GHMCC Newsletter for July 2012
In this issue
- Meditation: Mourning for Change
- Important Date: 29 July 2012
- Reflection on Rwanda
- Library News
- Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 27 July to 5 August
- Film Making Seminar with Rikki Beadle Blair
In between the rain and cold, we experience some perfect winter's days in Cape Town: A spotless sky painted with fresh hues of blue and only feathery reminders of clouds here and there. On such a day, we celebrated Mandela Day this year with the intention to spend 67 minutes of one's precious time doing voluntary work of some kind.
The 67 minutes refer to the 67 years which Nelson Mandela spent in public life, devoted to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa. There was a myriad of activities across the globe once again this year, aiming to inspire people to act for change.
The United States has a better developed volunteer tradition with their Peace Corps, but Mandela Day links on to a proposal made in the final report of our Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to nurture such a culture also in our society, so responding to its many needs.
The LGBTI South African community wanted to respond to this call for action by "mourning a spate of homophobic murders and mutilations that has claimed at least eight LGBTI persons across the country in the last month", according to a press release by the Gay Flag of South Africa.
"A young gay man was mutilated and killed in Kuruman, a reverend's son was murdered and set alight in Milnerton, a young lesbian was shot and killed in front of her grandmother in Nyanga, a young lesbian was shot and killed in front of her gate in Soweto and a transwoman was stabbed in her chest and died in Wynberg".
In the spirit of Mandela's legacy and protest for human rights, 67 minutes of mourning were therefore commemorated through marches in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
On the spotless day in Cape Town the procession took place from St George's Cathedral, the "People's Cathedral", down St George's Mall to the ANC's offices in Thibault Square. I was handed the one corner of a banner as we started processing down the Mall. Our banner read something like: "Gay rights are human rights". Another said: "How many LGBTI's has to die before hate is a crime?" Simple but clear messages to the passers by and to the ruling party, to whom a memorandum was delivered. It was a necessary reminder of who we are and what we want.
When toyi-toyi-ing, I'm always wishing for a workshop presented by our black sister and brother comrades to teach their white counterparts how to toyi-toyi. But what a wonderful experience to be knitted into this colourful and moving scarf snaking down St George's Mall! It exudes positivity and energy along with the persecution experienced by the LGBTI community. Young, black lesbians from the townships are proudly making themselves visible and heard. Their voices will not be drowned out! White and coloured gay guys are strengthening their ranks. We will not allow our spirits to be broken because of this! "Never give up" rings in my ears.
I feel empowered by the strength and courage of these sisters and brothers of mine. Together we are weaving a new society. And this weave is in the colours of our rainbow nation.
On 29 July 2012 Alan Storey will be preaching and the Pastoral Search Committee will give feedback in a congregational meeting after the service. There will also be some exiting news about a possible new venue for the church.
Alan is the courageous priest who marched with us in this year's Cape Town Pride. He feels strongly that the LGBTI community has been given a raw deal by the church. This is the first time he has preached at our church. Come and show him your support and encourage him in the stand that he is taking.
"There will be no humanity without forgiveness. There will be no forgiveness without justice. But justice will be impossible without humanity." Yolande Mukagasana
Count your blessings name them one by one Count your blessings see what God has done ....and Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.....
I stood outside the genocide museum. It was beautifully cool.
These two songs played one after the other. I had just been exposed to one of the most awful genocides in pictures, in words, in visual telling of personal stories of escape and of brutality. Of how rape, mutilation and knowingly infecting women with HIV - were all weapons of mass destruction....blessings, amazing grace?
The amazing-ness and blessing for me, is being able to work and meet people in rural communities, people who have experienced multiple traumas, who have witnessed bodies piled one on top of another, who will take a lifetime to heal, if ever and who still use their life for good ...people who just get by ~ yet nothing else in the world matters except making a difference in and for their communities. People whose calling and life work is not about the material - it's about the essence, the soul, the spirit of their being human and of their neighbour being human too.
This seemed in such stark contrast to what I had just evidenced at the memorial museum. How could it be that there were so many I met, expressed the fact this Rwanda is going to be different? There seemed nobody in this place whose life was not severely impacted by the genocide. So many expressed the fact that their children and children's children must never ever experience this. How is it that there appeared to be no great divide left over and when asked, people would say that they will never forget but this is the time for rebuilding. Perhaps the saying from a documentary made about the country that says, "God may travel the world throughout the day but God sleeps in Rwanda." ...may not be far from the truth.
