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Change the world

19/06/2024

Young people in South Africa celebrate Youth Month in June, and in extension to that, queer young South Africans also celebrate Pride Month in the same month. Pride Month isn’t just a celebration of being a queer person in the country or in the world.  It is about continuing the fight for freedom for queer people to live and breathe in today’s societies, where they feel they have no place nor do not belong.

While you will find the collective of young people reflect on youth advancement in the context of quality education and youth employment opportunities during Youth Month, queer young people find themselves further reflecting on their acceptance and existence in society.

What’s so beautiful to see today is that young queer people live their lives without much care for what other people have to say. We see this in the generation called “Ama2000” that continues to make their presence felt. They use their social media platforms to speak on this and to also draw strength from their peers. It is also important to note that the progression of what I would describe as a small fraction of queer acceptance in some of our societies rests on the shoulders of queer icons like Amstel, Koyo and Jeff (of the first openly gay music group in the country, 3Sum).

These queer icons, and many more, endured homophobia and vilification at its peak, and the youth today are making queer culture part of the society we live in because our stories and experiences deserve to be mainstream.

We have queer young people disrupting social norms that marginalises queer existence and hold heterosexuality superior. Birth of Stars, a reality TV show that showcased queer young people being their true authentic selves was testament to how queer people are shaking up the space and making their presence felt. From Miss Gay Western Cape that celebrates queerness in pageantry, to Vogue Nights in Johannesburg that serves as a community for queer celebration, queer people are shaping their own culture and are expressing themselves.

The battle has not yet been won because queer people are still being killed and homophobic remarks are still being made towards us daily. And we need people who have found the confidence to voice out their dissatisfactions against how they’re treated to also speak out for the voiceless as well. This society is ours just as it is everyone else’s. We are in corporate spaces, leadership positions, and political spaces to show that we belong here, and that we are here to stay.

Zubenathi Daca is the Programme Coordinator of Student Employability & Entrepreneurship Development (SEED). As a qualified Public Relations & Communications practitioner, Zubenathi is actively engaged in the entrepreneurship sector, dedicated to improving student employability and fostering student entrepreneurship.

Contact information
Kelley Felix Julie
Social Media Coordinator
Tel: +27 94 578 4559
Kelley.Felix@mandela.ac.za