For the first time in its 22 years of existence, an ILGA World Conference was held on the African continent. T his is the second time a southern hemisphere country hosts an ILGA Conference, the first one being the 1995 conference in Brazil. The theme of the XIX Conference was “Building Partnerships for Equality” , and it was attended by 200 delegates from 40 countries all over the world; an event which confirms that ILGA has become a more truly international organisation of GLBT associations.
The conference Organising Committee were: Gays and Lesbians of Witwatersrand (GLOW), the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality (NCGLE) from South Africa; Gays and Lesbians from Zimbabwe (GALZ); Lesbians, Gays and Transgendered from Zambia (LEGATRA); Lesbians Gays and Bisexuals from Botswana (LEGABIBO) and the Rainbow Project from Namibia.
The conference progamme included a wide range of activities. An African pre-conference was hosted by ILGA San Francisco-based member, the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission, and was attended by 64 delegates from 8 African nations: Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Women’s pre-conference day gathered 80 women from all over the world, as did the pre-conference on religion, ideology and homophobia and the nearly 80 sessions in different formats (workshops, caucuses, panels, and plenary sessions) that addressed various issues for different purposes, including cultural events, such as the queer tour of Johannesburg or the gala hosted by the City Council, and the storytelling night that took place at the site of the conference. The conference was closed with the X Pride Parade, which this year saw a record of 20,000 participants and paid a special tribute to the late Simon Tseko Nkoli, an historic ILGA member and anti-apartheid activist who founded the Aids Township Project in his own country.
This conference has brought representatives from all regions,including groups that are often underrepresented. Sixty Africans made the largest regional representation, while 45% of the delegates were women. ILGA organisers set a historic record in providing 31 scholarships to participants from countries like Cuba, China, Sri Lanka, India, Jamaica and Brazil.
The plenary elected as Secretaries General :
Gays and Lesbians of Witwatersrand – South Africa
UNISON – United Kingdom