glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
social sciences
special features
about glbtq


   member name
   Forgot Your Password?  
Not a Member Yet?  

  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy





social sciences

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-E  F-L  M-Z

Nkoli, Tseko Simon (1957-1998)  
page: 1  2  

Nkoli continued his participation in the ANC, meeting with Nelson Mandela in 1994. His visibility in the anti-apartheid movement merits much of the credit in winning the ANC's support for gay rights, support that translated into tangible deeds once the ANC gained power. In 1996 South Africa became the first nation to include "sexual orientation" in its constitution's anti-discrimination clause. This milestone victory for equality is the fountainhead from which many other gains for South African glbtq people flow, including the invalidation of laws and the recognition of gay relationships.

In 1990 Nkoli became one of the first South African activists to publicly acknowledge his HIV-positive status. He co-founded the Township AIDS Project (TAP) and the Gay Men's Health Forum, working assiduously to bring AIDS education and counseling to disadvantaged populations. He was also a founding member of both the Positive African Men's Project and the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality (now the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project), as well as a board member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

Sponsor Message.

Playful and irreverent, Nkoli inspired the devotion of South African progressives from all backgrounds and drew an international following. A 1989 speaking tour of Europe, Canada, and the United States raised $35,000 for TAP.

Simon Nkoli died of AIDS in a Johannesburg hospital on November 30, 1998. A memorial at St. Mary's Anglican Cathedral was followed by a funeral in Sebokeng attended by many of the glbtq and anti-apartheid movements' luminaries. The September 1999 pride march was dedicated to him and included a stop at the newly named "Simon Nkoli Corner" at the intersection of Pretoria and Twist Streets in Johannesburg.

His papers at the Gay and Lesbian Archives of South Africa include his letters from prison, which were the basis for Robert Colman's 2003 play, "Your Loving Simon." Bev Ditsie's film Simon & I provides a loving portrait of his final years.

Ruth M. Pettis

  <previous page   page: 1  2    

Contact Us
Join the Discussion
Related Entries
More Entries by this contributor
A Bibliography on this Topic

Citation Information
More Entries about Social Sciences

   Related Entries
social sciences >> Overview:  AIDS Activism

In the United States, glbtq people have played an integral and often leading role in AIDS activism, greatly influencing AIDS treatment and advocacy.

social sciences >> Overview:  South Africa

The diverse South African glbtq community both thrives and struggles amid the contradictions between a conservative traditional culture and some of the most progressive gay rights legislation in the world.

social sciences >> Achmat, Zackie

South African activist Zackie Achmat has been a pivotal figure in his country's progress in the area of glbtq rights and in its response to AIDS.

social sciences >> International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)

The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) is a worldwide federation of local and national groups dedicated to achieving equal rights for glbtq people.


Achmat, Zackie. "The Legacy of Simon Nkoli: South African Freedom Fighter 1957-1998." Gay Community News 24.2 (1998): 18-21.

Bull, Chris. "No Easy Walk to Freedom: South African Gay Activist Simon Nkoli Fights Oppression at Home and Abroad." The Advocate 542 (January 16, 1990): 44-45, 47.

Ditsie, Beverley Palesa, and Nicky Newman, dirs. Simon & I. Videorecording, 52 minutes. New York: Women Make Movies, 2001.

Gevisser, Mark, and Edwin Cameron, eds. Defiant Desire. New York: Routledge, 1995.

Matthew Krouse. "Tough Love." Mail & Guardian (April 6, 2003):

Nkoli, Simon. "This Strange Feeling." The Invisible Ghetto: Lesbian and Gay Writing from South Africa. Matthew Krouse and Kim Berman, eds. London: Gay Men's Press, 1995. 19-26.

Patron, Eugene J. "Out in Africa." The Advocate 616 (November 17, 1992): 44-47.

Shentz, Bruce. "Coming Out in South Africa." The Progressive 54.3 (March 1990): 14.


    Citation Information
    Author: Pettis, Ruth M.  
    Entry Title: Nkoli, Tseko Simon  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated March 24, 2011  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  


This Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc. is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.