“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
~ Nelson Mandela , 20 April 1964
On the 11th of February 1990 Madiba was released from prison
On the 18th of December 1996 the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa was Promulgated
The Equality Clause Reads:
Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law…Nobody [including the state] may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on the grounds of gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.
It is because of the freedoms that the constitution guarantees and its emphasis on respecting the inherent dignity of people that it is possible to be Queer and have your identity and chosen lifestyle be legitimized in South Africa. Nowhere else on the African continent does this freedom exist. In many parts of the “developed” world the rights to marriage, adoption and the protection of family life are not guaranteed to people who are openly gay or trans*. It is this promise of freedom has brought countless refugees across South Africa’s boarders in the hopes of evading persecution by the state and society in their home countries.
Mandela gave 27 years of his life so that a society based on equality for all could be possible. This was a hard won battle which continues to wage on. It is up to all of us to honour Madiba’s legacy by dedicating our lives to the service of justice and the pursuit of equality and dignity for all.
Thank-you Tata and may you rest in peace.