Concerning statistics on intolerance show that of the 76 countries that still criminalise same-sex relationships and behaviour 38 are African, according to The Conversation.
But in the wake of such outright hatred Motlatsi Motseoile (28), an entrepreneur, communications specialist and LGBTQ activist, refuses to cower at Africa’s strong anti-homosexuality sentiment, harsh laws and active discrimination.
As the Managing Director of Four Fellows Communications, Motseoile says, “My current work is inspired by where I have been. Through Four Fellows Communications, I get to communicate messages that impact thinking and behaviour. As an agency, we have positioned ourselves to communicate to niche markets, one of those being the LGBT community.”
The leader’s qualifications include a law degree from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), and title as was one of the top students that matriculated from Tembisa Secondary School.
Infographic by TYI
Remarkably, Motseoile is also the editor and founder of Grandeur Magazine (an online LGBTQ magazine) and curator of The Awesome 50 Annual List. Motseoile asserts, “After years of reading magazines and not seeing anything that spoke to me directly, I decided I had to be the change I wanted to see.”
“Through Four Fellows I have been able to do work with some major brands and organisations on campaigns and events that make an impact in lives. Grandeur has been able to create positive images and affirm the existence of African gay and bisexual men, on a continent that often persecutes our existence and lives,” he states.
Motseoile says the Awesome 50 seeks to focus on African LGBTI people who are doing amazing work that impacts the lives of LGBTI people, directly and indirectly. “This is important as there hasn’t been a platform of this sort, in the continent, that is clear and stern on celebrating LGBTI Africans across the continent. I am proud to be working on this,” he says.
He concedes that his journey has had plentiful challenges as do most emerging start-ups.
“Accessing markets, being able to sustain customer relationships and cash flow generation and management, are some of the challenges which have threatened the sustenance of my businesses. However, I have remained committed to the dream and the vision having started the business with three other partners and ultimately remaining as the only one leading and steering it on,” Motseoile admits.
His advice to young people: “Always remember why you started what you are into and stay committed to the dream even if you have to be flexible with the plan.”
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As we mark International Coming Out Day we are excited that our little family is growing. We can officially share that the inaugural #Awesome50 List will be published – to profile, celebrate and honour #LGBTIQ Africans whose work we admire! Follow @awesome50_lgbtq for regular updates and details!