President Ramaphosa includes LGBT in inauguration speech

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation, announcing his Cabinet for the South African 6th administration at the Union Buildings. South Africa. 29/05/2019. Siyabulela Duda
Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as South Africa’s 5th democratically elected president on Saturday, May 25, where he shared his vision for the country and its inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community.

“All South Africans yearn for a society defined by equality, by solidarity, by a shared humanity,” said Ramaphosa.

“They yearn for a society in which our worth is determined by how we value others”.

His inauguration coincided with Africa Day and it’s worth noting that it’s a rare occasion whereby an African leader welcomes lesbian, gay and queer affirming members of the community. Ramaphosa praised the country’s Constitution for being the first in the world to provide protection from
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“Our Constitution – the basic law of our land – continues to guide our way even at the darkest hour,” he said. Ramaphosa expressed his wishes for South Africa, a nation that is non-racial, belongs to all and affirms true gender equality.

“Let us end the dominion that men claim over women, the denial of opportunity, the abuse and the violence, the neglect, and the disregard of each person’s equal rights,” said Ramaphosa.

“Let us build a society that protects and values those who are vulnerable and who for too long have been rendered marginal,” he continued. 

“A society where disability is no impediment, where there is tolerance, and where no person is judged on their sexual orientation, where no person suffers prejudice because of the colour of their skin, the language of their birth or their country of origin”.

In 1994, Nelson Mandela also referred to ending discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Ramaphosa addressed the nation and delivered his inauguration to a number of African leaders, many of whom preside over nations in which their LGBT citizens are arrested, stigmatised and discriminated against.

President Ramaphosa has a great record of embracing the LGBT community. He warmly welcomed delegates of Mr Gay World 2019, which was held in Cape Town.

“On behalf of all South Africans, I wish to extend a warm welcome to delegates who have arrived in South Africa for the 2019 Mr Gay World event,” tweeted Ramaphosa.

“South Africa is pleased to host Mr Gay World delegates during #FreedomMonth.”