Jozi Cats is the first gay and inclusive competitive rugby club in Africa.
The club caters for adult beginners touch and contact rugby, as well as gay and inclusive competitive touch and men’s contact rugby. Jozi Cats is also proud to represent South Africa in international gay inclusive men’s rugby.
Founded on 20th August 2015, we began our journey with simple ideals of creating a safe and harassment free environment for everyone to enjoy the game of rugby, along with building a competitive, social and diverse club which welcomes players with all levels of experience who enjoy a love for rugby.
Our approach was simple; anyone who shares and commits to our values is welcome to join the Jozi Cats Rugby Club. We are one of the few clubs that cater for adult beginners or previously experienced players looking for some social or competitive touch or contact rugby.
In February 2016 we reached out to find support to recruit new members and increase the visibility of the Jozi Cats as a safe and welcoming environment for the LGBTQI* community. Havas PR devised a bold campaign that turned gay stereotypes inside out by challenging you to ask “what does a gay rugby player look” and used the typical gay slurs one would here on the sports field to tackle homophobia in rugby.
The “Rugby, That’s so Gay” Campaign launched on May 4th 2016 and went viral. The Jozi Cats campaign was viewed by over 350 million people in over 146 countries worldwide.
After our bold campaign and point of view, our next step was to follow that up with action. Africa’s first gay rugby tour commenced in December 2016. Our sights were set firmly on shifting the conservative narrative of rugby in South Africa, growing inclusive rugby within Jozi Cats Rugby Club and the rest of the country, while ensuring we remain a safe and harassment free environment for everyone who shares the values we believe in. We blew our whistles around the country creating awareness that homophobia has no place in sport. We hosted rugby clinics to inspire other LGBTI communities around the country to start their own safe community space to enjoy Rugby.
Our Blow the Whistle on Homophobia in Sport campaign was born #BtheWhistle, along with our #SpiritOfcommUNITY and #SafeSpaces cause initiatives that underpin our mission of promoting inclusivity and diversity in sport and equality for all.