Features

LGBTIAQ+ rights in South Africa

LORINDA MARRIAN

Coming Out Day is celebrated annually on 11 October. The day celebrates the act of coming out as LGBTIAQ+ in order to promote a safe world for LGBTIAQ+ individuals to live openly and truthfully. The first Coming Out Day was celebrated on the second anniversary of the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on 11 October 1988, one of the largest LGBTIAQ+ advocacy marches in history.

South Africa has had a long history of LGBTIAQ+ rights and advocacy. During Apartheid, the Immorality Act of 1957 and further amendments to the act in 1968 restricted what they termed as “unnatural or immoral sexual acts”, which was used as a euphemism for homosexual intercourse. The discriminatory legislation led to the establishment of various rights and advocacy organisations such as the Organisation of Lesbian and Gay Activists (OLGA) and the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality (NCGLE), later known as the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (LGEP). These organisations also aligned themselves with anti-apartheid political groups such as the ANC and UDF. However, these groups had a limited impact on LGBTIAQ+ legislation at the time.

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On campus student support

SAM MUKWAMU

Being in university can be a very stressful environment, and it tends to get even more stressful around exam time. The Student Support and Counselling Centre of the University of Pretoria comprises of a team of highly qualified clinical psychologists and social workers that offer a wide range of support in the form of academic, emotional and therapeutic support, and can help with psychological issues, stress related issues, trauma, family problems, substance abuse, and sexual abuse, to name a few. Student Support offers services in groups and in individual consultations, and it is encouraged that any student that feels they may need support seek out Student Support for screening, as their services are free of charge and can be very beneficial. Student Support offers short- and long-term councelling. The wellbeing of students is their priority and they want students to use these services to ensure that students put themselves in the best position to obtain their degrees and have success in life.

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Body shaming and its effect on society

SAM MUKWAMU

Body shaming has become a serious issue in our society. Body shaming is defined by bodyshaming.org as being “inappropriate, negative statements and attitudes toward another person’s weight or size.” It is a form of bullying and, as well as being humiliating, it can lead to short and long term psychological and health related issues. Body shaming occurs in three main ways, criticising yourself, criticising someone else in front of them, and criticising someone else behind their back.

In an age where media and social media are easily accessible, there is a strong emphasis on idealised beauty on platforms such as Instagram, magazines and television. When seeing celebrities and models who are thought to have “perfect bodies”, individuals start to become critical of their own bodies and succumb to the pressure of living up to somewhat unrealistic standards. Despite their celebrity status, some celebrities have had to deal with body shaming, fr SAM MUKWAMU Body shaming has become a serious issue in our society. Body shaming is defined by bodyshaming.org as being “inappropriate, negative statements and attitudes toward another person’s weight or size.” It is a form of bullying and, as well as being humiliating, it can lead to short and long term psychological and health related issues. Body shaming occurs in three main ways, criticising yourself, criticising someone else in front of them, and criticising someone else behind their back. In an age where media and social media are easily accessible, there is a strong emphasis on idealised beauty on platforms such as Instagram, magazines and television. When seeing celebrities and models who are thought to have “perfect bodies”, individuals start to become critical of their own bodies and succumb to the pressure of living up to somewhat unrealistic standards. Despite their celebrity status, some celebrities have had to deal with body shaming, from comments left on their social media pages, to having Photoshop applied to their pictures for magazine covers. Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks recently spoke out about being rejected for a role for being too curvy. Idols SA judge Unathi Msengana and popular TV personality Bonang Matheba have also been victims of body shaming.

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Festivals of Africa: all you need to know

KATHERINE ATKINSON

Festivals are an important part of any culture, not only in Africa, but worldwide. “All over the world people are going back to culture as a way to identify themselves,” says Dr Fraser McNeill, a senior lecturer in anthropology at the University of Pretoria. As South Africans, it is important to understand other African cultures and festivals “because they teach difference” and encourage “ethnonationalism,” says Dr McNeill. While ethnonationalism is important, it can be potentially dangerous because of the divide it creates among different groups of people. Dr McNeill notes that “every one of these nationalisms is underpinned by an idea of tradition and culture, so these festivals are a celebration of that.” The following are some festivals which take place in Africa:

Read more: Festivals of Africa: all you need to know

North Korea, nukes and sanctions

REBECCA WOODROW

North Korea continues to cause the world concern with its increasing missile launches into the Sea of Japan and, as of 15 September, the Pacific Ocean. The country launched a ballistic missile that flew 3700 kilometres in 19 minutes, flying over the northern Japanese city Hokkaido before landing in the Pacific, reported Eye Witness News. As the United Nations Security Council continues to strengthen sanctions on North Korea, after its nuclear test on 3 September, and nuclear conflict invades the global political imagination, navigate reality with this guide to the current tensions.

 

Infographic: Michal Mare Linden

 

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