Uganda’s infamous anti-gay bill has been signed into law by President Museveni. Our friends in Uganda are calling for the whole world to make noise and not let this awful law go unnoticed, so share the facts.
And as Ugandan LGBT groups challenge this bill in court, sign to tell global leaders to speak out too: www.allout.org/kill-the-bill
A Vintage-Style Revolution Is Brewing In Namibia, Africa
By Amanda Mok, 05 Feb 2014
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Self-proclaimed hipster who goes by the name ‘Loux the Vintage Guru’ is taking Namibia, Africa by storm, introducing the continent to the wonders of vintage fashion.
The designer, stylist and tailor gives new life to vintage clothing often cast aside derisively as ‘used clothing’ and is often seen all dapper in suits accompanied by a brightly-colored tie and quirky accessories.
As a young boy, he was inspired by his grandfather who once told him, “My son, fashion is what you adopt when you don’t yet know who you are, make sure you are always well-dressed”.
Together with a group of stylists and designers from Johannesburg, they have a street-style website called ‘Khumbala’, that seeks to inspire Africans to step out in style.
“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The 48hour Film Project: Nairobi Edition
Taking part in a worldwide effort to highlight up-and-coming filmmakers, Nairobi-based creatives were given just 48 hours to make a short film. Drawing a genre out of a hat, the participating teams made 7 minute-long shorts incorporating a given character, prop and line of dialogue.
Above is ‘Dead Wrong’, the winner of the Best Film - Audience Choice, Best Writing, Best Editing & Best use of Character awards. This film will go up against films from around the world to compete for the ”Best 48 Hour Film of 2014” title.
Other participating African cities were Cairo, Cape Town, Durban, Gaborone and Johannesburg.
(Image description: 3 horizontal bars in background, color from top to bottom [green, white, green] for the Nigerian flag. The word “NIGERIA” is in rainbow color font and “#SOLIDARITY” is underneath it in all black)
I stand in solidarity with LGBTQ* Nigerians and condemn the passage of the recently passed legislation which violates their basic human rights.
Please SIGNAL BOOST this to show your support for our community in this incredibly trying time.
Photo credit: The Kato Foundation
love brown people doing brown things
AFRICA YOGA PROJECT:
Africa Yoga Project is a grassroots 501c3 Not-For-Profit Organization that has introduced thousands of students in Kenya to the practice of yoga, as well provides educational scholarships, job training, food stipends, temporary housing and health services.
The poject offers financial support to 38 teachers in exchange for teaching yoga in the communities of Nairobi providing a healthy, motivational venue for young adults to engage with their community, build support systems and change lives.
By Olumide Femi Makanjuola, human rights activist, Special to CNN
updated 4:18 AM EST, Tue January 21, 2014
Editor’s note: Olumide Femi Makanjuola is Executive Director at The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER), which ensure human rights protection and promotion regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) — Nigeria is second only to South Africa as the country with the highest number of HIV/AIDS sufferers; one would have thought a better gift for the New Year from the government to its people would be to urge the national legislature to pass the anti HIV-discrimination bill that has been with them for a while.
But alas, what the people received was a bill that further exposes them to violence and discrimination. While the signing of the bill has generated much reaction on both sides, most of its supporters have based their arguments on religion and African values, forgetting that what binds the nation together is not the divergence of religions but the respect for humanity that is enshrined in the 1999 constitution.
Olumide Femi Makanjuola
What the same-sex marriage (prohibition) bill in fact does is negate the principle of fundamental human rights of association, expression and dignity. When a law does this, it runs the risk of breeding anarchy, an experience that people who are or are merely perceived to be gay know all too much about in the form of blackmail, extortion and fear of arrest.
The law also acts against the principle of public health. With rates of HIV infection and AIDS running at 3.7% for the general population, and 17.2% among gay men, criminalizing organizations providing intervention for this population puts all Nigerians in jeopardy.
Another thing to note is about the public perception of the law: while many perceive there’s casual acceptance by many Nigerians of the bill, in fact many of those who have commented on the bill have not even read it.
