deep trauma and anxiety. During a time when families come together and preachers will be taking to podiums to preach about a man who was crucified, nobody will preach about those of us crucified for how we were born or how we identify.

According to a report by The Other Foundation, South Africans have a complicated view of same-sex orientations. 34 percent assume that it's a lifestyle choice, 12 percent agree that it's an illness, 5.1 percent believe that it's a sin, 3.8 percent say that it was a result of a person's upbringing and 3.7 percent understand it to be something related to a person's ancestral spirits. These misconceptions would be comic if they did not manifest in violence. It also goes a long way to explaining why so many members of the LGBTQI+ community have to make homes for themselves on the streets, in shelters and turn to chosen families for warmth. For some people coming out, being outed by someone else and/or self-actualizing means learning that sometimes the love that we get from our families is conditional. So, instead some people live double lives. When they're away from home they disrobe to live their truth and when they're home they put up on a safety mask.

For some people coming out, being outed by someone else, and/or self-actualizing means learning that sometimes the love that we get from our families is conditional.

In Jeff's case he would put on his "straight" persona at the end of each school term when he went home. This meant changing how he spoke, not wearing his hot pants because "men don't dress like that" where he came from and acting as stereotypically manly as possible. His homophobic home environment made him postpone his trips back and he kept them as short as possible.

For many others there's the manipulation and the violence from family members who they've come out to telling them to "keep quiet about it because saying something will do more harm than good," and the guilt of being told that it will shame the family or being asked "what will people say?" Some people take the truth about themselves to the grave and the rest of us silently stomach Easter lunch with distasteful comments from our homophobic or transphobic family members. And, that's just the people who can go home.

There are those whose only means of keeping a roof over their head means feeling like a burden to their friends and constantly having to depend on them. There's also a significant number of people, who do and don't have an income or anybody to turn to and have to make do out in the cold. Their burden intensifies when they turn to shelters that are not queer friendly. And, they are either subjected to violence or discrimination from within or aren't allowed in because of the shelter's gender policies that do not accommodate trans people. And, in rural areas where there aren't shelters or queer friendly spaces the situation is gloomy. In fact, there are minimal shelters around South Africa that cater to members of the LGBTQI+ community with staff that are sensitive to their disposition.

Periods centered on family time can be upsetting for a lot of us for many different reasons. But, this is for members of the LGBTQI+ community. To the ones still here and those who aren't anymore, especially, as a result of the unkind ways of this world. I hope that you have a family somewhere, even if it's chosen, that loves and holds you. Each one of you, of us, who feels the intensity of that hurt around this time I crave healing for you.

Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

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Nudes cover artwork.

You Need to Listen to Moonchild Sanelly's New EP, 'Nüdes'

The buzzing South African singer breaks down her provocative & empowering new 4-song EP.

South Africa's Moonchild Sanelly returns with the Nüdes EP.

The highly-buzzing SA artist's latest project sees her expanding on her own brand of 'electro-pop-ghetto-funk' as she runs through four standout tracks that revolve around her outspoken stance on female sexual empowerment and more.

Nüdes features two previously heard hits from Moonchild Sanelly—the anti-fuck boy synth anthem "F-Boyz" and gqom-laced banger "Weh Mameh." It also includes two previously unreleased tracks in "Come Correct" and "Boys & Girls."

This year saw Moonchild Sanelly break charts and dance floors in South Africa and across the globe with her own sounds, as well as her big collaborations with Damon Albarn for Africa Express and Beyoncé's Lion King: The Gift album.

We talked to Moonchild below about the new EP, during which she broke down all of the songs and even told us how she ended up on the Beyoncé album.

Read our conversation below.

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Screenshot from the upcoming film Warriors of a Beautiful Game

In Conversation: Pelé's Daughter is Making a Documentary About Women's Soccer Around the World

In this exclusive interview, Kely Nascimento-DeLuca shares the story behind filming Warriors of a Beautiful Game in Tanzania, Brazil and other countries.

It may surprise you to know that women's soccer was illegal in Brazil until 1981. And in the UK until 1971. And in Germany until 1970. You may have read that Sudan made its first-ever women's league earlier this year. Whatever the case, women and soccer have always had a rocky relationship.

It wasn't what women wanted. It certainly wasn't what they needed. However, society had its own ideas and placed obstacle after obstacle in front of women to keep ladies from playing the game. Just this year the US national team has shown the world that women can be international champions in the sport and not get paid fairly compared to their male counterparts who lose.

Kely Nascimento-DeLuca is looking to change that. As the daughter of international soccer legend Pelé, she is no stranger to the game. Growing up surrounded by the sport, she was actually unaware of the experiences women around the world were having with it. It was only recently that she discovered the hardships around women in soccer and how much it mirrored women's rights more generally.

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Convener of "#Revolution Now" Omoyele Sowore speaks during his arraignment for charges against the government at the Federal High Court in Abuja, on September 30, 2019. (Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

Nigerian Activist, Omoyele Sowore, Re-Arrested Just Hours After Being Released on Bail

Sowore, the organizer of Nigeria's #RevolutionNow protests, was detained by armed officers, once again, in court on Friday.

Omoyele Sowore, the Nigerian human rights activist and former presidential candidate who has spent over four months in jail under dubious charges, was re-arrested today in Lagos while appearing in court.

The journalist and founder of New York-based publication Sahara Reporters, had been released on bail the day before. He was arrested following his organization of nationwide #RevolutionNow protests in August. Since then, Sowore has remained in custody on what are said to be trumped-up charges, including treason, money laundering and stalking the president.

He appeared in court once again on Friday after being released on bail in federal court the previous day. During his appearance, Sowore was again taken into custody by Nigerian authorities.

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