A groundbreaking social initiative aims to embrace our diversity during Heritage month.

Lydia Sono

In celebration of Heritage Month, Khulisa Social Solutions is excited to announce a groundbreaking initiative aimed at fostering dialogue and building bridges of understanding between members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQIA+) community and the wider community.

This unique event, titled "Embracing Diversity: A Dialogue Circle" will take place on Friday 01 September at 09:00 in Moffatview, Johannesburg.
The event will feature a dialogue circle with an influential member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Lydia Sono, alongside other local representatives, who will share their personal stories and experiences.

Lydia was born in Schoemansdal’s rural area in Mpumalanga where
the LGTBIA+ community was unheard of. She broke all odds in her community when she became an open lesbian and an advocate for
others. When Lydia was raped in 2015, she realised as long as people live in ignorance, cases of corrective rape against lesbian
women were going to increase. Lydia is now advocating for other lesbian women for fair treatment from schools, hospitals and the South African Police Service (SAPS). Working under Khulisa, over 18 years
ago, Lydia established the first Ubuntu club, a focus group where the
LGBTQIA+ community meet and share their stories, as well as the facilitation of multiple cases into gender-based violence and creating peace for her LGBTQIA+ community.

With over 70 people in the support group Lydia is recognised as one of the women who made a change in Mpumalanga. She is an award-winning humanitarian who won the Sunrise Woman Award in 2017.

In addition to the dialogue circle, there will be an interactive workshop facilitated by Lydia, which will focus on topics such as gender identity, sexual orientation, cultural stereotypes, and allyship. These workshops aim to provide attendees with a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community and equip them with the knowledge and tools to become allies and advocates for equality and inclusivity.

“Khulisa recognizes that Heritage Month is not only a time to celebrate our rich cultural diversity but also an opportunity to acknowledge and embrace the beautiful diversity of identities within our society,” shares Lesley Ann van Selm, managing director of Khulisa. “The dialogue circle seeks to
create an inclusive space where participants can engage in open, respectful, and meaningful conversations about the experiences, challenges, and triumphs of the LGBTQIA+ community.

By promoting dialogue and understanding, we aim to strengthen the bonds within our community and foster a culture of acceptance and celebration.”

If you are interested in attending this transformative event, please RSVP to this email and we will add you to the attendance list. You will have the opportunity to interview Lydia as well as other influential workshop facilitators in the LGBTQIA+ space. Please note that space is limited.
To find out more about Khulisa’s work, visit or get in contact at

About us

Khulisa Social Solutions is a non-profit company that helps vulnerable children, youth, and communities unlock their potential and develop skills toward a sustainable future.  It operates nationally, employs over 180 staff through 18 offices, and works in approximately 150 communities in collaboration with 350 NGO partners, impacting the lives of close to 200,000 people per annum. Khulisa partners with national and local government departments, schools, correctional facilities, community leaders, corporates, thought leaders, academic institutions, and private companies.

Khulisa’s internationally
acclaimed and locally rewarded best practice programmes deliver positive and measurable impact with the main focus on youth and community development.

Through their work towards peacebuilding and restorative justice, Khulisa has been recognised locally and internationally. Within the past year, Khulisa has been awarded the Best Social Solutions Not-for Profit 2023 at this years Global Excellence Awards.

Founder and managing director, Lesley Ann van Selm was also awarded CEO Today Africa Award for her leadership in the peacebuilding and restorative justice space.

For more information, contact

Lesley Ann Van Selm | 082 601 2299 |  |