South Africa PEN, Open Book and the Book Lounge have a long history together and are delighted to be extending their collaborative events outside of the five day Open Book Festival and into the rest of the year.
The first of these events, Sexuality and the Law: A Debate on Cultural Politics in Africa, will be taking place at the Book Lounge on the 15th April.
Over the last year and specifically the last few months, several states in Africa have passed new laws harshly penalizing sexual minorities. Uganda’s criminalization of homosexuality has earned worldwide attention, as has Nigeria’s recent legislation against LGBTI persons. The scope of these laws is extensive, reaching into the living rooms and bedrooms of individuals, prohibiting association and sex acts. More recently, officials in the Congo are considering similar legislation, and a member of parliament in Kenya declared homosexuality as dangerous as terrorism. Closer to home, LGBTI people in South Africa continue to face violence of all kinds, even though the country has legal protections built into the Constitution, marking its importance as a nation on the continent and in the world.
In light of this new wave of legislation and persecution, South Africa PEN will hold a conversation between Professor Pierre de Vos, the Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance at the University of Cape Town and a well-known writer for the ‘Daily Maverick’ and Professor Desiree Lewis, the Head of Department of Women and Gender Studies at University of Western Cape and feminist activist. Dr. Derrick Higginbotham (UCT, English Department), who teaches queer theory and LGBTI literature, will chair this discussion that will explore sexuality minorities, human rights, religion, and the law in Africa.
First event details:
Date: 15 April 2014
Time: 5.30 for 6pm