Nigeria’s anti-gay law called ‘draconian’
Aside from the fact that sections of this law are in direct violation of our fundamental human rights — freedom of expression and assembly, freedom to have a private and family life — and set back the provision of healthcare services, they effectively signify that it is open season to attack the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and mainstream society in general.
Already 10 people have been arrested for their perceived sexual orientation by law enforcement agencies across Nigeria, a human rights group said. The witch hunt to arrest many more by forcing names out of those arrested is also gathering momentum. The disturbing factor here is on what basis these individuals were arrested; we believe most have been detained due to anonymous tips that are inaccurate in most cases.
Many more of these violations of human rights will take place if this law is not repealed; blackmail and extortion will become commonplace against LGBT people and the Nigerians at large and little will be done to ensure that organizations providing healthcare service for this population are able to carry out their work in responding to the HIV/AIDs epidemic in the country.
We therefore implore the Nigerian President and his good government to repeal this law, which, we fear, could blow into an unbearable catastrophe for Nigeria and its citizens.
Homosexuals now live in fear of Nigeria’s strict new anti-gay laws. CNN’s Vladimir Duthiers reports.
from artist and activist Adejoke Olutogbiyele on the impact of the new anti-same sex marriage act on the front lines in nigeria.
"Here is a direct link to an interview that Micheal Akanji and I granted CNN international correspondent Vladimir Duthiers last week. We both speak, in our own way, to the hateful bill that has just been signed into law. I hope you get to watch it and I am interested in hearing your thoughts about it. As many of you know I have been in Nigeria on a U.S. Fulbright grant working on issues in the gay community, so upon notifying my supervisors of the CNN interview (and other interviews I have done that will soon be published in the Huffington Post and elsewhere) I was advised to leave the country and was escorted to the airport that same day - in a bullet-proof vehicle!
I am sad to have had to leave, but happy to be safe in the warm arms of my partner during this emotionally troubling time. I want you all to know that I will continue fighting this bill using my art as a weapon of choice. Already a film I just completed entitled AfroOdyssey IV: 100 Years Later, will be showing in the United States, Spain, Germany and Nigeria this year. The film outlines the struggles of sexual identity in our community especially as it relates to spirituality in Nigeria. Stay tuned for more and thanks for your support. Please LIKE AfroOdyssey IV on Facebook and join our struggle.”
Mum. I will say. Muum? I will say. It grooves so easy, a breath, a noise out of my mouth, mixed up with her breath, and she exhales. My heart gasps sharp and now my mind screams, sharp, so so hurt …
(A lost chapter from One Day I Will Write About This Place)
11 July, 2000.
This is not the right version of events.
Hey mum. I was putting my head on her shoulder, that last afternoon before she died. She was lying on her hospital bed. Kenyatta. Intensive Care. Critical Care. There. Because this time I will not be away in South Africa, fucking things up in that chaotic way of mine. I will arrive on time, and be there when she dies. My heart arrives on time. I am holding my dying mother’s hand. I am lifting her hand. Her hand will be swollen with diabetes. Her organs are failing. Hey mum. Ooooh. My mind sighs. My heart! I am whispering in her ear. She is awake, listening, soft calm loving, with my head right inside in her breathspace. She is so big – my mother, in this world, near the next world, each breath slow, but steady, as it should be. Inhale. She can carry everything. I will whisper, louder, in my minds-breath. To hers. She will listen, even if she doesn’t hear. Can she?
Mum. I will say. Muum? I will say. It grooves so easy, a breath, a noise out of my mouth, mixed up with her breath, and she exhales. My heart gasps sharp and now my mind screams, sharp, so so hurt so so angry.
“I have never thrown my heart at you mum. You have never asked me to.”
Only my mind says. This. Not my mouth. But surely the jerk of my breath and heart, there next to hers, has been registered? Is she letting me in?
Nobody, nobody, ever in my life has heard this. Never, mum. I did not trust you, mum. And. I. Pulled air hard and balled it down into my navel, and let it out slow and firm, clean and without bumps out of my mouth, loud and clear over a shoulder, into her ear.
