WINDHOEK, DEC 7 – “Inclusivity and representation are paramount to social and economic development”, according to young South African activist and philanthropist, Tony McPherson, who recently spent the week in Namibia campaigning for LGBTIQA+ rights.
In a pre-cursor to McPherson’s arrival, last month Swapo parliamentarian Jerry Ekandjo lashed out at legalising same-sex marriages in the National Assembly which caused an outrage from the LGBTIQA+ community and its supporters.
McPherson was joined by Mr Gay World, Louw Breytenbach, in Namibia and the duo set out to create awareness of the stigma faced by the community, and campaign for equal rights regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Chris de Villiers, Chairman of Out & Proud Namibia – of which Breytenbach is an ambassador – said, “Out & Proud Namibia promises that we will be taking hands with our associated partners in the fight for equality. No freedom unless everyone is equal.”
McPherson met with President Hage Geingob during his visit in the country where they discussed the HPP2 (Harambe Prosperity Plan V2), including economic and social development. Whilst questions surround LGBTIQA+ rights were not answered, according to a press release from Pulse Communications on Tuesday, McPherson maintained that you cannot have social and economic development without inclusivity and representation – for all.
On his agenda, McPherson also engaged with various members of the community in Windhoek, including artists, corporations, and activists, including Namibia Equal Rights Movement, to better comprehend the issues faced in the country and how best to support the community through campaigning and awareness.
Louw and McPherson also met with the Law Reform and Development Commission (Ministry of Justice) which deemed successful as they spoke about the abolishment of the common law offences of Sodomy & Unnatural Sexual Offences. Various acts and legislature regarding the LGBTIQA+ community, as well as the domestic violence act in Namibia. Raising their positions as South Africans, the duo gave the commission their support on their report which will be given to Parliament.
Leading the Pride Parade with Breytenbach, which saw the largest turnout for Namibian pride ever, McPherson proudly signed a petition to abolish the sodomy law, as well as wrote a letter to the President, which will be delivered to his office.
“This doesn’t stop here. There is immense strength in community and in numbers, and I have pledged my support to keep fighting for equal rights in Namibia, and to help our neighbours where I am needed. This should not be a local issue, but an international one and therefore needs international support”, concludes McPherson. – firstname.lastname@example.org