A Call for Botswana LGBTI Stories!

LEGABIBO is embarking in an initiative to allow LGBTI person to tell their story. Stories about love, family, coming out/not coming out, friends, bullying, work experience etc; it could be about anything. These stories will be made into a series of documentaries and short films which will be screened at the Batho Ba Lorato film festival and across the region. It will also be used to aid in raising awareness and tackling stigma and discrimination.
Please note that the stories will be recorded on video or voice recorder – the option is yours. Discretion is taken very serious and if you do not want to identified but still want to tell your story it still is possible. We can hide your identity while you share your story.
If you have further questions or are interested in participating please do not hesitate to contact us, or call/text/WhatsApp LEGABIBO at +267 71 340 794/ +267 393 2517.

Our stories dubbed Dipolelo Tsa Rona!
Our stories dubbed Dipolelo Tsa Rona!

LGBTI activists mourn human rights veteran Joel Nana

Veteran African human rights activist Joël Gustave Nana Ngongang, widely known as Joel Nana, 33, died Oct. 15 after a brief illness.

He worked as a human and LGBT rights advocate and as an anti-HIV activist at local, national and international levels.  His main work focused on African countries, including Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, as well as in his native Cameroon.

He was also a strong pan-Africanist who articulated a broader agenda than just LGBT rights and spoke against domination by the Global North.

Nana helped  found and eventually served as executive director of African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR), the first Africa-wide consortium of organizations focused on addressing HIV and human rights of gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM).   Under his leadership, AMSHeR was
instrumental in raising awareness and mobilizing young African professionals to network and advocate for their rights and health.

AMSHeR-led efforts aimed at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights led to Africa-wide  resolutions denouncing violence and discrimination against LGBT people.   Moblizing AMSHeR members to attend and be visible  at International AIDS Conferences, Nana helped focus global attention on the alarming rates of HIV infection among gay men and men who have sex with men in sub-Saharan Africa – and articulated how the HIV epidemic can be attributed to fear, violence and discrimination against gay men.

As a founding member of the MSM Global Forum, Nana also contributed to advancing global networking, learning, research, and awareness of MSM and gay men’s health and rights globally.  He contributed to and participated at many United Nations meetings, conferences and charters.

Nana also co-founded the Cameroonian advocacy organization Alternatives-Cameroun in 2005, served as Africa researcher for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), and worked at Behind the Mask, a South Africa-based publisher of gay and lesbian news in Africa.

Ever an activist and champion of community mobilization, Nana worked most recently with the World Health Organization and other partners to mobilize community leadership and advocacy around other public  health threats, such as ebola.

From 2009 to 2014, he served as executive director of AMSHeR. He left that organization under a cloud, when he and AMSHeR had a falling-out over his use of donor funds.

At the time of his death, he was chief executive officer at Partners for Rights and Development (Paridev), a Cameroon-based consulting firm that specialized in human rights, development and health in Africa.

He fulfilled the role of loving parent to his niece Sorelle, and his strong family support rooted his sense of  independence and purpose, said Ron MacInnis, deputy director of the U.S. AIDS’s Health Policy Project, who was a colleague and friend of Nana.

From Johannesburg, South Africa, AMSHer issued a statement on behalf of its board, steering committee and membership, mourning the death of its “pioneer Executive Director (ED)” and stating:

Joel Nana (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

“Mr. Nana was AMSHeR ED from 2009 until early 2014, and during that time he oversaw the establishment of the Coalition as a critical community voice on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, and HIV health access for Men who have sex with Men (MSM) in Africa.

“He will be remembered for his tenacious and courageous stand on the importance of MSM and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities being the frontline faces and voices of the fight against their oppression. Joel Nana was a fierce and passionate advocate who led pioneering work on these issues in his native Cameroun and across Africa.

“The AMSHeR family extends our sincere condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace.”


LEGABIBO celebrates #spiritday

Millions of people around the world went purple on Spirit Day (15 October 2015) to take a stand against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.

Observed annually since 2010, individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, and public figures wear purple, which symbolizes ‘spirit’ on the rainbow flag and this year LEGABIBO was no exception. International celebrities even showed their support for #SpiritDay.

Dutch Reformed Church South Africa to recognise gay marriage

PRETORIA – A landmark vote means same sex relationships will now be recognised by the Dutch Reformed Church.

It’s also voted in favour of ordaining gay ministers and scrapping a so-called celibacy clause.

With a 64 percent majority, the church voted in favour of acknowledging same sex unions and allowing gay ministers to be ordained without the need for them to be celibate.

The church said the move was a step in the right direction for human dignity.

Dutch Reform Church moderator Nelis Janse van Rensburg said: “It is historical because with this decision we actually are at a point where there can be no doubt that the Dutch Reformed Church is serious about human dignity.

