Journeys of Faith

Journeys of Faith is a fifteen-panel exhibition developed by Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA) and the Apartheid Museum.
It tells the stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in South Africa who have struggled to reconcile their religious beliefs with their sexual orientation or gender identity. The stories come both from individuals and from those holding leadership positions within faith-based organisations.
The exhibition draws attention to religious institutions that continue to provide a safe haven for LGBTI members to practise and negotiate their faith. By sharing these stories, Journeys of Faith demonstrates the power of acceptance and love, and dispels the myth that religion is, by nature, at odds with sexual and gender diversity.
The exhibition’s compelling narratives and striking portraits provide a range of perspectives, thus challenging viewers to rethink their own understandings of faith, diversity and human rights. The official opening took place in February and the exhibition is on display in the Round Room at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg until mid-June.

Navan Govender

Navan Govender
Associate Lecturer, Wits School of Education
“As a teenager dealing with my sexuality, I started rationalising that I don’t believe in God, mainly because I don’t think that any kind of higher power would put anyone through that kind of internal struggle.”

Thabisile Msezane

Thabisile Msezane
Leader of the SACC Women’s Group
“We want to assure them that they are our children. The abuse and rejection that they experience comes from their own families, their own mothers. That’s where church women come in, helping the mothers to understand.”

Nazmah

Nazmah
Stylist
“My sexuality doesn’t determine my religion. In any religion, when you pray to God it’s not about your physical body, it’s about being in contact with God, with your mind and your soul.”

Sally Gross

Sally Gross
Former Dominican friar and intersex activist [1953 – 2014]
“I was ostracised, stripped of status and even identity, and forbidden to exercise my vocation.”

Mshengu Muzi Tshabalala

Mshengu Muzi Tshabalala
Founder and Presiding Bishop – Believers in Christ
“LGBTI people need to be seen participating in the church, like all other church members.”

Zane Nkunzi

Zean Nkunzi Nkabinde
Sangoma and Human Rights Activist
“When I think about my life I realise that I felt the presence of my ancestors at a young age. They were always with me.”

Rev Nokuthula Dhladhla

Reverend Nokuthula Dhladhla
Pastor for Metropolitan Community Churches
“I started having a burning need to work for God … It felt good to preach and bring hope to those who have lost hope. I stopped worrying about my sexuality; I had found a way to somehow make the two work together, and I was at peace.”

Imam Muhsin Hendricks

Imam Muhsin Hendricks
Founder and Director of the Inner Circle
“Is it good Muslim practice to disregard someone who is different from the mainstream simply because they do not fit in with our interpretation of Islam?”