CAL Aims to Lead Lesbians' Projects
Two weeks ago, the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) held its second leadership training in Johannesburg, South Africa. Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) spearheaded this year’s session that focused on research that was held in Lekgotla Space at Women’s Gaol of the Constitution Hill.
The training that included women from Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda was quite riveting in that it was interactive and every woman participated – that included Zanele Muholi’s photographic lessons and Don Cavanah of Gender Aids Forum talking about sexual health.
Members of CAL such as Lesbian, Gay and Bisexuals of Botswana (LeGaBiBo), Positive Women (of Kenya), Sister Namibia, The Rainbow Project (of Namibia), INCREASE (of Nigeria), Gender Aids Forum, Forum for the Empowerment of Women, Behind the Mask, Gay And Lesbian Archives, OUT (all of South Africa), TELESA of Tanzania and FARUG of Uganda.
It was through such trainings that CAL intends to integrate and unite all lesbian movements in Africa to start developing own research models.
Liz Frank – a member of CAL leadership says Tommy Boys (an already published research text) is being used as a platform by Saskia Wieringa (a pioneering researcher on sexuality) to encourage other lesbians to initiate own researches.
Frank says CAL “is situated within the strong global lesbian network”, particularly that it presents itself at most international women’s conferences such as Bangkok’s AWID and the recent Banjul’s human rights commissioners in The Gambi.
Issues that were raised from other parts of the continent are that it’s difficult to register lesbian organisations with governments – and that includes legal procedures. Worst cases have been reported in countries such as Nigeria and Namibia.
As a highlight, Muholi – an experienced photographer, took the centre stage to talk about her model of women researchers who are involved in photographic skills.
Victor Mukasa from Uganda attests that, “I don’t believe that we participate (adequately) at national events as lesbians…”
A lot has been said during this five-day engagement, but the second day’s focus was so stern and challenged the states’ stereotypes on homophobia, which most lesbians experience in the continent.
by Musa Ngubane (BtM Reporter)