“And you know that we are living in this country where we have so many problems with the dignity of people.”

But while the decision’s been hailed, individual churches won’t be forced to follow the ruling.

“Church councils and congregations are like families. They will eventually decide that how they will go about it. They know the context, they know the situation, they know about the faith of these people, so they can decide on that.”

The church will also help ministers to get the necessary legal documentation to ratify civil unions.

“The pastors who will legitimise these relationships have to be licensed by the state and we will in due course now start liaising with the state to make that possible for these pastors who are actually willing to become commissioners of same-sex relationships,” Van Rensburg said.

“The church has stated that while its decision will impact (on) churches here, it does not extend to its synod in Namibia, whose laws don’t recognise same-sex relationships.”

– eNCA

File: The Dutch Reformed Church has voted in favour of acknowledging same-sex unions and allowing gay ministers to be ordained without the need for them to be celibate. Photo: AFP / Luis Acosta
File: The Dutch Reformed Church has voted in favour of acknowledging same-sex unions and allowing gay ministers to be ordained without the need for them to be celibate. Photo: AFP / Luis Acosta

Kopano – Freedom For All

The Kopano provided a platform to talk about how to change the views, practices and institutions that prevent people because of who they are and who they love from living a safe and dignified life.
The Kopano provided a platform to talk about how to change the views, practices and institutions that prevent people because of who they are and who they love from living a safe and dignified life.

LEGABIBO took part in the just ended Kopano – Freedom For All convening which was organized by The Other Foundation in the Soweto, Johannesburg. The aim of the Kopano was to bring together LGBTI activists, religious leaders, human rights organisations to talk about the different issues that the LGBTI persons face in Africa, the lessons learned and finding a way forward. The Kopano was meant to provide a space for everyone to reflect together about what everyone is doing, what is working, what is not working and why – with the aim of providing support to each other to develop even smarter strategies to help achieve the depth and scale of social change that we seek.

What We Learned?

Among some of the issues discussed; there is still a lot of homophobia and transphobia in our societies and even in the LGBTI community itself. The LGBTI persons are very quick not to accept our very own queer brothers and sisters but want to be accepted and validated by the broader. The policy makers and religious leaders also need to be continued to be involved in continuous dialogues on LGBTI issues and help to reconcile one with their faith and their sexuality. The need to incorporate arts and culture in our advocacy and awareness raising is vital if we want to get results and reach a broader audience.

The Other Foundation is an African trust dedicated to advancing human rights and social inclusion in southern Africa with a particular focus on sexual orientation and gender identity. The primary focus of the organization is to expand the resources available to defend and advance the rights and well being of the LGBTI people, recognizing the particular dynamics of race, poverty and inequality, sex, gender, national origin, heritage and politics in the world.

The South African premier of While You Weren’t Looking also took place as part of the Kopano. The film which was produced by the Out Of Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival takes a look at South Africa through the lives and experiences of a cross section of Cape Town Queers.

Have a look at the trailer of While You Weren’t Looking.

Happy Independence Botswana

botswana_may_persecute_gays_and_sex_workers_in_new_HIV_plan1As Botswana celebrates its 49th year of independence, LEGABIBO would like to take this opportunity to wish every Motswana a happy and safe independence day. Botswana has come a long way to being one of the worlds leading diamond exporters and the poster child for good governance in Africa. It often leads in being the least corrupt country in Africa. However, there still seems to be a lot of impediments that seems to hinder the progressions of the state; HIV/Aids, poverty, the current water and power crises that the country is currently facing.

The LGBTI community are still not free to express their love and be affirmative. There still seems to be a high rate of homophobia and homophobic attacks in the country. There still are leaders who use their power to oppress the minority and deny them their rights.

Gays and lesbians in Botswana however appear surprisingly emboldened, coming out to announce their sexual preferences in public. More liberal views about LGBTI rights have been heard from some of the top religious and political figures in Botswana and to crown it all, Botswana LGBTIs have mustered the courage to challenge laws outlawing same sex relationships in court. LGBTI rights organisation have also won the case against the Botswana government to register the organisation. The government however filed an appeal early this year. These are just some of the small progress that have been made in the LGBTI community in Botswana. As Botswana celebrates democracy, fairness and equality of all its citizens the underlining fact still remain. One day in the near future we all can truly celebrate together.

Maun Support Group Volunteers at Shelter Botswana.

The Maun based support have taken an initiative to further their community work. They have decided to volunteer at Shelter Botswana to plant healthy green vegetables for them. This initiative helps to feed the less privileged persons in Maun. It also helps to strengthen the relationship between the Maun Support group and the community.

Shelter Botswana has had a great impact in the Maun community.
Shelter Botswana has had a great impact in the Maun community.