To enter a little dirt floor space for a time of worship with people who worship with such joy, where nothing is scripted - it is pure spontaneity - where children form an integral part of worship, coming to the front, singing, dancing being who they were created to be. Many of these children have no parents but adults in the village take care of those who need caring for.
Whilst the city reeks of poverty, the villages are remote and extremely poor materially - they are rich in ways we cannot even begin to imagine.
It's not about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender - it is about being human.
I think of those lesbian, gay and transgender members of our community who have been murdered and the recent spate of more murders and I think of the statement by Rwandan genocide survivor Felicien Ntagengwa ... "If you knew me and you really knew yourself, you would not have killed me".
What do we do to each other!
Andre Carl van der Merwe donated another hard copy of his book "Moffie" to the church library. He is currently in Italy launching the Italian version of his novel. His book is now also available in electronic format. See www.andrecarlvandermerwe.com for details.
The second instalment of the 19th Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival runs from 27 July-5 August in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Highlights include Documentaries on activists Funeka Soldaat and Judith Kotze.
Keep The Lights On, the 2012 Berlin Teddy Award winner for Best Feature, leads an impressive lineup for the second instalment of the 19th Out in Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, running from 27 July-5 August in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Directed by former Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Ira Sachs (Forty Shades of Blue), Keep The Lights On is a New York love story about a sex-addicted filmmaker and a cokehead literary lawyer. Salon's Andrew O'Hehir called Keep The Lights On "an instant landmark in gay cinema and easily the finest dramatic film I saw at Sundance this year."
In the multi-award-winning Cloudburst, Oscar-winners Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck, Tales of the City) and Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot) star as an aging lesbian couple who take to the road when one is committed to a nursing home. Wickedly funny, these older Thelma-and-Louises are for everyone.
Three (Drei), directed by Tom Twyker, is another highlight. Twyker is one of the world's most acclaimed directors, responsible for cult films like Run Lola Run, Perfume and The International. He's already won seven international awards for Three, the deceptively simple story of a couple falling in love with the same man. Simon and his lover Hanna meet and have an affair with Adam separately, neither initially aware of the others infidelity. Unashamedly intellectual, 3 is for the thinking queer, tired of the coming out stories and the Hollywood pink of mainstream gay cinema.
Kaboom, directed by Gregg Araki (Mysterious Skin), won the first ever Queer Palme at Cannes International Film Festival for its contribution to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex issues. It's a quirky, entirely bizarre dark comedy that's part David Lynch, part Glee, and all about sex.
Director Rikkie Beadle-Blair will attend the festival for the screening of Bashment, which explores the aftermath of a brutal gay bash attack at a reggae dance hall competition in London. He's conducting filmmaking seminars at The Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking in both Cape Town and Johannesburg.
This year's South African programme includes two documentaries from the I Am Woman – Leap of Faith series: Funeka Soldaat, about the intersex activist who heads up the Free Gender movement, and Judith Kotzé, about the convener of the Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM).
These screen together with two great local short films: Daniel McCauley's Letting Go and Corné Koegelenberg's Welkom By Die Schoemans.
Other must-see films include Ausente (Absent), an Argentinian suspense thriller about an older straight man being oursued by one of his students. It won the 2011 Berlinale Teddy Award; The Skinny, about the loves and losses of a group of black men, and a lesbian, who reunite in the Big Apple, is from the director of the ever-popular Noah's Arc TV series; and Stud Life, a new Brit film that intertwines the love stories of two best friends, a cool black butch and a sharp white twink boy.
Out In Africa screens at Nu Metro V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and Nu Metro Hyde Park in Johannesburg.
For the second year in a row, Out In Africa is running three mini-festivals in 2012, with the third edition scheduled for 17-28 October 2012.
The film festival is screening in smaller cinemas, so book early to avoid disappointment. You can book tickets at any NuMetro cinema, online on the NuMetro website (www.numetro.co.za) or via the call centre 0861 CINEMA (246 362).
Rikki Beadle Blair, a multi-talented writer, theatre and film director, choreographer and musician, attends the Festival courtesy of the British Council.
Beadle Blair will screen his latest film Bashment and conduct Filmmaking Seminars at the Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking in both Jozi and Cape Town.
Jozi, Monday 30 July 9am to 12.30pm, Big Fish, 4th Floor, 25 Owl Street, Auckland Park Bashment will screen first (9am-11am) followed by the seminar (11am - 12.30pm).
Cape Town, Friday 3 August 1pm to 4.30pm. , Big Fish, 1st Floor, The Foundry Unit 109D, Cardiff St, Green Point. Bashment will screen first (1pm-3pm) followed by the seminar (3pm-4.30pm).