Contributors are invited to write on the topic above from either a research or an activism perspective. Abstracts and contributions must be written in English and in a style accessible to a wide audience. Please submit abstracts to leverne@eject.co.za or admin@agenda.org.za

No later than 20th August 2014


GUEST EDITORS: ZETHU MATEBENI & THABO MSIBI

Conceptual Rationale:

In this issue we seek to extend the debate on sexual and gender diversities within the African context, especially given the increased virulent forms of political and social exclusion and violent backlash emerging in many African countries. In particular, we seek to advance African epistemologies and paradigms in relation to both theorising about ‘non-normative’ sexual desire and gender diversities in Africa, as well as in writing about related activism in attaining sexual justice. We invite papers and responses to consider the following, but not limited, issues, themes, questions or provocations:

  • An engagement with theoretical frameworks on sexuality and gender that problematises the languages used to describe sexual and gender diverse experiences in the continent. More specifically, what does it mean to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, pansexual, queer or questioning in Africa today? Are these categories sufficient in capturing and understanding the diverse ways in which in which individuals identify in African settings? What role does existing language play in either enhancing or restricting ‘non-normative’ sexual and gender identities within the African context?
  • An exploration of the ways in which sexual and gender diverse groups and individuals in Africa understand and theorise the rising hatred, violence and anti-humanist turn in the continent. What possibilities or opportunities exist in responding or existing within queerphobic/homophobic/transphobic contexts? How can ‘queer’ movements, collectives or groupings affect change?
  • How and in what ways does the discourse on human rights and citizenship contribute towards sexual and gender diversity; queerness; LGBTI; MSM; and WSW categorisation within the African context?
  • What role, if any, do other intersecting identity markers (race, gender, ethnicity, disability, religiosity, nationality, etc.) play in shaping the experiences of ‘non-normative’ sexual and gender diversities in the continent?
  • ‘Queer’ desire, intimacy and pleasure
  • Identity politics; politics of pride and naming
  • Borders, migration, nationhood, refugee status, asylum
  • Positionality and same-sex identification
  • Representation and engagements in literature, film, performance, visual art, popular culture and media
  • Body image, body politics, embodiment (including diets and cosmetic surgery), medicalisation and dis-abilities
  • Family life and experiences
  • Law, politics and regulation
  • Education, LGBTI rights and justice
  • Culture and the aesthetics of LGBT life
  • Non-conforming femininities and masculinities
  • Sexual and gender diversity activism

Objectives of this issue:

  1. To advance understanding, interpretations and knowledge on sexual and gender diversity in the African continent.
  2. To present an understanding of the lived experiences of (pansexual, bisexual or same-sex) desiring; gender ‘non-conforming’ or queer subjectivities in the African continent.
  3. To trouble Western conceptions and epistemologies in relation to African experiences of queer, sexual and gender diversity.

Authors and New Voices:
This issue particularly encourages new and emerging writers to submit contributions as the aim for the issue is to bring new perspectives to existing debates in the field. The issue also seeks articles from a wider representation of contexts beyond South Africa. Scholars from outside of South Africa are therefore particularly encouraged to submit contributions.

About the Guest Editors:
Zethu Matebeni is a researcher at the Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA) at the University of Cape Town and completed a PhD at Wits University on black lesbian sexualities and identities in Johannesburg. Within the university space, Zethu is also an activist and documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on advancing social justice for queer communities as well as lesbian, transgender, gay and intersex people in Africa. Many of Zethu’s publications appear in various international academic journals and books. Most recently, Zethu has published a collection of queer art and essays “Reclaiming Afrikan: queer perspectives on sexual and gender identities”.
Thabo Msibi is senior lecturer in curriculum studies in the School of Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he is also Cluster Leader for the Education Studies Academic Cluster. His works falls within the wider area of Gender and Education, with his focus being on same-sex desire and schooling. Thabo has published research in South African and international journals and books, and sits on the Editorial Board of Gender and Education, as well as four NGO Boards, mainly on same-sex and gender diversity issues, in South Africa.

See Editorial Policy for  submission details