Protest against EFF lecture by homophobic professor at UCT


Professor Patrick Lumumba is openly queerphobic and a supporter of Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act

A coalition of LGBTIQA+ organisations and University of Cape Town (UCT) staff and students will protest against the upcoming public lecture by homophobic Kenyan professor Patrick Lumumba to mark the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) tenth anniversary.

The demonstration against homophobia, transphobia and homophobic and transphobic hate speech is scheduled to take place on the Plaza outside the Sarah Baartman Hall on 24 July, the date of the contentious lecture.

At the core of the protest is the objection to Lumumba’s media and social media statements that denigrate same-sex relations and transgender identities as “unnatural” and “un-African.”

The protest organisers, which include Triangle Project and Gender DynamiX, said that his harmful rhetoric contributes to an environment where violence against queer lives thrives. They argue that publicly-funded institutions, like the university, should not provide a platform for speakers who perpetuate hate speech against queer Africans.

More than 1,000 students and staff have signed a petition, asking the university’s Vice Chancellor to rescind permission for any of UCT’s venues to host Lumumba.

The demonstration will also express solidarity with LGBTIQA+ individuals in Uganda and other queer Africans across the continent who face severe punishments, including the death penalty and imprisonment, simply for being queer.

“Through our protest, we want to hold the EFF accountable for platforming a homophobic proponent of hate speech, in direct dereliction of their duty as an opposition party to uphold the Constitution of South Africa, which prohibits all forms of unfair discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, or sexual orientation,” said the organisers in a statement.

They pointed out that the EFF’s invitation to Lumumba appears to contradict the party’s past stance on Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law, against which they protested earlier this year.

“Furthermore, the EFF’s stance is seen as detrimental to queer Africans seeking refuge in South Africa, believing it to be a safer haven due to the protections granted to the queer community by the country’s Constitution,” said the organisers. “The decision to celebrate their anniversary with Lumumba as a speaker is viewed as a betrayal of these Africans seeking safety and acceptance.”

The protest, slated to begin at 4 pm and last until 7 pm on the 24th of July, will include a placard demonstration and various artistic performances by queer and allied communities. A vigil will also be held to honour the memory of queer lives lost to transphobic and homophobic violence.

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