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Welcome to the clear/speech blog

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 by in Uncategorized |

My name is Samuel van Straaten and I am a final year visual communication design student at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. Through my independent research, I have found that I want to be more critical and not just design for aesthetic reasons. I want to reach out to a specific audience and speak directly and clearly to them through visual communication design. The area that I have found through reflective research and by situating myself in a broader design spectrum within South Africa is utilizing my designs to help minority groups, especially the LGBT community in making their voices loud and clear so it can be heard by the greater society.

I have found that very few people are aware of certain social laws that still exist in our vastly democratic and liberal constitution, such as the law that anyone who has had sexual relations with a person from the same sex in the past 6 months may not donate blood. I have also, as many from the local LGBT community, been outraged by John Qwelane’s article in the Sunday Sun which, to me, comes down to an ethical debate based on the relationship between hate speech and free speech and the laws that are in place to protect people from both sides of the argument but end up not helping anyone.

There has also been a surge in lesbian related violence and murders in informal settlements in the last few years and I feel that this topic deserves more attention. It has been said by many black leaders, such as Jacob Zuma, that homosexuality is un-African and notions like these have taught people that practices such as corrective rape is the answer. These issues are all rooted in ignorance, intolerance and more often than not, a simple lack of knowledge and basic social education.

The LGBT community should not be forgotten and the immense effort that was put into the struggle for democracy in the Apartheid years must also be acknowledged by our current leaders who fought in that same battle but find it so convenient to still discriminate on something which is believed as being “European tendencies”. There are too many voices that are not heard and too many stories that are not told and I aim to explore and investigate this through my design.

I have thus decided to start a campaign aimed at questioning the relationship between free and clear speech from a activist approach. This blog will be used to update and explain my actions throughout this campaign – open for the world to see!

Contact me | +27 (0)83 359 2837 | © Sam van Straaten