RALF Newsletter: March 2021

International Women’s Month

#ChooseToChallenge was this year’s International Women’s Day theme, and a fitting one for us to honour feminist activism and activists.

In this month’s newsletter we will look at and honour the work of feminist activists consistently advocating for just and free worlds for women and all peoples. We start with the Feminist disruptor series: A handbook by the Coalition of African Lesbians showcasing the work of feminist disruptors who have showcased their work on the African Feminist Standpoint. We pay homage to Nawal El Saadawi by showcasing an article written by feminist author Pumla Dineo Gqola, originally published by NewFrame, on Nawal’s life and work. We salute CREA for 20 years of feminist activism and showcase the ‘Moving More Money to the Drivers of Change: How bilateral and multilateral funders can resource feminist movements’ a report by AWID and Mama Cash. Finally we end with an update on the advocacy work being done by CAL, JASS, the Triangle Project and partners around LGBTIQ refugees in Kakuma camp in Kenya.

The Feminist Disruptor Handbook

In celebration of International Women’s Rights day this year, CAL launched the Feminist Disruptors Series: A Handbook . With this year’s theme set as #ChooseToChallenge, we elected to honour feminist activists who bravely and consistently challenge systems and institutions of oppression and dream and create futures where women and all people can live free and autonomous lives. 

The Handbook is a small collection of abstracts taken from the different issues of The African Feminist Standpoint (AFS). In 2019 CAL launched the very first issue of the AFS, a curated digital space for Radical African Lesbian Feminist (RALF) thinking, word and artistic expression.

We see the AFS as a space for feminist disruptors to express themselves and a home to hold their ideas. A place to archive and preserve our love, our passion and our contributions to a wide variety of movements, sectors and disciplines.

These pieces have been curated to speak to and showcase the expansiveness and depth of Black feminist thought -and the women and gender non-conforming people who birth them and share them with us.

The full articles can be found on the AFS platform, www.ralf.cal.org.za

Download the Handbook here

Take a look inside

“Nawal El Saadawi’s enduring feminist legacy”

On 21 March 2021 we lost the prolific Egyptian feminist, writer, activist, physician and psychiatrist, Nawal El Saadawi. In ‘Nawal El Saadawi’s enduring feminist legacy’ , feminist author Pumla Dineo Gqola chronicles the life, defiance and beauty of Nawal El Saadawi’s life and work.

“The Egyptian doctor and writer who died on 21 March never took her eye off the ways in which violent power mutates and demands constant vigilance, yet still believed that ‘hope is power”

Read the full article here.

CREA Turns 20!

This year CREA, “a feminist human rights organisation which builds feminist leadership, advances women’s human rights, & expands sexual & reproductive freedoms for all” turned 20!

CREA has done incredible work in feminist leadership, popular education and sexual and reproductive health rights. 

We see, value and appreciate your commitment to feminist leadership, complicating politics and ensuring all women count. We stand alongside you in your call out and disruption of patriarchy and all institutions of oppression. May our vision of feminist futures materialise in the next 20!

“CREA is a feminist international human rights organization based in the Global South and led by women from the Global South. CREA’s work draws upon the inherent value of a rights-based approach to sexuality and gender equality. CREA promotes, protects, and advances human rights and the sexual rights of all people by building leadership capacities of activists and allies; strengthening organizations and social movements; creating and increasing access to new information, knowledge, and resources; and enabling supportive social and policy environments.”

Moving More Money to the Drivers of Change: How bilateral and multilateral funders can resource feminist movements  

AWID, “a global, feminist, membership, movement-support organization working to achieve gender justice and women’s human rights worldwide” and Mama Cash, “an international fund that supports women’s, girls’, trans and intersex people’s movements around the world” have published a new report titled “Moving More Money to the Drivers of Change: How bilateral and multilateral funders can resource feminist movements ” 
“In recent years, several governments have adopted feminist foreign policies and committed to increase their support for ‘women and girls’. However, more than 99% of these resources have never reached feminist movements directly. The new report: “Moving More Money to the Drivers of Change: How bilateral and multilateral funders can resource feminist movements”, by AWID and Mama Cash, in the context of our Count Me In! partnership, contains key practice-based insights on HOW funding modalities can succeed in providing sustained and direct resources to feminist movements in all their richness, boldness and diversity”

Download the report here.

Update: LGBTQ+ Refugees attacked in Block 13 at Kakuma Camp Kenya 

On March 15 at 2:45am Kenya time, homophobic attackers set LGBTQ+ people on fire while they were sleeping at Block 13 of Kakuma Refugee Camp. This incident is the latest in a long list of vicious attacks against LGBTQ+ refugees at Block 13. The first fire attack occurred on February 15th 2021, which saw 4 gay men set ablaze by other migrants. LGBTQ+ refugees have experienced different forms of physical and sexual violence on a daily basis.

Ayesigye Jordan and Atuhwera Chriton, who suffered 2nd degree burns, were finally airlifted to a main hospital in Nairobi on 19 March 2021. Upon arrival in Nairobi, they received preliminary care, which was mostly an assessment of the severity of their wounds. This unfortunately has not resulted in them getting the care they need. The situation in Nairobi remains similar to the one experienced at Lodwar hospital,  however, exacerbated by stigma and discrimination based on social – cultural beliefs and personal attitudes toward LGBTQ+ persons, from health care workers.

Despite years of urging by organisations to act and protect LGBTQ+ refugees at the Kakuma camp, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has shown little political will and commitment to intervene. 

The UNHCR and the African Human Rights Coalition (AHRC) have since written statements expressing concern over the disparity in reports given from Kakuma camp, highlighting that their attempts to resolve the issues with the groups concerned were not fruitful, a notion supported and expanded on by the AHRC. 

We note with concern the inaccuracies depicted in the statement, the dismissal of the concerns of LGBTQ+ refugees and the organisations and collectives that supported them, and especially the victim blaming by the AHRC that places blame on LGBTIQ refugees to protect themselves from homophobic residents of Kakuma by hiding their sexuality. We would caution any human rights organisation against suggesting that the oppressed should not live too loudly lest they provoke the oppressor. The (in) actions and subsequent statements of the UNHRC and the AHRC have in fact perpetuated a breeding ground for violence. By blaming LGBTQ+ refugees for the violence they have faced they have allowed for heteronormative and patriarchal values to go unchecked, further deteriorating the very safety and security that is the mandate of the UNHCR.

To read the full update please click here