In February and March 2020, the FHR conducted education training in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal that addressed LGBTI+ issues, sexual orientation, human rights, xenophobia and racism. In Gauteng, the series of training for learners, senior district officials and educators was conducted in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Education and was held in all 15 DBE districts. In KwaZulu-Natal, Umtapo Centre (UMTAPO) was the implementing partner for FHR while the training was attended by community educators and teachers linked to the UMTAPO Human Rights Peace Clubs in 50 schools.
More than 1300 learners and educators participated in the workshops and more than 100 000 listeners and viewers were reached through media interviews. LGBTI+ issues remain of great concern as most teachers are not adequately prepared to handle the relevant dynamics and concepts. While there is a minority of learners in this category, some are open about their sexual orientation. FHR used the #Keepitconstitutional episodes on equality to address sexual orientation and identity issues linked to LGBTI+ matters. Learners did indicate that they will be setting up LGBTI+ clubs in an effort to create dialogue and campaign in their schools. Educators have committed to using the FHR’s #Keepitconstitutional material in subjects such as Life Orientation.
During the debriefing, the participants raised a number of issues. Shocked by the murder in February 2020 of Lindokuhle Cele, a LGBTI+ gender activist, one participant observed:
“South African government does not give the same attention to LGBTIQ+ crimes as compared to Women and Children”.
Cele was stabbed multiple times in public at an Umlazi butchery in what is believed to have been a hate crime. What also emerged from the debriefing was a sentiment that schools have to be more open to collaborate with activists as:
“teachers don’t teach on how to respect LGBTIQ+ rights due to the stigma and uninformed cultural perceptions”. unknown