South Africa’s umbrella network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTIA) student societies, the Kaleidoscope Youth Network recently hosted its fifth annual youth leaders Lekgotla (conference).
Organisers said the conference held at Kwena Lodge in Potchefstroom (an academic city in the North West Province of South Africa) between August 4 and 10, 2011, “enriched knowledge” and was “successful.”
“The dedication and hard work by this year’s delegates explored a new level of the culture of knowledge and interest in the LGBTIA issues by students in the different organisations under the KYN,” reads a statement by the KYN after the meeting.
“From the first day of the conference, there was a lot of excitement and intrigue building up to the days to follow. All the excitement and curiosity about different issues was facilitated by energetic, dedicated and knowledgeable women in the LGBTIA sector,” the statement continued.
Previously the KYN has stated that many of the LGBTIA organisations at tertiary institutions across the country have very little training and experience in the field of activism. However each is in a position to affect a great deal of change and have the ability to influence not only the student bodies they engage with, but also their wider communities.
KYN’s position is that there is a considerable amount of work that needs to be done in terms of raising awareness around issues of discrimination and hate crimes.
The KYN’s aim is to develop and implement strategies that seek to eradicate discrimination and hate crimes in all forms at tertiary institutions and promote awareness and wellness.
The KYN operates through an interactive network of student leaders of LGBTIA societies, which carry out initiatives, raise issues, and spread awareness.
The Network is governed by an executive committee and meets annually through the Lekgotlas to network, engage in policy review, undergo workshops and elect a new executive committee.
The KYN asserted that, this year’s Lekgotla was filled with “new faces and driven student bodies that were ready to learn and instil knowledge in each other.” It was driven by the recognition of great participation and interaction and awards were given to members of the student bodies with the aim of appreciating their hard work and making their voices heard.
Loud Enuf, from the University of Western Cape was awarded an accolade for the Best Participatory Society and Shadows in the Rainbow from the Durban University of Technology was awarded for Best Developmental Progress in a Society.
During the conference the KYN also held a Marketing Day initiative aimed at raising funds for a children’s home.
“On our last day we further interacted with the community through our Marketing Day, we had a lot of festivities through raising funds for a children’s home, as well as a successful car wash which show-cased team work and support by all delegates of the 2011 Lekgotla,” the KYN said in a statement..
The KYN concluded in their statement by saying, “Lekgotla 2011 would have not been a success without the participation of all the different student organisations in the country that were present, a therapist who reminded us to take care of ourselves, and the facilitators who took their time to help us form sound knowledge.”
The Kaleidoscope Youth Network was born out of an idea in 2007 by a committee member of ACTIVATE Wits. This was then followed by the implementation process, which was the followed by the inaugural Youth LGBTI A Lekgotla which was held at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and hosted by ACTIVATE Wits, the LGBTI student society at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
The first Lekgotla was then held in 2008, at the University of Rhodes (located in Grahamstown in the eastern cape Province of South Africa), hosted by OUT Rhodes. In 2009, the University of Cape Town’s Rainbow UCT hosted the Lekgotla and the KYN was launched. The 2010 Lekgotla was hosted by UP&OUT at the University of Pretoria.
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