Shelter Botswana Health Promotion is a home based care organisation serving HIV positive people and their extended families in the village of Maun. It operates in the health, education, environment and economic development sectors. Established on 4th July 2011, they have already begun to identify and service clients specifically terminally ill HIV/AIDS and TB Patients cared for and sanitary home environment. It is after witnessing the needs of the HIV positive population in Maun that the founder, George Zulu decided to establish his own organisation, which provides home-based care servicing to 25 HIV positive clients in Kubung, Bombadi, Thito and Borolong Wards.

This organisation also undertakes an environmentally friendly economic empowerment program: they provide tools for their clients to farm their own vegetables and also grow worms, which are sold to local fishermen. For this program, Shelter Botswana partners with Conservation Science Africa, who trains volunteers and clients on organic farming. It also partners with the Ron’s Fresh Produce, who purchases a great quantity of the vegetables produced by Shelter Botswana. Through this program, HIV positive clients are able to sustain their living, as well as eating healthier food.

Dipolelo Tsa Rona: Yesterday I Cried!

“What struck me most about the support group was not the sexual orientation of the everyone, but the testimonies given.  One by one, stories were told of people being exiled by families, bullied by communities, shackled by thoughts of suicide and/or filled with the teachings that God no longer loved them because they were gay, lesbian, transgender.  It was heartbreaking.  Many told of humiliating “outings” that were done publicly and in the name of “love.”   Some cried because they were left alone.  Others cried because they hadn’t seen their families in years.  However, what utterly broke my spirit were those who had been damned by the thought they were unworthy of God’s love.”

J 802-31 tears Ann Marie Young, 25, cries as she grapples with depression brought on by a gunshot wound during a robbery that left her a paraplegic, unable to care for herself or her two young children. After Young tried to commit suicide three times and her mother could no longer meet her serious medical needs, she was moved to the Golden Age Home in Kingston, Jamaica, surrounded by residents who are decades older than her. The children now live with relatives. Food For The Poor staff photo by Benjamin Rusnak

LEGABIBO presents Dipolelo Tsa Rona

The Batho Ba Lorato film festival and LeGaBiBo is aimed at creating awareness and creating a platform for knowledge sharing about the LGBTIQ people in Botswana. It also seeks to affirm the values instilled within us such as botho, love and acceptance as we are all sons and daughters of Botswana. Therefore we seek to tell your story; the lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and transgender of Botswana’s story! Including those of family, friends and supporters of LGBTIQ.

Please note that for discretion and safety purposes those that are not comfortable with being recorded, there are other means that still enable you to tell your story; through the use of actors that will act out your story and blurring images to avoid face recognition.

We kindly urge everyone to participate. For those interested or any further clarification please do not hesitate to contact us, or call us on +267 3932516 or call/WhatsApp +267 71 340 794, also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Stories about love, life and happiness. #DipoleloTsaRona
Stories about love, life and happiness. #DipoleloTsaRona
A new initiative by LEGABIBO to advocate, educate and inspire.
A new initiative by LEGABIBO to advocate, educate and inspire.

Remember every story no matter how big or small is worth telling

Francistown Support Group has Rainbow Explosion Car Wash

The  Francistown LGBTIQ support group, also known as United Souls staged a car was early this month as part of their fundraising process. Speaking to the Peer Educator of the group, Wandi Oh, she said that the money raised will be used to help the group and its members to empower themselves. They aim to be financially independent thus enabling them to help out some of their members. The aim of the car was to raise funds for the support group as they intend to set up an account that where they keep money. These monies will be used to help the support group members when there is a case of emergency. For example, if one of the support group members has been kicked out of their homes by family because of their sexual orientation than these funds will be used to help them. It can also be used by members as a loan to help set up small businesses that will help to empower them financially. The support group feel that it is time that they start empowering and building the support group financially and do not exclusively rely on the LEGABIBO office for financial assistance. The carwash was a start for their fund raising and they hope that they will have a carwash once every month. The car wash was tagged ‘Rainbow Explosion Car Wash’. The support group members also took this as an opportunity to raise awareness and educate the public about the LGBTIQ community. Most of the owners of the cars who brought their cars claimed that they have no problems with homosexuals. The rest did not have much knowledge and were eager to learn more. The Francistown culture is generally very much against homosexuality. The town is very cultured and religious as well, and both of these elements play against the LGBTIQ community in Francistown.

Francistown United Souls members busy at the Rainbow Explosion Car Wash.
Francistown United Souls members busy at the Rainbow Explosion Car Wash.
United Soul members washing a car.
United Soul members washing a car.
There was even a free braai when you got your car washed.
Busy! busy! busy! #RainbowCarWashExplosion
Busy! busy! busy! #RainbowCarWashExplosion