The Batho Ba Lorato Film Festival, which took place in February 2013, was Botswana’s first film festival to highlight the experiences of LGBTI persons from Botswana and around the world. The film festival featured a number of LGBTI movies and documentaries and concluded with a panel discussion with debates on homosexuality and inclusion taking center stage.
The film festival did not seek to promote homosexuality, but rather sought to create awareness and promote love, respect, tolerance, compassion and appreciation between human beings.
The heterosexual community rarely gets an opportunity to hear the stories of people affected by homophobia and transphobia; of parents who have a gay child in their family; of people who are transgender or intersex; or of people who are gay or lesbian and Christian. The films, were specially selected to help straight people learn more about LGBTI issues.
Batho Ba Lorato is the third LGBTI film festival on the African continent after South Africa’s Out In Africa Film Festival and Kenya’s Queer Film Festival.
Some of the documentaries and films included Voices of Witness Africa, a documentary in which LGBT Africans talk frankly about their lives and their relationships with God and the church; Difficult Love, Zanele Muholi’s highly personal take on the challenges facing black lesbians in South Africa; Scars On My Body which is part of the “Exquisite Gender” series commissioned by Gender Dynamix in South Africa. Brother Outsider introduced millions of viewers around the world to the life and work of Bayard Rustin—a visionary strategist and activist who has been called “the unknown hero” of the American civil rights movement. Others included Life Experiences of LGBTI in Botswana, a documentary of LGBT persons in Botswana while the award winning Dee Rees film Pariah offered an insight into a young black lesbian’s journey of self discovery.
The film festival was made possible through the efforts of Out In Africa Gay & Lesbian Film Festivals South Africa, Gender Dynamix South Africa, Rainbow Identity in Botswana, Focus Features and The Envisioning LGBT Human Rights Project who produced the first short film, Life Experiences of LGBTI in Botswana – this short documentary explains the origins of the group LEGABIBO, explores the life of LGBTI in Botswana and briefly touches on the one court case in the country’s history where a man was prosecuted for homosexual acts.
Special thanks also goes to filmmakers Zanele Muholi, Dee Rees, Nancy Kates & Paul Lee as well as Liesl Theron from Gender Dynamix & Nodi Murphy from Out In Africa for their valuable contributions and assistance.
Thanks also to our presenters: Lame Olebile, Kalvin K Kol & Peach Kereemang and to our guest speakers: Tshepo Kgositau, Rev Dr Kelaotswe, Kgomotso Jongman, Dominic Bosekeng, Uyapo Ndadi, Jill Thompson, Dr Godisang Mookodi & Lame Olebile. All of them had unique and valuable perspectives well worth sharing.
We also need to thank the University of Botswana for their cooperation in providing us with a venue to hold the festival. And finally, we need to give a huge thank you to the team of volunteer students and LEGABIBO members who gave up a lot of time to make it all happen, as well as the audiences who came and participated. By making contributions to discussions, by having their picture taken with a poster or sign supporting LGBTI equality and by sharing stories with others about the festival, they helped to make Botswana a little more friendly, open and accepting for Batswana who are LGBTI.
Local Press Coverage from Mmegi:
Checkout our Photostream of the event.
- Despite criminalization homosexual acts Botswana educates through LGBTI film festival (dailyqueernews.wordpress.com)
- Despite criminalization homosexual acts Botswana educates through LGBTI film festival (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
- Despite criminalization homosexual acts Botswana educates through LGBTI film festival (lgbtgamer.com)