In January 2015, lawyer, social justice advocate, choreographer, dancer, director and musician and fundraiser Nate Freeman began a 12 000 km journey across the African continent. He began cycling from Cairo to Cape Town to raise awareness and support for LGBT rights in Africa.
The initiative is aimed at identifying and funding non-profit organisations across the continent that are fighting discrimination and advocating for the protection of LGBT people.
Freeman named his bicycle after the late iconic South African apartheid and LGBT freedom fighter and co-founder of Johannesburg Pride, Simon Nkoli.
He revealed that he was inspired to make a difference by the stories of corrective rape, harassment and imprisonment he came across during his visits to South Africa as well as the murder of activist David Kato in Uganda.
He also had the idea for the project after coming to South Africa to work for Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron as a foreign law researcher. He was inspired by Cameron’s writing and by his example as an openly gay and HIV-positive public figure.
Nate is currently in Namibia and has approximately 1520 km to go. He has covered a distance of 10 480 km and has had 25 days of rest and 82 days on the bike. (Track Nate’s progress until his expected date of arrival – 9 May – here: www.outinafricaride.org.)
Out in Africa Ride identified two local non-profits that it will target for its fundraising:
Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), a Kampala-based non-profit that has been instrumental in the successful campaign to overturn Uganda’s harsh Anti-Homosexuality Act.
The Gay and Lesbian Network (GLN), an organisation based in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal South Africa. The group offers a helpline service to LGBT people and engages in outreach with the surrounding community, meeting with religious leaders, police and healthcare practitioners to facilitate awareness and sensitivity to LGBT issues.