“I am a homosexual, mum.”
This is the right version of events.
I am living in South Africa, without having seen my mother for five years, even though she is sick, because I am afraid and ashamed, and because I will be thirty years old and possibly without a visa to return here if I leave. I am hurricaning to move my life so I can see her. But she is in Nakuru, collapsing, and they will be rushing her kidneys to Kenyatta Hospital in Nairobi, where there will be a dialysis machine and a tropical storm of experts awaiting her.
Relatives will rush to see her and, organs will collapse, and machines will kick into action. I am rushing, winding up everything to leave South Africa. It will take two more days for me to leave, to fly out, when, in the morning of 11 July 2000, my uncle calls me to ask if I am sitting down.
“She’s gone, Ken.”
I will call my Auntie Grace in that family gathering nanosecond to find a way to cry urgently inside Baba, but they say he is crying and thundering and lightning in his 505 car around Nairobi because his wife is dead and nobody can find him for hours. Three days ago, he told me it was too late to come to see her. He told me to not risk losing my ability to return to South Africa by coming home for the funeral. I should not be travelling carelessly in that artist way of mine, without papers. Kenneth! He frowns on the phone. I cannot risk illegal deportation, he says, and losing everything. But it is my mother.
I am twenty nine. It is 11 July, 2000. I, Binyavanga Wainaina, quite honestly swear I have known I am a homosexual since I was five. I have never touched a man sexually. I have slept with three women in my life. One woman, successfully. Only once with her. It was amazing. But the next day, I was not able to.
It will take me five years after my mother’s death to find a man who will give me a massage and some brief, paid-for love. In Earl’s Court, London. And I will be freed, and tell my best friend, who will surprise me by understanding, without understanding. I will tell him what I did, but not tell him I am gay. I cannot say the word gay until I am thirty nine, four years after that brief massage encounter. Today, it is 18 January 2013, and I am forty three.
Anyway. It will not be a hurricane of diabetes that kills mum inside Kenyatta Hospital Critical Care, before I have taken four steps to get on a plane to sit by her side.
Will leave a small window open the night before she dies, in the July Kenyatta Hospital cold.
It is my birthday today. 18 January 2013. Two years ago, on 11 July 2011, my father had a massive stroke and was brain dead in minutes. Exactly eleven years to the day my mother died. His heart beat for four days, but there was nothing to tell him.
I am five years old.
He stood there, in overalls, awkward, his chest a railway track of sweaty bumps, and little hard beads of hair. Everything about him is smooth-slow. Bits of brown on a cracked tooth, that endless long smile. A good thing for me the slow way he moves, because I am transparent to people’s patterns, and can trip so easily and fall into snarls and fear with jerky people. A long easy smile, he lifts me in the air and swings. He smells of diesel, and the world of all other people’s movements has disappeared. I am away from everybody for the first time in my life, and it is glorious, and then it is a tunnel of fear. There are no creaks in him, like a tractor he will climb any hill, steadily. If he walks away, now, with me, I will go with him forever. I know if he puts me down my legs will not move again. I am so ashamed, I stop myself from clinging. I jump away from him and avoid him forever. For twentysomething years, I even hug men awkwardly.
There will be this feeling again. Stronger, firmer now. Aged maybe seven. Once with another slow easy golfer at Nakuru Golf Club, and I am shaking because he shook my hand. Then I am crying alone in the toilet because the repeat of this feeling has made me suddenly ripped apart and lonely. The feeling is not sexual. It is certain. It is overwhelming. It wants to make a home. It comes every few months like a bout of malaria and leaves me shaken for days, and confused for months. I do nothing about it.
I am five when I close my self into a vague happiness that asks for nothing much from anybody. Absent-minded. Sweet. I am grateful for all love. I give it more than I receive it, often. I can be selfish. I masturbate a lot, and never allow myself to crack and grow my heart. I touch no men. I read books. I love my dad so much, my heart is learning to stretch.
I am a homosexual.