South African trainee fights for LGBTI political inclusion

Victory Institute international program trainee Mpho Buntse is leading a historic effort to increase LGBTQ representation in South Africa’s main political party, the African National Congress.

A graduate of Triangle Project and Victory Institute’s LGBTI Political Leadership Learning Institute, Buntse is making headlines for leading a group in support of a formal LGBTI structure within the ANC. According to South African sources, Buntse is fighting for an ANC LGBTI desk in order to push the party to formalize a national structure that can become “a safe space and platform for sexual minorities.”

To garner support for this initiative, Buntse and other LGBTI ANC supporters proposed marching to the Luthuli House, the headquarters of the ANC, on Friday, September 15, a move that was later cancelled after Buntse and LGBTI ANC allies met with the party’s Johannesburg Region to discuss the matter. According to MambaOnline, it was announced that the ANC Johannesburg Region agreed to start the party’s first LGBTI desk, similar to the party’s other formal structures such as the women’s desk and the youth desk. The ANC’s LGBTI desk will be the first of its kind to address issues specifically affecting LGBTI ANC members and LGBTI communities within South Africa. Buntse hopes the regional desk will serve as a pilot for a national structure.

The creation of an ANC LGBTI desk is a significant step toward increasing the political participation of South Africa’s LGBTI community. Just last month, South African LGBTI leaders, including Buntse, graduated from a four-module LGBTI Political Leadership Learning Institute hosted by Victory Institute and Triangle Project. The program worked to strengthen South African LGBTI leadership and provide participants with the tools to advance equality through the democratic process and interactions with political institutions. Triangle Project and Victory Institute will be following the developments of Buntse’s efforts and continue to provide technical assistance.