Lesotho Commemorates the Transgender Day of Remembrance

On Friday 18 November 2022, as part of our support of Human Rights in Lesotho, The Hub joined Lesotho’s LGTBQI+ advocacy organisation, The People’s Matrix Association, in a commemoration of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The day began with a peaceful march through the centre of Maseru, starting at Setsoto Stadium and ending at Victoria Hotel. A procession of LGBTQI+-identifying Basotho and allies walked peacefully together in solidarity through the streets, with the majority of participants dressed in symbolic black attire, interspersed with the bright colours of rainbow and transgender flags.

At Victoria Hotel, the group congregated in a large hall decorated with rainbow flags and banners. An important moment in the day was when all of the lights were dimmed and attendees held lit candles, sang together, and observed a shared moment of silence in remembrance of transgender-identifying people who have suffered from discrimination and violence.

Giselle Ratalane, Project Coordinator at the People’s Matrix Association, spoke of the numerous challenges faced by transgender-identifying Basotho. Ratalane explained that ‘one in three transgender people in Lesotho (36 percent) has been denied access to health care.

’This is in part due to the many hurdles that transgender Basotho face when attempting to apply for legal gender recognition. Although Lesotho’s legal framework does allow for this, Ratalane commented on the fact that ‘outdated terminology, inconsistencies, and a lack of guidelines limit the ability of transgender persons to successfully apply for legal gender recognition on their identity documents.’

– Giselle Ratalane

‘It was wonderful to have so many people here today,’ said Ratalane, ‘and to have so many transgender people coming out for the day visibly, publicly, and also proudly. It’s not easy in Lesotho today to be somebody who is visibly cross-dressing or expressing yourself differently from what is expected. We still get a backlash in what continues to be a very patriarchal society. This leads to many instances of violence, discrimination, and harassment. But even with these challenges, so many transgender people are choosing to publicly appear at events like today’s, which is really important.’

Founded in 2008, the People’s Matrix Association has been at the forefront of pressing for equal rights for LGBTQI+-identifying Basotho. Commenting on the organisation’s future advocacy plans for transgender rights, Ratalane spoke of immediate plans following the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

‘We are working with strategic stakeholders in both the NGO space and the government to discuss legal gender recognition. We’re hoping to work together with the government to modify laws and adopt a bill for the protection of transgender people. This will help transgender people in Lesotho to get their gender markers changed without any of the hurdles that they currently face today.’ 

Photos from the day

Hearing screenings by Kutlong Centre For Hearing

On November 11, 2002, The Hub hosted Kutlong Centre For Hearing for free hearing screenings for parents and guardians of Skills & Soup participants, and members of the community.

We were overwhelmed by the number of people who came to look for the services, making it clear that they are needed services!

58 people received hearing screenings by Kutlong Centre For Hearing at The Hub

Some of the participants requested to include eye tests as well. The Hub held a blood donation drive in 2020, and we are now looking into making an annual event for free health services. Contact us if you would like to be involved!

Special thanks to Kutlong Centre For Hearing!

MIL Connect

From October 24-28, 2022, The Hub partook in MIL Connect, a collaborating event organised by DW Akademie, including a Media and Information Literacy (MIL) exchange, lively discussions, an MIL exhibition and creation of MIL products aimed at addressing the need for MIL education in the SADC region.

DW Akademie has been working with The Hub and other partners in Namibia and SADC to make MIL education accessible to youth from all corners of the region, as we believe it to be critical competencies to navigate through today’s information eco-systems.

The week also included the launch of an open-source MIL Content Hub, a website created by DW Akademie and a group of organisations including The Hub from SADC countries that are passionate about empowering our citizens with Media and Information Literacy skills.

We strongly believe that MIL skills will enable the citizens of our countries and communities to make informed decisions that can enrich and better their lives. We therefore strongly advocate for MIL in our societies. We have developed and tested a wide variety of educational MIL material, using the expertise within our organisations.

Are you at school or university?

and you want to understand where ‘news’ comes from? Or do you have questions about the social media you use: how safe is it? Or how you can better use your social media to share ideas and activities with friends and classmates?

Are you a teacher, or an educator?

planning for a project and want information about the mechanisms behind news and information, and social media? Do you need interactive class sessions about news, information, and social media? Are you looking for playful yet insightful activities for your classes about Media and Information Literacy?

Are you an organisation that works with Media and Information?

that advocates for freedom of speech, for the right to access information, for Internet safety, etc. and you are looking for campaign ideas based on Media and Information Literacy principles?

The Media and Information Literacy Content Hub offers you a range of resources that will assist you with these questions.

Visit the MIL Content Hub!

Spaces of Solidarity

From October 20-22, 2022, Maleshoane Mohanoe represented The Hub at Spaces of Solidarity (SoS) meeting in Johannesburg. An SoS Forum was founded by the 21 organisations that attended the meeting.

From this space, the organisations reaffirmed the commitment to the following:

  • freedom of expression
  • free access to information
  • free civic space
  • safety and security of journalists
  • safe and free exchange in the digital sphere in Southern Africa.

Such commitment is founded on regional and international instruments and standards and more specifically, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The SoS Forum seeks to promote co-ordination, collaboration and advocacy within the Southern African region aimed at addressing the following four thematic issues:

  • shrinking civic space
  • access to information
  • cyber security regulation
  • safety of journalists

The SoS Forum is committed to:

  1. Work together in solidarity to support, develop and strengthen resilient media systems in Southern Africa.
  2. Develop a new support mechanism for collaborative campaign work on the basis of the Spaces of Solidarity meeting to highlight attacks on free speech and media freedom, including using key anniversary dates like World Press Freedom Day (3 May).
  3. Take effective steps to analyse trends on media freedom in the region, identify emerging issues, build coalitions of campaigners around threats on media freedoms and campaigning to end these together.
  4. Provide a platform to advocate for improved safety of journalists, expansion of civil space and enhanced cyber security.
  5. Reaffirm the importance of access to information laws as enabling legislation from which other rights may be enjoyed.
  6. Support like-minded organisations in advocacy for access to information, safety of journalists, digital rights, and an improved civil society space.
  7. Undertake monitoring, advocacy, research, policy development, awareness raising, on access to information legislation, cybersecurity, digital rights and the safety of journalists.
  8. Reiterate our commitment to working together to ensure the effective realisation of the commitments outlined in these resolutions.

Many thanks to DW Akademie for inviting The Hub!

World Cleanup Day 2022

To commemorate World Cleanup Day 2022, we brought our 100 Skills & Soup participants for tours at Pheha Plastic in Morija.

Our theme for 2022 was ‘REFUSE’, ‘REDUCE’ and ‘RECYCLE’, especially for single use plastic, and thinking about a future where we don’t need cleanup campaigns.

Although Skills & Soup participants have been participating in environmental education, the tours allowed the participants to experience recycling hands-on, and see waste transform into a valuable item.

Through the tours, the participants gained a deeper understanding of the potential of a circular economy in our community. Increasing awareness of the value of recycled plastic can help reduce the amount that ends up in our rivers, and eventually the ocean.

Special thanks to Pheha Plastic for hosting us all week, and to Glasswaters Foundation for their support! Big thanks also to Vodacom Lesotho Foundation and European Union in Lesotho for sponsoring incredible prizes for our participants, given out as rewards for good participation and answering difficult questions about what they have learned!

The Hub’s experience with cleanup campaigns: