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Posts tagged "lgbtq in africa"

Two Ugandan transgender activists, Cleo Quentaro and Kim Mukasa talk to the Mail & Guardian about the struggle and challenges of daily life of transgender individuals living in Uganda.

Quentaro speaks about the politics of identity shaming where, as a transwoman, “dressing up” (being trans is not simply an act of ‘dressing up’, I am using her words to illustrate her point) as a woman is seen in our patriarchal society as an act of degradation of the male self and ego.

'For a man to dress up as a woman, with the patriarchy that's associated with our culture back home, it's like degrading yourself to a woman…' - Cleo Quentaro

Fellow activist Kim Mukasa speaks on the violent discriminatory experiences of transmen and the financial difficulties they experience due to the lack of resources they are systematically denied.

'We are the most at risk and we are the most vulnerable…we are minorities even amongst minorities' - Kim Mukasa

tw: mentions of violence, rape.


Celebrating the Freak: Images of Two Township Genderqueers

Luciano and Lunga are biological boys living in Alex and Tembisa. They identify as both male and female. While the way they express their gender and their sexual orientation could get them beaten and/or raped and/or killed, they choose to be themselves, to “celebrate The Freak”. These images are a celebration of The Freak, a celebration and salute to them being them, to their integrity, honesty and bravery.

Images by Germaine de Larch

These photographs, and a range of Germaine’s other work will be on display and for sale at her first solo exhibition: #rediscoveringtheordinary

@ Studio23, Arts on Main, Sunday 16 June, 3pm. Johannesburg, South Africa

NOTABLE AFRICANS: Danieri Basammula-Ekkere Mwanga II Mukasa

Taking to the the throne at age 16, following the death of his father Muteesa I of Buganda in 1884, Mwanga ruled as the Kabaka (king) of Buganda from 1884 until 1888 and from 1889 until 1897. The 31st Kabaka of Buganda, he would eventually be captured by colonial British forces and exiled to the Seychelles where he would eventually die in 1903.

He is most notably known for his aggressive expulsion of encroaching Christian missionaries in his kingdom by ordering Christian converts to either abandon their religion or face death.

From the Daily Monitor:

Two months into his reign, and oblivious of the negative reactions from imperial powers on his action, Mwanga censured all foreign religions, labelling them dangerous and destructive to Buganda. He saw the burning to death of three Christian converts; and also ordered the capture of Alexander Mackay and two of his fellow Protestant missionaries.

Three years after ascending the throne in 1884, Mwanga had ordered the burning of 45 of his pages; 32 of the murdered converts would later gain worldwide recognition as the Uganda Martyrs.

The executions, including of Bishop James Hannington in 1885, alarmed the Protestants and Catholics, who despite their potent religious disputes, allied to dethrone Mwanga; and they did on August 2, 1888 with the help of the Muslims.

By the time of his first ouster from the throne, Mwanga had no major group to support him. The Muslims were not on his side, after he refused to convert to Islam; the Christians didn’t shield his back either—for ordering several executions; and the Traditionalists, convinced that the small pox ravaging the kingdom then was a result of neglect of traditional cultures and beliefs, had little faith in the king.

The most crucial threat to Mwanga’s reign would, however, be the Europeans, who had the same year he ascended the throne in 1884, met in Berlin, Germany, to allot Africa among themselves. Although he knew that the ‘white man’ was intent on ‘eating’ his kingdom, Mwanga was clueless about the extent of their imperial appetite and greed.

After his deposition, Mwanga was replaced by his brother Kiweewa—but just like his brother, Kiweewa refused to face the circumcision knife and the Muslims - the strongest group then, united to depose him, 40 days into his reign.

(cont. reading)

Further reading: Wikipedia*

*This source makes reference to same-sex relations that the Kabaka may have had, which is how I came to know of him (I was watching a televised debate on whether homosexuality is un-African and one of the speakers mentioned this incident). What I do not appreciate is the way in which some sources (linked source elaborates on this) have used his sexuality as something that is synonymous with evil, or the leading catalyst that led to him ordering the execution of several Christians. 


Film Festival: Bringing Human Rights Issues to Life

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival returns to New York screens from June 13 to 23, 2013, with a program of 20 challenging and provocative films from across the globe that call for justice and social change. Now in its 24th edition, the festival will once again be presented at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and this year adds downtown screenings at the IFC Center.

The festival will launch on June 13 with a fundraising Benefit Night for Human Rights Watch featuring the HBO documentary Which Way Is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington. The film is Sebastian Junger’s moving tribute to his lost friend and Restrepo co-director, the photojournalist and filmmaker Tim Hetherington, who was killed while covering the Libyan civil war in 2011. The main program will kick off on June 14 with the Opening Night presentation of Oscar-winning filmmaker Freida Mock’s ANITA, in which Anita Hill looks back at the powerful testimony she gave against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and its impact on the broader discussion of gender inequality in America. The Closing Night screening on June 23 will be Jeremy Teicher’s award-winning drama Tall As the Baobab Tree, the touching story of a teenage girl who tries to rescue her younger sister from an arranged marriage in rural Senegal.

Traditional Values and Human Rights: Women’s Rights
Traditional values are often cited as an excuse to undermine human rights. In addition to Tall As the Baobab Tree, five documentaries in this year’s festival consider the impact on women. Veteran documentarian Kim Longinotto’s Salma is the remarkable story of a South Indian Muslim woman who endured a 25-year confinement and forced marriage by her own family before achieving national renown as the most famous female poet in the Tamil language. Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief’s Rafea: Solar Mama profiles an illiterate Bedouin woman from Jordan who gets the chance to be educated in solar engineering but has to overcome her husband’s resistance.In Karima Zoubir’s intimately observed Camera/Woman, a Moroccan divorcée supports her family by documenting wedding parties while navigating her own series of heartaches. It will be shown with Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s Going Up the Stairsa charming portrait of a traditional Iranian grandmother who discovers her love of painting late in life and is invited to exhibit her work in Paris. Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s candid HBO documentary Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer centers on the women of the radical-feminist punk group, two of whom are currently serving time in a Russian prison for their acts of defiance against the government.

Traditional Values and Human Rights: LGBT Rights
Three films in the program remind viewers that, despite recent strides toward equality, LGBT communities around the world still struggle for acceptance. Shaun Kadlec and Deb Tullmann’s Born This Way is an intimate look at the lives of four young gay men and lesbians in Cameroon,where there are more arrests for homosexuality than in any other country in the world.Yoruba Richen’s The New Black uncovers the complicated and often combative intersection of the African-American and LGBT civil rights movements, with a particular focus on homophobia in the black church. In Srdjan Dragojevic’s drama The Parade, a fight by activists to stage a Gay Pride parade in Belgrade leads to an unlikely alliance in a black-humored look at contemporary Serbia.

Traditional Values and Human Rights: Disability Rights
Harry Freeland’s In the Shadow of the Sun is an unforgettable study in courage,telling the story of two albino men who attempt to follow their dreams in the face of prejudice and fear in Tanzania.

Crises and Migration
Three documentaries highlight the issues of humanitarian aid, conflict, and migration. In the Festival CenterpieceFatal Assistance, the acclaimed director Raoul Peck, Haiti’s former culture minister, takes us on a two-year journey following the 2010 earthquake and looks at the damage done by international aid agencies whose well-meaning but ignorant assumptions turned a nightmare into an unsolvable tragedy.Danish journalist Nagieb Khaja’s My Afghanistan – Life in the Forbidden Zone shows ordinary Afghans in war-torn Helmand who were provided with hi-res camera phones to record their daily lives, giving a voice to those frequently ignored by the Western media.Marco Williams’The Undocumented isan unvarnished account of the thousands of Mexican migrants who have died in recent years while trying to cross Arizona’s unforgiving Sonora Desert in search of a better life in the United States.

Focus on Asia
The festival will screen two important documentaries from Asia.In Joshua Oppenheimer’s chilling and inventive The Act of Killing, the unrepentant former members of Indonesian death squads are challenged to reenact some of their many murders in the style of the American movies they love.

Marc Wiese’s Camp 14 – Total Control Zone tells the powerful story of Shin Dong-Huyk, who spent the first two decades of his life behind the barbed wire of a North Korean labor camp before his dramatic escape led him into an outside world he had never known. Wiese is the recipient of the festival’s annual Nestor Almendros Award for courage in filmmaking for his film.

Human Rights in the United States
Four American documentaries – including festival opener ANITA – highlight human rights issues in our own back yard. 99% – The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film goes behind the scenes of the 2011 movement, digging into big-picture issues as organizers, participants, and critics reveal what happened and why. Al Reinert’s An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story tells the story of a Texas man who was wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder and was exonerated by new DNA evidence after nearly 25 years behind bars. Lisa Biagiotti’s deepsouth is an evocative exploration of the rise in HIV in the rural American south, a region where poverty, a broken health system and a culture of denial force those affected to create their own solutions to survive.

In conjunction with this year’s film program, the festival will present the photo exhibit Dowry: Child and Forced Marriage in South Sudan. The exhibit is Getty photographer Brent Stirton’s visual investigation into the devastating impact the tradition of child marriage has on girls in this East African nation. It will be featured in the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater for the duration of the festival. 

Photo: © 2012 Harry Freeland

Photos from Sabelo Mlangeni’s series ‘Country Girls’, an intimate portrait of gay life in the countryside of rural Mpumalanga, South Africa.

2003 - 2009.

Posing. Photos from Sabelo Mlangeni’s series ‘Country Girls’, an intimate portrait of gay life in the countryside of rural Mpumalanga, South Africa.

2003 - 2009.


Cameroon prosecutes people for consensual same-sex conduct more aggressively than almost any country in the world.

This past weekend the small town of KwaDukuza, in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, was set abuzz as a young couple said “I do” in what has been marked as the area’s ‘First Traditional African Gay Wedding’, taking place between a Zulu and Setswana man.

Both men’s families were actively involved in the ceremony, and the couple plans on having a ‘white wedding’ later this year.

South African photographer Zanele Muholi has spent the last 10 years determinedly creating a visual archive of black lesbian life in South Africa, often in the face of considerable opposition.

On Thursday night her work was recognised with a major international freedom of expression prize at the Index on Censorship awards, which, according to chairman Jonathan Dimbleby, celebrate the fundamental right to “write, blog, tweet, speak out, protest and create art and literature and music”.

Other winners announced at the annual prizegiving evening in London included Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai and Greek editor Kostas Vaxevanis.

Muholi said that South Africa was country of huge contrasts for gay people: on the one hand it has been enormously progressive and in 1996 became the first country in the world to constitutionally prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation; on the other, there is a culture of fear if you are gay and serious hate crime is a huge problem, including “corrective” rape to “straighten out” lesbians. In the last year, four women have been murdered because of their sexuality, including Phumeza Nkolonzi, 22, who was shot dead in front of her grandmother and niece, and Sihle Sikoji, aged 19 when she was stabbed to death.

Getting the award comes at a particularly poignant time for Muholi, she said, because it is six years after the death of Busi Sigasa and seven after the death of Buhle Msibi – both black lesbian activists who were survivors of rape but who ended up HIV-positive. Both were activist colleagues and featured in her photography.

Muholi hopes that her work helps other lesbians in South Africa. “The minute you see likeness is when you realise that no matter what you’re going through in your own life, you are not alone,” she said.

Kirsty Hughes, the chief executive of Index, said: “Zanele has shown tremendous bravery in the face of criticism and harassment for ground-breaking images which include intimate portraits of gay women in South Africa, where homosexuality is still taboo and lesbians are the target of horrific hate crimes. She has won the award both for her courage and the powerful statements made by her work.”


This Pride season HOLAA! is getting involved. It’s not about AfroQueers feeling isolated in “Queer” spaces, it’s not about body policing, it’s not about identity policing, it’s not about “go back to your lokshen” and it’s not about creating some exclusive club.

What it is about it LOVE.

Everybody is welcome to come celebrate with us, Womandla and Twin Souls. We are creating community here and defining ourselves for ourself through art.

Come experience Pride Ya Rona this March.


The most effective way of challenging an idea and changing perceptions about a particular phenomenon is by telling one’s story. In order to subvert sentiments around homosexuality being a “foreign import” Queer Africans must give voices, names, ethnicities and faces to queer-sexuality and gender non-conformity in Africa.

Get writing. Submissions close 1 March 2013

About 50 people, mostly men, crowd around the front porch of a social club in Nigeria’s biggest city, Lagos, cheering on a shy-looking young man, who proceeds to sing a ballad.

Backstage, another man puts on his wig and takes a quick glance at his pocket mirror, before adjusting his tight-fitting red dress.

Five other men also dressed in drag outfits appear, checking on each other’s make-up as they wait for their turn to perform for the crowd.

"A friend invited me here a few months ago," one chatty spectator says excitedly. "I love this place because it makes me feel at home".

This gathering of members of the gay and lesbian community in Lagos is held regularly, albeit discreetly, but it could soon be illegal.

The vast majority of gay Nigerians may not be interested in this kind of event but they still have to hide their sexuality in this conservative society.

Whilst already illegal, homosexuality is widely frowned upon across Nigeria and has been the subject of several bills in the National Assembly.

The Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill specifically outlaws same-sex unions.

It also bans gatherings of homosexuals or any other support for gay clubs, organisations, unions or amorous expressions, whether in secret or in public.

The bill has been passed by Nigeria’s Senate - the highest chamber - and is now being reviewed by the lower chamber, the House of Representatives.

If approved, it will be sent to the president to sign it into law, after which same-sex couples could face up to 14 years in prison.

But Nigerian homosexuals complain that the stigma they face is already enough punishment for their way of life.

Kunle (not his real name), a gay man living in Lagos, is outraged by the proposed law: “How does a government think that sending someone to prison would change his or her sexual orientation?

"How logical is that?"

One of Nigeria’s few openly gay human rights activists, Rashidi Williams, notes that the bill seeks to ban something which is already illegal and which no-one is publicly advocating.

"All we are asking for is to repeal the repressive laws in this country," he says.

(read more)


Road to Pride

This documentary is both a literal and symbolic journey on the “Road to Pride”, as the filmmakers embark on a quest to find out how South African lesbians are enjoying the fruits of a progressive constitution in the New South Africa.

Watch movie below


"God does not say black is better than white, or tall is better than short, or football players are better than basketball players, or Christians are better than Muslims, or gay is better than straight," Tutu wrote.

Should the bill be voted into law, “it will criminalise acts of love between certain categories of people, just as the apartheid government made intimate relations between black and white South Africans a punishable offence,” Tutu said.

South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu likens Uganda anti-gay bill to apartheid laws 

Do you agree with Tutu’s comparison of same-sex and interracial relations?

A shifting and fragmentary tale of two young lovers — Mory and Anta — and their attempts to flee Senegal for Paris, ‘Touki Bouki’ is Djibril Diop Mambéty’s masterpiece.

via - AIAC