Ruffling feathers for a cause

SOCIALITE OF THE YEAR Transgender activist and publicist Yaya Mavundla
SOCIALITE OF THE YEAR Transgender activist and publicist Yaya Mavundla

It’s been 10 years since the Feather Awards were launched and on Thursday night we gathered at the Johannesburg City Hall to celebrate a decade of the awards.

Event host Somizi Mhlongo opened the night with: “If you do not have a sense of humour, you are moody and oversensitive. Be like Madame [Evodia Mogase, from the Real Housewives of Johannesburg] and exit the hall.”

The night was filled with uproarious, scandalous commentary from Feathers veterans. Shade was thrown and juicy tittle-tattle was sprinkled liberally.

The awards featured a few enthralling categories – from I Attend Every Event, to Socialite of the Year and Hunk of the Year.

The ceremony was a moving reflection of the evolution that the platform has undergone in the past decade.

Joburg summer rain ruined the pink carpet and resulted in everyone running for cover, but surprisingly almost everyone turned up looking dashing.

Socialite of the Year award winner Yaya Mavundla told City Press: “For me it is not just about going to events, looking good and being a glamorous girl like I am; it is about representing the LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex] community because I feel like we are being dismissed.

"We still need to do more in teaching people about gay and transgendered people. I want to stop the notion of diagnosing people and name-calling.

"This award is not only for me, but it is for the people.”

The beauty of the Feather Awards is that they focus on building the LGBTI community and creating dialogue in different communities.

Thami Kotlolo, co-founder of the Feather Awards, told the media before the awards: “I have been awed and inspired by the support that we have received from the community at large over the years.”

“There’s no way we would have made it this far without them. That said, it has not been easy either.

"We address issues that many consider sensitive and they’d rather play safe and not get involved, so we don’t take for granted the many artists, activists, public personalities, partners and sponsors who’ve been unwavering in their support.

"I can only thank them by promising to stay committed to the cause and ensuring that the Feathers go from strength to strength.

"We’ve only just gotten started, baby,” he said.

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