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New anthology features LGBTQIA+ activists in Africa

HUMAN rights defenders from across the continent chronicle the depths of discrimination and narrate tales of triumph and of finding belonging in ‘Courage to share – queer activism in Africa’ (2022).

Compiled by Taboom Media and the Gala Queer Archive as a product of a new media advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex and other (LGBTQI+) equality workshop hosted by Taboom Media in February of this year, it is their second anthology following ‘Hopes and dreams that sound like yours – stories of queer activism in sub-Saharan Africa’. It features 28 stories from over 20 countries, including Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Eswatini, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

“The golden thread that binds all of these stories together is the triumphant realisation that we are not alone. By telling their stories, each activist tells mine afresh. I, too, know the dangers of searching for love online; and what it’s like spending sleepless nights worrying about conflicts between my sexuality and religion, and holding back my tongue from rolling my truth and my desire,” says anthology co-editor and debut author Welcome Mandla Lishivha (‘Boy on the run’, 2022) in the book’s introduction.

“Being queer in Africa is challenging. The difficulties highlighted in these stories are a testament to the resilience and strength of the authors,” Lishivha says.

“They reveal activism born from a need for personal change, and a desire to channel pain and anger into improving things for the next generation who will walk in our shoes.”

A sobering and often searing cross-section of the lives of LGBTQIA+ people on the continent that exposes the challenges of modern dating, religion and evading persecution in countries where homophobic laws are enacted violently or extended beyond prescription by law enforcement as well as ordinary citizens, ‘Courage to share’ is published in the hope that it will reach audiences far and wide.

‘Rainbow sprinkles’, a story by queer human rights defender Karin Johannes is a sweet story of finding love and community after a period of familial and personal upheaval.

“I wrote the story because there are not a lot of coming out conversations in Namibia,” says Johannes, who was part of this year’s media advocacy for LGBTQI+ equality workshop cohort.

“There’s always been a need for me personally to share people’s coming out stories but the Namibian version,” she says.

“Maybe my story and the person next door’s will give that experience to the government to say: “I always vote for you. My story is important. Listen to my story. How am I protected?”, Johannes says.

“I don’t know how many policymakers will be reading it, but more of this needs to come out,” she says.

“Whether through my story or someone else’s, I hope that this anthology helps more people to understand that, at the end of the day, we are human beings.”

‘Courage to share – queer activism in Africa’ is available to download and free to distribute at

[email protected]; Martha Mukaiwa on

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