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Mashoga: A cabaret in support of gay rights in Africa

From left, Mark Rivard, Josh Layton, Rebecca Perry, and Quinton Naughton rehearse a song at Perry's Toronto home on April 10, 2013. Perry and Layton have gathered a group of Toronto actors and singers to put together Mashoga, a cabaret, of which the proceeds head toward helping a noble cause in Africa: gay rights.

Tim Fraser/The Globe and Mail

On April 18, T-Dot will be rocking to the tribal sounds of the djembe, an African drum, as local entertainers wail for social change at Annex Live. The proceeds of Mashoga, a cabaret, will head toward helping a noble cause in Africa: gay rights.

Mashoga is the word for 'gay' in Swahili, the language spoken throughout most of East Africa where homosexuality is illegal in some nations. Imprisonment of up to 14 years is possible in Kenya while in Uganda, government officials are attempting to implement a death sentence.

Josh Layton, 24, the gay Torontonian who organized Mashoga, has lived in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda with Operation Groundswell, an activist organization that seeks to inform its travellers on social issues in developing-world nations.

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Layton will be leading a group to Kenya, where they will use the proceeds of Mashoga to assist the Lesbian & Gay Coalition of Kenya, one of few existing organizations in East Africa that is in favour of gay rights. Victor Ferreira

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