Supporters of gay rights and EFF members go head to head at UCT
Tensions ahead of lecture by controversial Kenyan professor
Tensions ran high at the University of Cape Town on Monday evening as supporters of gay rights confronted members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) ahead of a lecture by Kenyan professor Patrick Lumumba.
Lumumba, who has been reported as supporting repression of gay people in Uganda, was invited by the EFF for the party’s ten-year birthday celebration who rented out the hall at UCT.
The two groups confronted each other outside the Sarah Baartman Hall, each trying to out-sing the other. Protesters from the LGBT community waved rainbow flags and posters saying “Queer lives matter”, “Lumumba uyabhora” (Lumumba you are annoying) and “Education cures homophobia”.
Micha Cerf, vice chairperson of Rainbow UCT, said, “Professor Lumumba has expressed, quite explicitly, that he is a self-proclaimed homophobe. He has also called queerness and homosexuality unAfrican and has expressed the fact that he believes what is happening in Uganda is good.”
“The queer community at UCT find it completely unacceptable that someone like that is allowed to speak on our grounds, our university where we come to feel safe,” said Cerf.
Cerf said the message they were trying to get across by doing the protest was that queerness is African and homophobia is unAfrican.
Triangle Project’s Ling Sheperd said: “UCT prides itself on being the top university in Africa and they always remind us that they are inclusive and diverse and are committed to transformation, so we find it quite hypocritical that they would have a platform for a known homophobic person.”
“Professor Lumumba is very open about his homophobia and bigotry in general. And then the EFF leader Julius Malema was draped in a pride flag in solidarity with the Ugandans not so long ago, it’s just really baffling.”
An EFF protester who did not want to give his name said the event was just a celebration and the focus should be on that.
Professor Lumumba, an outspoken Pan-Africanist, delivered a fiery 40-minute speech which was well received by the audience. He mainly spoke about the need for African unity to respond to the oppression of African people across the continent in the past, and the continued oppression of African people by the large powers today. He did not bring up the issue of homosexuality or Ugandan laws criminalising homosexuality.
Provincial EFF spokesperson Wandile Kasibe was unavailable for comment.
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