GALZ & its African Partners

Delegates at a Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) meeting, Namibia, August, 2004

Through leading by example, GALZ has played a significant role in the struggle for LGBTI emancipation in Africa by showing others on the continent that it is indeed possible for lesbian and gay people to organise openly in hostile, homophobic climates and flourish.

In the late nineties, GALZ started making contact with emergent groups in Botswana (Legabibo) and Zambia (Legatra) and soon after in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, all of them having taken their cue from GALZ. In 2000, at the invitation of HIVOS and as part of its All-Africa Programme, GALZ facilitated a 10-day workshop on organisational development and LGBTI activism with groups from East Africa and Namibia.

In 2002, GALZ became involved in the process of establishing a coalition of African LGBTI groups throughout Africa. The All Africa Rights Initiative (The AARI) was launched in Johannesburg, in February 2004, at the first ‘All Africa Symposium on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights’. The founding members constituted 22 groups from 17 African countries in East, Southern and West Africa.

For many reasons, mostly to do with geographical proximity and historical factors, GALZ’s strongest links have been with groups in South Africa. GALZ was a founding member of the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality (NCGLE), launched in 1994 to ensure the inclusion of sexual orientation as a ground for non-discrimination in South Africa’s new constitution. Its task successfully completed, The NCGLE disbanded in 1999 giving way to the establishment of the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project.

It was through the NCGLE that GALZ first made contact with two Namibian groups, The Rainbow Project (TRP) and Sister Namibia and GALZ has since collaborated frequently with them at events such as Namibia’s Human Rights Week.

GALZ also maintains strong ties with Behind the Mask in Johannesburg, a website, which collects information about LGBTI issues throughout Africa. The Gay and Lesbian Archives (GALA), which collects material produced by GALZ has also provided the association with training in archiving,

In the field of HIV/AIDS, a longstanding relationship exists between GALZ and The Triangle Project in Cape Town, the latter having facilitated GALZ training in HIV/AIDS intervention work and counselling in 1998. GALZ has also been a strong supporter of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and is actively involved in the Pan African Treatment Action Campaign (PATAM).

Members of GALZ are, of course, always frequent visitors to the annual Jo’burg Pride.