Say Hello to Iranti’s new Logistics Coordinator, Siphokazi Nombande.

Born in the small town of Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape, Siphokazi Nombande had dreams of becoming an accountant. Having started out her career at the finance department of the South African Police Service, she always knew she was good with numbers. It was no surprise that she has found herself as Iranti’s new Logistics Coordinator. 

After leaving SAPS, Siphokazi joined a research unit as a lab assistant for a short period of time before tapping into the NGO sector. “I wanted to work for NGOs because I wanted to be part of the change in our communities.”  

She went on to join the Durban Lesbian & Gay Community & Health Centre as a Youth Well-Being Officer. This community-based organisation aimed to empower the LGBT community through providing services, support, and training which would enable the community of Durban to claim their rights to equality, dignity, and freedom using a transformative framework. Her first project was an edutainment program that focused on educating young people about safe sex in unconventional spaces such as taxi ranks and clubs. Siphokazi expressed that “young people would get bored easily by workshop spaces” and it was important to meet them in different spaces that were accessible to them. 

Community members were quite receptive to these programs and found themselves eagerly participating in queer pageants and fashion shows that were centred around the empowerment of LGBTQI+ youth, subsequently linking young people with greater opportunities to grow their skill sets. 

Siphokazi later went on to plan the first Durban Pride, which was hosted by the Durban Lesbian & Gay Community & Health Centre. “My love for Pride started here, and I’ve never looked back!” All this hard work paid off, as Siphokazi was later entrusted with the role of planning Soweto Pride in her next job as Operations and Finance Officer at Forum for the Empowerment of Women, also known as FEW. “I loved how Soweto Pride was a community-based Pride where we invited community organisations to join us in raising awareness. A highlight for her has been seeing many other community prides birthed from Soweto Pride.  

FEW organised Pride Workshops, capacitating other communities on how to host their own pride events. “Not everyone would be able to access Soweto Pride. So if you are staying in Vaal, how about you organise your own Pride! The key thing here is raising awareness in the townships that we exist in”. The workshops covered protocols, procedures and regulations on hosting Pride events. 

“This is not something I studied for; it was self-taught. I read a lot around what was expected from me and familiarised myself with protocols and procedures for planning a Pride event.” 

When asked about what she was looking forward to in working with Iranti, Siphokazi said she was anticipating learning about procedural differences between organising national and regional gatherings and spaces. She was also looking forward to working with an organisation like Iranti “whose work is research-based which serves as a needs assessment to ensure we cater to communities as best as possible”.