South Africa's constitution is one of the few in the world that explicitly prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Gay sexual relationships are legal and same-sex marriages are recognised. There are active gay and lesbian communities and scenes in Cape Town and Jo'burg, and to a lesser degree in Pretoria and Durban. Cape Town is the focal point, and is the most openly gay city on the continent.
But despite the liberality of the new constitution, it will be a while before attitudes in the more conservative sections of society begin to change towards acceptance. Particularly in black communities, homosexuality remains frowned upon, if not taboo – homosexuals are attacked in the townships. Outside larger city centres, exercise discretion.
Check chain bookstores such as CNA and gay venues for newspapers and magazines. In addition to the organisations listed here, most major cities have a gay support organisation.
Behind the Mask (@BehindTheMask99) Jo'burg-based media and activist organisation, supplying information and a platform for dialogue about LGBTI issues in Africa.
Deo Gloria Family Church (www.deogloria.org) LGBT-affirming charismatic church in Durban, registered to conduct same-sex marriages.
Durban Lesbian & Gay Community & Health Centre (www.gaycentre.org.za) LGBTI drop-in centre.
Exit (www.exit.co.za) LGBTI monthly newspaper.
GAP Leisure (www.gapleisure.com) Gay-friendly travel agency.
Gay & Lesbian Network (www.gaylesbian.org.za) Health program in Pietermaritzburg and the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
Gay Pages (www.gaypagessa.co.za) Quarterly glossy magazine, available throughout South Africa.
GayCapeTown4u (www.gaycapetown4u.com) Gay guide to the Mother City.
GaySA Radio (www.gaysaradio.co.za) Download the app and podcasts or listen online.
Health4Men (www.health4men.co.za) Jo'burg-based health service.
Lunch Box Media (www.lunchboxmedia.co.za) Look out for its publications, including monthly newspaper The Pink Tongue.
Mamba (www.mambaonline.com) Gay news, information, listings and links.
Mamba Girl (www.mambagirl.com) Lesbian-focused site.
Pink South Africa (www.pinksa.co.za) Online gay-tourism directory.
Triangle Project (http://triangle.org.za) This Cape Town–based organisation campaigns for LGBTI rights and supports the community through various programs.
Cape Town Pride Parades, pageants, parties and other events, mostly in De Waterkant, from late February to early March.
Johannesburg Pride Dating to 1990, Africa's first-ever gay and lesbian pride parade takes place every October.
MCQP One of Cape Town's main gay events, this fabulous fancy-dress dance party is held every December.
Miss Gay Western Cape Cape Town's long-running transgender beauty pageant, usually held in early November.
Pink Loerie Festival Knysna's Mardi Gras in late April and early May.