Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Queer Politics, Same Sex Marriage

African LGBTI Manifesto/Declaration

The African LGBTI manifesto came out of a roundtable session held in Nairobi in April 2010. It is an important document which sets out clearly the foundation of the LGBTI movement and it’s connection to the broader Pan-African struggle for African liberation.

As Africans, we all have infinite potential. We stand for an African revolution which encompasses the demand for a re-imagination of our lives outside neo-colonial categories of identity and power. For centuries, we have faced control through structures, systems and individuals who disappear our existence as people with agency, courage, creativity, and economic and political authority.

As Africans, we stand for the celebration of our complexities and we are committed to ways of being which allow for self-determination at all levels of our sexual, social, political and economic lives. The possibilities are endless. We need economic justice; we need to claim and redistribute power; we need to eradicate violence; we need to redistribute land; we need gender justice; we need environmental justice; we need erotic justice; we need racial and ethnic justice; we need rightful access to affirming and responsive institutions, services and spaces; overall we need total liberation.

We are specifically committed to the transformation of the politics of sexuality in our contexts. As long as African LGBTI people are oppressed, the whole of Africa is oppressed.

This vision demands that we commit ourselves to:

Reclaiming and sharing our stories (past and present), our lived realities, our contributions to society and our hopes for the future;

Strengthening ourselves and our organizations, deepening our links and understanding of our communities, building principled alliances, and actively contributing towards the revolution.

Challenging all legal systems and practices which either currently criminalize or seek to reinforce the criminalization of LGBTI people, organizations, knowledge creation, sexual self expression, and movement building.

Challenging state support for oppressive sexual, gendered, discriminatory norms, legal and political structures and cultural systems.

Strengthening the bonds of respect, cooperation, passion, and solidarity between LGBTI people, in our complexities, differences and diverse contexts. This includes respecting and celebrating our multiple ways of being, self expression, and languages.

Contributing to the social and political recognition that sexuality, pleasure, and the erotic are part of our common humanity.

Placing ourselves proactively within all movement building supportive of our vision.

End!

Note in response to some of the comments on this blog post, the group signing this document were all AFRICAN activists.

6 Comments

  1.  This is good to see. However, all my efforts to determine who the participants were at this roundtable session have been unsuccessful..

  2. Sokari

    It was a small group of activists from across the continent.

  3. missyjustice

    I want to know why is the group so small? There’s all these terrible things happening in Africa against our community and the majority of people i hear speaking out against it are non-Africans. Usually people who know nothing of our culture and thus really can’t even understand what’s going on and thus cannot successfully change it. I’m 20 years old and born to Ugandan parents (but born/raised in the Us.) and I would love to be a part of a group of LGBT Africans actively working to make ourselves more visible and also to eliminate some of the negative stereotypes of our community. But  I have had no success finding such a group.

  4. Sokari

    There are many groups across the continent working on LGBTI rights and issues. In Uganda alone there are more than 10 groups – the main ones being SMUG, Freedom and Roam Uganda, Integrity Uganda. The Coalition of African Lesbians, The Gay and Lesbian Equality Project, Triangle, Gender Dynamix in SA to name a few and there are many other regional and country wide organisations and groups – Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Morocco, Somalia, Botswana all have LGBTI organisations most of which have websites.

  5. Well, I have found that the “groups” that I have encountered have been less than open to those like Missyjustice and myself who wish to become more involved, but have had little success. The unfortunate impression that I have had, sadly, is that the so called activists seem to think of the LGBTI struggle in Africa as something that belongs to them alone, something that they must cling to and hold on to very tightly, to the exclusion of everyone else who might be interested or willing to contribute, (especially where such persons are perceived not to be a potential source of funding). 

    Yes, progress has been made in the struggle for LGBTI rights in Africa. But the struggle would be much more effective if more people were involved in it, working together, rather than the fragmented scenario that we have today, where several individual African men and women are left alone to singly pursue their own fight..I joined in a protest/demonstration in London early last year (and carried a placard like most others who were present) protesting the then imprisonment of the gay Malawian couple. I tried to introduce myself to the others and make myself known, but I felt rebuffed by some of these supposed activists. It was as if they thought they might be threatened and that I would steal their glory. Its almost as if they think that the activism is about them alone. The intentions of those like Missyjustice and me is to contribute selflessly and wholeheartedly, in the desire that our efforts will be beneficial to the generality of Africa’s LGBTI population. And I dare say that some of us even have a great deal more to offer to the struggle than many of these supposed activists, whose main aim (in my view) appears to be that they achieve notoriety for themselves and be featured in media stories.This is something that just I needed to say.. 

  6. Sokari

    Anengiyefa@ I hear what you are saying and completely agree with you. Mia’s post “FIST” speaks to some of your concerns. I agree with you very much that the LGBTI movement in the UK is fragmented and possessive and also there are far to many non-Africans involved in the organising and directing policy within these groups.

    In my initial response I was referring to groups on the continent. I will email you directly on this issue.