The VC in South Africa
[This is an “About” page. To access the SAVCNet Portal site in order to find a resource or different South African site, click here.]
South Africa is a pretty conservative place still. It’s odd to think of such a modern country still having such a conservative attitude, despite us having such a modern and advanced constitution that guarantees freedom of religion and expression. This Shinai society reminds us of the “bible belt” of the USA – which pretty much describes everything from the northern borders, south.
There are many, many churches and small one-room cults split off from the Christian mainstream here. Most of them are very active, charismatic and fanatically intolerant of anything they disagree with – mostly homosexuality and other religions. There is a lot of Christian fundamentalism here, which makes things harder for any community which stands apart.
Many gay people, especially lesbians and especially in the black community, face assault and rape inflicted on them as a “punishment” or a “corrective measure” by some of these people. Although general “gay bashing” doesn’t seem to occur much anymore, the Pagan community doesn’t appear to face actual violence in city areas. In rural areas, actual witch hunts still take place in the uneducated rural communities, with the typical innocent but unpopular old widow or spinster being lynched by religious zealots who wouldn’t know an actual witch if one bit them on the ass. All this fosters a culture of fear and dread among SA Vampyres, who consider the idea of coming out to be folly. Most remain coffined, and keep their dayside and nightside lives distinctly separate.
There is virtually no overtly visible vampire subculture here of any kind, although in Johannesburg and Cape Town there have been several nightclubs which could have been described as Haevens, although they ceased to exist in about 2009. There are still internet records of their events and activities, but no record whatever of any Houses or other VC type Groups in the country predating 2010.
Since true freedom of religion is only about 15 years old in SA (Satanism, Witchcraft and Paganism were only de-criminalized in about 1996 – at least in theory), even Pagans and Wiccans are still largely underground and keep a low profile for fear of prejudice and discrimination at the hands of Christian zealots. Vampyres are virtually invisible, though increasingly we appear to be coming online, and willing to meet each other IRL. We have been finding more and more South African Kin on the international sites on the OVC, blissfully unaware that there are any groups at all in SA.
There are rumors (always are, aren’t there?) of small, secretive clandestine groups of vamps. The Pagan community is always aware of Vampyres for some reason – they know we exist, and mostly they are tolerant and welcoming, although we know that not everyone is. Our experiences late 2011 with hostile Pagans and Pagan groups were rather unpleasant, but it is heart-warming to know that among the Pagans, and even among the Pagan leaders, there are Kin too, and even non-vamps who are positive and welcoming towards us.
The official face of Pagan culture in SA, the SAPRA and SAPC bodies have all voiced non-discrimination and welcoming to us – as well as support for us during the recent turmoil when we essentially “came out” to the Pagan community in SA, and experienced drama on a large scale from conservative and hostile Pagans.
The future growth of the VC in South Africa seems very much tied to the cultural and religious freedom under Constitutional law, and therefore seems rather bright, despite recent events which indicate a resurgence in “satanic panic” hysteria coming from the Christianist sector.
All material on this site, copyright of Octarine Valur and the Vampyre Culture Center, © 2012 – present.