South Africa’s Jozi Cats, the first gay rugby team in africa, is using provocative advertising campaign to recruit members to its club.
In the macho world of sports, it’s not easy to be openly gay — and insults like these make it difficult to come out in the locker room.
But one fledgling rugby team is using such stereotypes to not only create awareness of homophobia, but to promote itself as a safe haven for those who don’t feel comfortable with the game’s culture.
Formed this year, Johannesburg-based Jozi Cats is Africa’s first
gay rugby team — and its provocative marketing campaign has had a greater impact than its members ever dreamed possible.
“The feedback has been phenomenal. I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone global. Our behind-the-scenes video has been seen in 126 countries, the support has been incredible,” Chris Verrijdt
, who devised the campaign, tells CNN.
Homosexuality is outlawed in many African countries, but that is not the case in South Africa. However, an Amnesty International report
pointed to at least seven murders in what appeared to be homophobic attacks between June and November 2012. Five of the victims were lesbians.
“We said let’s do something that takes gay stereotypes and turns them on their heads, and ask the question, like ‘Are you or aren’t you?’ We don’t actually mind if you are or you’re not, we just need players,” Verrijdt adds.
“We had to use words — traditional gay slurs — which didn’t need translation to the broader straight community, which people would get without too much explanation. So that’s why we went to our six gay stereotypes.”
The club’s main goal was to recruit new players, its chairman Teveshan Kuni says, but the campaign ended up creating something much more powerful.