Why Representation Matters

By Chulumanco Qashani

June is an important month for many – for some it’s their birth month, for others, its either the end of the exams or the division between the first and second semester, but for many, it is International Pride Month. This signifies the solidarity, freedom and celebration of those within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer and Intersex+ (LGBTQI+) community.

Participating in celebration, many join marches, protests and attend other events that celebrate their gender and sexuality. On the 17th of June 2022, such an event took place when SASCO produced a first of its kind pride hike. Student populace of Nelson Mandela University from everywhere joined in numbers. The theme was a white t shirt decorated with anything that depicts who and what you are, but still for you to ‘be you, celebrate you’. The hike’s starting point was behind the sport’s centre and lasted for two hours.

Besides the refreshments, there were three major highlights. Along the way, students sang, mingled, and got to know one another and almost everyone was painted in colours that they desired. The pride flag was displayed, games like korobela were played, war cries and dances were enforced and stories were shared, all of these activities gave more meaning to the day’s purpose.

Student, Lisakhanya Dumasi, who was recently assaulted at the park due to her sexuality by two male students, shared one such story. Even though the assault did not occur on University premises, she reported it and they were suspended for six months and forced to render an apology. This was refreshing as people saw that the institution protected the rights of their students without hesitation. It gave hope that the world could be a better place if everyone chose to unite, and realize at the end of the day, we are all one.

Photo credit: Chulumanco Qashani

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