Public Lecture

Homophobia in South Africa and Uganda

Essen – 24 November 2014

In the second lecture of the series "Homophobia in the global context" the ethnologist and writer Rita Schäfer provided insights into the politics of Uganda and South Africa. The anti-gay law in Uganda caused internationally heated political debates and great media attention since the end of 2013. Interest groups and human rights initiatives around the world protested against the legislative project on justification of hate violence in the East African country. South Africa is in contrast to Uganda known as a country of refuge for persecuted homosexuals and trans people. Same-sex marriages are legal and gender transformations possible. South Africa is seen as a country of refuge for persecuted homosexuals and trans-people from other African countries. At the same time especially black lesbian are victims of homophobic hate crimes, which is part of the extremely high rates of gender-based violence. The perpetrators are often known, but mostly not held criminally accountable. Local and international homosexual and human rights organizations have denounced these contradictions twenty years after the democratic changes in the Cape. Rita Schäfer took a closer look at these controversies and showed the conflict between the colonial history and faith-based reasons for homophobia. The courageous work of homosexual organizations was also illustrated by examples.

The lecture series "Homophobia in the global context" is organised together with the Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen (KWI).

Rita Schäfer is a freelance researcher, consultant and author. Her research focuses on gender, gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS and women's rights in Africa. In addition, she prepares analyzes on masculinity in war and post-war societies (e.g. in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Sierra Leone).

Volker Heins is head of the research unit 'Global Cultural Conflicts and Transcultural Cooperation' of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research in Duisburg and Professor of Political Sciences at the Ruhr-University Bochum. He is also the head of the 'Interkultur' Department at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen (KWI).

Time: 19.00-20.30 h
Venue: Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (KWI), Gartensaal, Goethestr. 31, 45128 Essen