In her opening remarks, Fikile Vilakazi said that as activists working on sexuality and gender issues of gender non-conforming and trans-identifying people, we need to understand our personal relationships to politics and to the movement.
She said this at the first day of the Southern Africa Sexuality and Gender Institute being held by the Coalition of African Lesbians [CAL] in Johannesburg, South Africa. From 7 to 12 April, activists from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho and Botswana will be meeting to engage in critical discourses around sexuality and gender, power, privilege and patriarchy. The six day Institute, through a critical feminist analysis, aims to raise conscious awareness of how these issues affect the work that we do and the influence they have over the contexts in which we work. The ensuing Security and Wellbeing Workshop from 10 to 12 April will work with participants to develop organizational and individual plans around security and wellbeing. Issues of safety, security and wellbeing are increasingly becoming central to the work that sexuality and gender activists do, with more hostile contexts for our work appreaing across the continent.
The Sexuality and Gender Institute is a follow up activity included in the ‘More Than Campaign’ initiative which was developed by Southern Africa members and partners of the Coalition of African Lesbians in August 2013. CAL member organizations expressed the need for a stronger conceptual framework on sexuality and gender in order to develop a feminist analysis and to frame coherent arguments on social justice issues related to sexuality and gender.
CAL will document the issues arising from this Institute on our Blog– www.caladvocacyblog.wordpress.com as well as on social media on our Facebook – www.facebook.com/CoalitionCAL and on Twitter at @caladvocacy or www.twitter.com/CALAdvocacy. Please follow us there to participate in arising conversations and discussions.
We anticipate that it will be a fruitful and engaing six days of unpacking, learning, unlearning and relearning how patriarchy, power and priviledge present and position themselves in our personal and public lives.