Veteran actress Connie Chiume was on Thursday nominated for her first Feather Award in recognition of her role as an ally to the LGBTIQ+ community.
During the announcement of the 12th annual Feather Awards nominees in Mushroom Farm Park in Sandown, Johannesburg, Feathers co-founder Thami Kotlolo – who is fondly known as Thami Dish – told City Press that the organisation is not just about the awards, but about educating people about the struggles faced by the LGBTIQ+ community.
“Some of the people who are nominated know that they are appreciated by the queer community, but they don’t know what responsibility there is thereafter for them to carry our flag up high, to stand up for human rights and to stand up for total equality and freedom for all.
“Ausi Connie has been an ally for the longest of time and she is in many spaces. We, as the queer community, are aware of that and what this nomination does is that it allows her to lean in more and understand the real issues that queer people experience and do the most,” said Kotlolo.
On accepting her nomination, Chiume said she could not be prouder.
She was nominated in the Diva Extraordinaire of the Year category alongside Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu as well as model and entertainer Refilwe Modiselle.
“This was my first nomination. Any nomination means a lot to the nominee. To see that you are being recognised for your talents, for your job, and being recognised for the support of human rights,” Chiume said.
“As someone in the acting industry, I have worked with a number of talented individuals in the community gathered here today who have contributed to my successes and wellbeing.”
Chiume, who currently plays Mam’Sonto on the hit soapie Gomora, says she is and will always be grateful for the support she has received over the years.
“South Africa has a pool of talented actors and actresses as well as media personalities, and not just those who were nominated here today.
“It is important to realise that anyone who is under the sun was created by God and has the right to co-exist with everybody else on this earth.”
Springbok Captain Siya Kolisi, who led the rugby national team to Rugby World Cup victory last year, his teammate Makazole Mapimpi and Netball Proteas captain Bongiwe Msomi will be vying for Sports Personality of the Year.
Another much-anticipated category is the Media Award of the Year, in which programmes such as Yim’ Lo, in which TV personality Dineo Ranaka helps people come clean to their loved ones about the double lives they lead; the hugely celebrated Netflix Original web series Blood & Water; and the award-winning telenovela The River.
Feather Awards public relations manager Melanie Ramjee told City Press that while it was confirmed that the awards would take place next month, the organisation could not as yet disclose the venue, presenters or performers of the night.
Last year’s show was hosted by media personalities Moshe Ndiki and Pabi Moloi, as well as actress Rami Chuene.
“We want to keep the excitement and momentum going before the show, which will take place on November 11,” she said.
“So the presenters, MCs and live performances of the night will be announced at a later stage.”
Having been a voice for the LGBTIQ+ community for more than a decade, last year the Feathers took things to the next level by extending celebrations beyond just an awards evening.
The organisation launched the Feathers Festival, which is dedicated to celebrating the LGBTIQ+ community through the arts.