12/03/2018 11:40 SAST | Updated 12/03/2018 12:51 SAST

#PrideInRugby Club Rugby Tournament: R10K In Prize Money!

The Human Rights Commission and competitive gay/inclusive club Jozi Cats are hosting a club rugby tournament to say "Hell, no!" to homophobia in rugby.

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Human Rights Month brings Johannesburg an inclusive tag-rugby tournament kicking off the new #PrideInRugby campaign against homophobia in rugby.

The Jozi Cats (JCRC) – South Africa's first gay-and-inclusive competitive rugby club – will be hosting the tournament along with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

It will be held at the Diggers Rugby Club — an institution celebrating its 125th birthday this year, making it Johannesburg's oldest — on March 21, South Africa's Human Rights Day.

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Members of the Jozi Cats rugby team taking a breather during a training session in Johannesburg. The Jozi Cats are Africa's first gay-and-inclusive rugby club and hope to represent South Africa in the Gay Rugby Championships one day. Homophobic slurs like 'Queen' and 'Pansy' were part of the Johannesburg-based club's shock-tactics marketing when it was launched.

"Equality is a foundational value of our constitutional democracy. Homophobia violates this fundamental tenet of our Constitution, and is an affront on the dignity of LBGT individuals," said spokesperson for the South African Human Rights Commission, Gail Smith.

"This initiative by Jozi Cats is welcomed as an important sign that homophobia should not be tolerated, either on or off the sports field. Sport matters – both as a vehicle for social cohesion and because it has an undeniable impact on the mental and physical well-being of those who participate."

Smith added, "More sports clubs should be encouraged to actively challenge homophobia and inequality, and to create safe spaces for members of the LBGT community, particularly the youth, to participate."

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Props. They wear out fast.

Entry for the tournament is open to other rugby teams, and there's an impressive R10,000 in prize money up for grabs – R5,000 first prize; R3,500 second prize and R1,500 third prize.

If you're interested, contact Jozi Cats chair, Chris Verrijdt, on chris@jozicats.co.za.