Meet the Jozi Cats, Africa’s first gay and inclusive competitive rugby team.
The new-fanged South African squad have launched a new campaign that tackles gay stereotypes in a bid to recruit more players to the team, and it’s certainly eye-catching, for more reason than one.
The campaign, led by Head of Havas PR South Africa, Chris Verrijdt, has the players of the rugby team pose in a series of photos with derogatory slurs such as , ‘Pansy’, ‘Queen’ and ‘Fudge Packer’.
“From the outset we wanted to be disruptive, but we also had to be sensitive,” says Verrijdt.
“Some of the guys are still coming out to either friends, family or colleagues, so they were involved in every step of the process. We had to make sure everyone was comfortable with the final outcome and I need to applaud each and every one of them for their bravery as this campaign will definitely start a conversation.”
Teveshan Kuni, the Jozi Cats chairman, reveals that the reason Jozi Cats was founded was because many rugby players don’t feel like they can be an openly gay in South Africa.
“So we started Jozi Cats as a space where they could be both. The club is somewhere that players can play social and competitive rugby in a safe and non-judgmental environment.”
Kuni hopes the Jozi Cats will be go on to represent South Africa at a global gay rugby level.
“Over-and-above everything else, we wanted to show that these are just ordinary guys who love playing rugby and who happen to be gay,” he says.
You can watch a short behind the scenes video of the team’s campaign below: