JOHANNESBURG - South Africa, the queer paradise, or at least that is what is said. We know the images of the annual Pride in Johannesburg. As such, South Africa is the only country on the entire African continent in which LGBTQIA+ persons have equal rights, and can also marry. Only: the contrast between the constitution and daily reality is stark.

In the townships of Johannesburg, queer persons fight for their lives every day. Physical aggression, rape, or murder, is what they risk. Every year, more than 500 lesbian women are raped because of their orientation. And trans people also suffer because they deviate from the traditional gender norm. That is why in the township of Soweto they hold an activist pride. Right there, where hate crimes take place, they want to claim the streets and show that they dare to be themselves.

Documentary filmmakers Marieke Dermul and Ilse Schooneknaep travel to Johannesburg to talk to queer people. There they meet victims of hate crimes and refugee LGBTQIA+ persons, for whom South Africa does not appear to be the promised land. In their footsteps, they follow closely the activist Soweto Pride, in a Johannesburg township.

What must happen for what is written in the constitution to become reality? And is there any hope that one day the country can indeed be a safe place for queer people?

Marieke Dermul

Marieke Dermul is a documentary filmmaker and director.

Ilse Schooneknaep

Ilse Schooneknaep has been working as a freelance producer and researcher in the audiovisual sector for more than 10 years.
€10,000 allocated on 28/06/20204.


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