Sivu Siwisa

Founder, Ikasi Pride

Sivu Siwisa is bravely determined to fight for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual and intersex (LGBTI) people against marginalisation.

A few years ago Siwisa realised that living in an urban area, she enjoyed full access to information, support and resources as a black lesbian, had the backing of the South African Constitution and the support of non-profit organisations that fight injustices on her behalf, and that in contrast, black lesbians living in townships and rural areas do not enjoy those same privileges.

That’s when Siwisa started Ikasi Pride, a national social campaign aimed at reducing and restoring the essence of LGBTI pride in marginalised townships and rural areas.

The movement aims to advance the rights of LGBTI people by bringing information, support and resources to bear in order to combat the marginalisation of LGBTI people who live outside urban areas.

The organisation also aims to improve their wellbeing by partnering with health, wellness, safe-sex, and human rights organisations, extending their reach to townships and rural areas to ensure that the issues that plague the LGBTI community are thoroughly addressed.

Siwisa is also an activist advocating for equality within the LGBTI community. She recently proposed and facilitated a discussion on creating an all-inclusive Pride in Cape Town.

“This was an important dialogue for me because it aimed to yield solutions that ensure Pride in Cape Town represents the diversity within the LGBTI community, and not just merely serves the ideals of an elite few,” she explains.

“What keeps me inspired is the knowledge that someone before me worked tirelessly to push LGBTI rights in South Africa. Knowing that these rights didn’t just miraculously land on the president’s lap is important, and that a number of people fought hard to afford me the privilege to unashamedly identify myself as lesbian in this country. It is then not only my duty to guard those rights, but my responsibility to ensure that everyone else in the LGBTI community, regardless of gender, race or geographic location, enjoys those rights too.” — Linda Doke