“It takes courage to love and be in love.”

Tiiso Mahase


Civil Society

Organisation / Company

Rainbow Unity Networks


Tiiso Mahase, 32, is a director at Rainbow Unity Networks, where she oversees the Sisterhood Advocates project of the Hlanganisa Community Fund, an organisation that addresses gender-based violence and femicide, intimate partner violence and men as survivors of abuse. Tiiso is constantly challenged by trying to make the LGBTQI+ community more visible because she comes from a conservative community that is not ready to accept the queer community.

She has organised and implemented pride events, and seeks to raise awareness about the difficulties the queer community faces. This includes the difficulties she faced as a young person, who was made to feel more different from others. Tiiso says it pushed her to show that her difference is not a disability and that she can still achieve a lot more than people they consider “normal”. At the moment, she is working on an initiative that gives people access to the justice system and services.

She says society still has a lot to learn about gender-based violence and the queer community’s needs. Overall Tiiso hopes that South Africa will become a more inclusive, diverse and accepting society.



Certificate in Paralegal Studies, CCJD Boston College

Certificate in Desktop Publishing, Career Computer College


I have organised and implemented pride activities to raise awareness for the LGBTQI community. This requires me to go above and beyond the call of duty when organising, compromising and sacrificing my personal time to make sure that it runs well. It can be challenging to organise such events because not everyone is open to the LGBTQI community. I have learnt to be persistent and remember why I started.

The project I am running with Hlanganisa Community Funding has created awareness and given people more access to the justice system and civil services available in our communities. What I have learnt is that in terms of gender-based violence and the LGBTQI community, we still have to learn a lot about psycho education. Individuals are very close minded and set in their ways, however there is still room for change and it all starts with a few.


My former mentors are part of the LGBTIQA+ community, they are also activists in the field in their own ways, a lecturer at a higher learning institution and others are part of organisations in different provinces.