More than 700 posters for the Out in Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in Cape Town, South Africa were "systematically" removed from lamp posts and buildings over a two-day period.
"Launched in 1994 to celebrate the constitution prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, the festival is on at the Nu Metro V&A waterfront until Sunday. Out in Africa South African Gay and Lesbian Film Festival director Nodi Murphy suspects the 'two-day systematic removal of the 700 posters' had been carried out by fundamentalist religious or right-wing groups. Murphy said she hoped to see the vandals 'in the court of law, with them doing community service at a gay and lesbian project'. She said the organisers had been advised to lodge a complaint so that they could receive permission to view CCTV footage of where many of the posters had been. The office of the executive mayor of Cape Town approved and paid R32 000 for the posters, Murphy said: 'It’s their money that’s been wasted and I can’t imagine them being too happy. I’ll be in their office tomorrow discussing the matter.' She believed the festival had helped to promote tolerance. 'I kept thinking that there was an end to my work and that people have come to tolerate gays and lesbians. I don’t know why there has been this upsurge (in homophobia) all of a sudden. I think it’s because we’re an easy target. When there’s fear in the world its easier to go after a minority group.'"
The posters were created by local artists Toby Attwell and Quinton Bruton. Murphy said the posters were one of the few means the festival could advertise and there had been many messages praising the design.
The Independent Online reports Murphy lodged a complaint and asked Metro Police to view CCTV surveillance footage. She received only a single fax message: "No footage available."