In 2011 and 2012, I participated in the International Training Programme: LGBT and Human Right Course organised by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). The training took place in Stockholm and Cape town respectively. During this great training, there was a lot to learn which I did and the programme also provided enormous opportunities for networking. At the end of the programme participants were excited to share with other participants what they were doing. Not only knowledge was shared but souvenirs . Among the different things we exchanged were key holders, notebooks, pens and T-Shirts with insignia of our various organisations.
Among the several gifts I received from other organisations was a T-shirt. This T-Shirt is 6 years old. Even though I have washed it several times and it has started fading, I am still struggling to keep it well because each time I put it on I have a question to answer. It simply speaks volumes. The T-Shirt which I received from the Coalition of Africa Lesbians simply reads;
AFRICA your Silence is LOUD
Speak Out Against
When I collected this T-Shirt it was like any other T-Shirt. I was familiar with the concepts on it so it was just another T-Shirt to add to my wardrobe. For the past six years, each time I have put on this t-shirt someone is interested on what is written on it. A few weeks ago I had to raise awareness on what patriarchy, homophiobia and transphobia is all about in a gathering. I had walk into a community gathering putting on this special T-Shirt of mine. Some people suddenly became interested on what was written on. Several of them started asking questions. Given that a majority of them were men, this gave me a good opportunity to highlight the injustices women and other gender categories suffer as a result of patriarchy, homophobia and Transphobia. Women have suffered a lot and its now time for them to speak out. Some made jokes at my efforts to pass the message across but I was really happy because my T-Shirt created an opportunity so I could talk to men who would rarely have the opportunity to be schooled on the importance of gender equality. I am looking forward to another chance to continue with my awareness raising campaign. I am glad my T-Shirt is always a trigger for a discussion on gender discrimination and the importance of building inclusive societies that gives everyone the possibility to live life to the fullest.