Monday, 8 February 2010

Audio: The State We're In - Being gay in Africa

Source: Radio Netherlands Worldwide - 30 January

As Uganda considers strengthening its already homophobic laws, this week we present a special edition of the programme looking at what it's like to be gay throughout Africa with voices from Namibia, Ghana, Uganda and South Africa.

Life for gays?
Africa is not a place to be out and proud right now. Homosexual acts are illegal in 37 countries on the continent and in recent years many African leaders have been increasing the anti-gay rhetoric. In Uganda a proposed law would make being gay punishable by life imprisonment. Jonathan is joined by Ian Swartz, founder of a gay rights organisation in Namibia, and Scott Long from Human Rights Watch in New York.

Lorenzo’s story
Lorenzo is a hairdresser in Cameroon. He met a man in a bar and they clicked and they decided to live together. That’s when the police got involved. Lorenzo spent seven months in prison without trial.

Ian’s story
Ian Swartz founded the Rainbow Project in Namibia at a time when its president began to hound gays and lesbians. The home affairs minister called for their elimination and became known as the minister for homophobic affairs. Ian talks about the abuse he experienced and why it increased his determination to create change.

Prince’s story
Prince Macdonald, in his own words, is gay, proud and African. He lives in the Ghanaian capital Accra and talks about how, despite homosexual acts being illegal in his country, he’s still determined to enjoy life as much as possible.

Steve’s story
Her real name is Mapaseka, but everyone calls her Steve. She was young when she came out to her family. It wasn’t easy, but they eventually accepted her. But when she was 15, She was raped by a family friend who believed she should be shown what it’s like to be a ‘real’ woman. Despite a constitution protecting gay and lesbians, she still feels unsafe.

Link: video interviews with South African victims of 'corrective rape' from The Guardian website.


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