By Catherine Torrington
This article is exclusive to Online Edition 10 of VARSITY.
“Rainbow Week” just took place at UCT: a week where diversity and inclusivity were celebrated. Throughout the week, various events took place on campus, including a screening of Inxeba (The Wound), panel discussions on decriminalising sex work and queerness in sport and a gay pride march during meridian.
— Seoul (@Robae_X) October 12, 2018
The week was organized hot on the heels of the commencement of UCT’s brand new Inclusivity Policy: a policy which actively seeks to protect queer individuals on campus. Under the new policy, students can be excluded for discrimination against other students on the basis of their sexuality. The full policy report can be found here.
VARSITY news spoke to Robyn-Lee Tobias, the incoming chairperson of Rainbow UCT for 2019, who said: “Rainbow Week has been amazing. The events planned have catered to a vast amount of people and have been celebrating our various diversities as a community. At the end of the week, it is easy to feel exhausted from all the planning and involvement but I have felt more happy and even rejuvenated from all the energy I have received from our members and even non-members during the week.”
Out in Africa, an organisation which screens gay and lesbian films across South Africa, also took part in Rainbow Week. When asked about their experience of Rainbow Week, the director of Out in Africa said: “It was such a pleasure to work with so many focussed and dedicated people and organisations on these events – African Gender Unit, Rainbow UCT, Filmsoc, Young Wom?n’s Leadership group.”
The Sporting Union on campus also took part in Rainbow week. Transformation Representative, Bronwyn White, said that the highlight for her was the panel discussion on queerness in sport. “ I hope it can be the start of broader and more regular engagement between Rainbow UCT and the SSU!” she is quoted saying. She added that sport at UCT required transformation, and that the response from the sporting community had been underwhelming. “ Creating space for marginalised voices to be heard within our sports clubs is a huge challenge. But we’ve gotten to a point where that challenge is now a very prominent part of the agenda for SSU and for Sports & Rec, so I’m hopeful that transformation and inclusivity in our clubs is really going to pick up speed over the next few years,” she said.
Overall, many people agree that Rainbow Week was an outstanding success. Most events were well-attended, and the sense of togetherness and inclusion was prevalent on campus all week. This is summed up by Robyn-Lee Tobias, who said: “The highlight of the week for me, personally, was the Pride March. The amount of people that came to join in was uplifting and there was a march from SACM students as well that joined us here at upper. UCT Radio had set up a beautiful booth outside the café and that only added to the beautiful and celebratory march and day overall.” The Facebook page for Rainbow UCT can be found here. Follow them for more events celebrating inclusivity at UCT.
Thank you to everyone who made this #RainbowWeek the most successful one yet. May we never stop celebrating ourselves and our identities. Yours in big love and big queer energy, the 2018 Rainbow Comm ❤️?????
— RainbowUCT (@rainbowuct) October 13, 2018