African feminism has come of age. For this reason, it is necessary to celebrate the rich tapestry of women organising across the continent for the basic dignity and essential value of human beings in all their diversity. Feminist struggles have taught us that in order to succeed in confronting oppressive structures and discourses we must organise within and across national borders. The Coalition for African Lesbians (CAL) is part of the stunning rainbow of colours woven into the African feminist tapestry across borderlands. With the birth of CAL ten years ago, the pulse of African feminism was boosted with fresh energy, new ideas and breakthrough conceptual developments. It is through such vibrancy and value-addition that the continent has recorded incremental progress in the visibility and realisation of LGBTI rights. The presence of CAL has been keenly felt in Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, The Gambia and all the other African countries, institutions and organisations that persist in denying basic rights to LGBTI individuals and communities. CAL’s recent success in acquiring Observer Status at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights was no mean feat and bespeaks the phenomenal work it has accomplished. But even as we pop the champagne and celebrate CAL’s 10th birthday, feminists around the continent must brace themselves to join CAL in confronting the backlash against inclusive human rights and freedoms.
Hongera CAL on attaining your 10th anniversary!
Sylvia Tamale, Professor of Law, Makerere University, Uganda