Location: M2380

1:45-3:15 p.m. Thursday, Nov 2, 2023

Discussant: Alexandra Cosima Budabin, Institute for Minority Rights, Italy 


Subscribe to RSS Feed

Thursday, November 2nd
1:45 PM

Sexuality, Homophobia and Africanness: A Rights-Based Analysis of the Contemporary Pushback of Africa’s LGBTQI+ Community

Mziwandile Ndlovu, African Institute For Development Policy
Sarah Wesonga, Article 19


1:45 PM - 3:15 PM

This paper explores the topical and emotive subject of sexuality in Africa from a rights-based perspective. It analyses the growing homophobia in Africa which has manifested in prejudicial statements against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) community by senior public officials and legislative efforts to curtail sexual rights. In April 2023, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni called on Africa to save the world from homosexuality as ruling party legislators demonstrated overwhelming support for a new anti-LGBTQI+ law. In March in Kenya, both President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga castigated the judiciary for upholding the LGBTQI+ Community’s right to freedom of association and ruled that they could establish associations and program in the country. Both leaders condemned homosexuality as an un-African practice. The paper analyses the events in Kenya leading to the seismic court ruling and considers various scenarios of how the LGBTQI+ community’s rights could be affected by the homophobic attitude of political elites and also assesses the fitness of Africa’s human rights mechanisms to protect the LGBTQI+ community. The paper further uses the review of literature and key informant interviews with relevant respondents to interrogate whether or not homosexuality is indeed un-African. The paper also explores how LGBTQI+ community activists from countries from hostile countries like Uganda have found significant allies like the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in countries with progressive LGBTQI+ legislation like South Africa and are using these alliances to push back against entrenched homophobia in their countries. Attention is also given the Kenyan LGBTQI+ community’s plans to give effect to the court ruling in a hostile environment as well as the work of not only sexual rights groups but also legislators in countries like Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Botswana to promote sexual rights who also form the nucleus of the key informants.

Youth Activism in Post #Endsars Era: Envisioning a United Nigeria through the Exercise of Voting Rights

Alex Ekeke


1:45 PM - 3:15 PM

Youth activism is an avenue by which, typically, young people engage in civic and political activities that help champion a course, change government’s unpopular policies or create other long-term changes in their communities. As the largest demographic group in Nigeria, youths have recently, shown a strong willingness to participate in activism. Recently, in October 2020, the Nigerian youths, led by some youth activist, championed what is perhaps the most united, decentralized and successful protest in Nigeria through the #Endsars protest movement. Despite the large proportion of young people and youth activism in Nigerian, they have not achieved the level of inclusion required to gain representation in Nigerian politics. This study engages secondary sources to investigate the interplay between, youth activism and youth political participation in Nigeria, using the #Endsars movement and the recent political awakening of the youths as a unit of analysis. This paper argue that, through activism, youths can boost political processes and attain equity in the Nigerian political arena by fully exercising their voting rights.

Social Media Activism: Reshaping Human Rights Discourse in Africa

Oyinade Adekunle, McMaster University


1:45 PM - 3:15 PM

In the 21st century, social media has emerged as a powerful tool for championing human rights in Africa, providing a platform for education, protest, awareness creation, and information dissemination. By transcending geographical boundaries and physical limitations, social media enables Africans to promote human rights agendas and engage in discourse on a global scale. This paper examines the transformative impact of social media on African human rights discourse. It begins by exploring the pivotal role of social media in disseminating information and raising awareness about human rights issues. It emphasizes how social media facilitates the reach of a wider audience, enabling the sharing of personal stories, experiences, and mobilization around issues of injustice and inequality. Moreover, social media platforms have played a vital role in connecting African activists, fostering solidarity networks, and supporting human rights causes.

Also, this paper investigates the dynamic modalities of human rights activism present on social media, such as the use of hashtags, engagement with relevant partners (both individuals and organizations), posting of informative materials (including pictures, memes, and videos), and the vocal "Cancel Culture" that challenges oppressive systems, raises awareness of human rights issues, and mobilizes people to act. However, this paper acknowledges the potential risks and drawbacks associated with its use by examining these negative implications to provide a balanced perspective.

The paper raises critical questions: To what extent has social media contributed to reimagining human rights activism in Africa? What new modalities are inherent in social media that promote human rights? To what extent has social media advanced the cause of human rights in Africa? By shedding light on the multifaceted role of social media in reshaping African human rights discourse, this paper contributes to a better understanding of the potential and relevance of social media.

African Right to Identity as a Right to Development: A Media Right Agenda

Olunifesi Adekunle Suraj, University of Lagos
Gift Oluwatosin Olalusi, African Center for Media and Intercultural Dialogue, University of Lagos
Olawale Olaleye, ThisDay Newspapers


1:45 PM - 3:15 PM

The Right to Development is still a highly contested concept in academic and political circles. However, it is evident that irrespective of the divide of the debate, all known declarations including the United Nations, the UN Millennium Declaration, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights among others are yet to have a lasting impact on the liberation and the overall development of Africa and African descent. Hence, in order to find solutions around the right to development from the African perspective, this paper aims to reconcile the divergent views on the right to development and propose a way forward beyond the present rhetoric. This paper employs content and discourse analysis with in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. Major existing declarations will be content analyzed and discourse analysis of relevant literature carried out in order to find a common thread. The initial findings will be subjected to focus group discussions and in-depth interviews of scholars from the Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences, Civil development organizations, and Media practitioners. The paper intends to reflect a need for psychological and cultural regeneration of Africans in order to achieve self-discovery and equal participation in global affairs. This African rebirth would be based on African Media Right Agenda. The proposed agenda will specify Africans’ right to be portrayed as a dignified race (The United Nations Declaration of human rights Article 19, Race and Racial Prejudice Article 5, and Cultural Diversity and Human Rights Article 6). Furthermore, the paper envisaged African Media Right Agenda as a movement to bridge the knowledge gap about Africa and to counter ideological manipulation through the repositioning of African Universities Curricula. This paper is of the opinion that African rights to development can be pursued through a dedicated African Media International Network (AMIN) managed and financed by Africans.