/ 13 April 2021

Short film: Zimbabwe’s queer refugees speak out

The challenge to the constitutionality of section 162 of the Penal Code was brought before the court by Kenyan human rights activists.
Kenyan students who are presumed to be gay are often kicked out of school, but queer activists are putting this practice on notice. (AFP)

In the hopes of repealing Section 73 of Zimbabwe’s Constitution — which criminalises same-sex relations — a group of Zimbabwean LGBTIQ refugees and asylum seekers recently formed the South African-based organisation, Zimbabwe LGBTIQ+ Crusader.

Describing itself as an “amalgamation of Zimabwean LGBTIQ+ who are living in South Africa and have fled the country in fear of persecution,” the organisation held a march to the Zimbabwean consulate in Cape Town on Monday April 12, where it handed over a petition demanding that the government and parliament of Zimbabwe remove or amend section 73 of the Constitution. And that Zimbabwe respects, observes and promotes the rights of LGBTQI+ people.

Robert (not his real name), is a gay Zimbabwean man who fled to South Africa in the hopes of making this his home. What he found instead was abuse at the hands of other gay men, homophobia from Department of Home Affairs officials as well as the difficulties of navigating the Covid-19 pandemic as a sex worker living in a foreign country. 

In this short film by Carl Collison, Robert speaks with candour about fleeing his homeland, his life in South Africa and his hopes for the future.

* This film was commissioned by the GALA Queer Archive and sponsored by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS) with funds from the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The content of this short film is the sole responsibility of the GALA Queer Archive and Carl Collison and does not necessarily reflect a position of RLS.