GALZ Chaiperson, Martha Tholanah Wins 2015 David Kato Vision And Voice Award

Harare – GALZ is delighted to announce and congratulate Ms. Martha Tholanah, GALZ Chairperson, for winning the David Kato Vision & Voice Award of 2015. The David Kato Vision & Voice Award is presented to an individual who demonstrates outstanding courage and leadership in advocating for the rights of LGBTI individuals, particularly in challenging circumstances and unsupportive policy environments.

David Kato – human rights activist, friend, and colleague – was murdered in his home in Kampala, Uganda on 26 January 2011.

Inspired by his work, the award recognizes the leadership of individuals who strive to uphold the numerous dimensions of sexual rights for LGBTI people. Sexual rights are an evolving set of entitlements related to sexuality that contribute to the freedom, equality and dignity of all people, and are an important aspect of human rights. The realisation of these rights is also an integral element to a meaningful HIV response among these marginalized groups”

Martha Tholanah is a Zimbabwean feminist openly living with HIV. Martha participates in national, regional, and international advocacy, and activism revolving around the rights of people, particularly LGBTI people, people living with disabilities, women and children living with HIV. She is passionate about issues of women’s rights; access to HIV related treatment, disability rights, and functional health systems.

A trained family therapy counselor, qualified in medical rehabilitation, Martha established and headed both the health program at GALZ and the Network of Zimbabwean Positive Women (NZPW+). She has implemented programmes that focus on key populations such as sex workers around access to health issues. She has also worked with the national network of people living with HIV, leading the positive women’s network. Martha also gained experience through working as a humanitarian programme officer – a United Nations Volunteer (UNV) position – and advocacy advisor with Zimbabwe AIDS Network (ZAN), the national network of AIDS-service organisations.

Being Chairperson of GALZ, Martha has demonstrated courage and outstanding leadership in advocating for the sexual rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, particularly in environments where these individuals face continued rejection, marginalization, isolation and persecution. Martha has also worked in organising communities in amplifying voices for strengthening visibility to achieve social change. “This award strengthens my work with organizations such as GALZ and NZPW+. On the day I receive this award, my wish is that the violence and discrimination in Zimbabwe finally stops, and that all people will come together to end discrimination against marginalized communities worldwide,” said Martha.

Frank Mugisha, Chair of the David Kato Vision & Voice Award and Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), will present Martha with the award on stage at the Teddy Award ceremony this Friday in Berlin.

Congratulations! Makorokoto! Amhlope!

For more information on the award visit: