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Murder of Ugandan gay activist, David Kato: a response

Musa Okwonga
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  • Last updated: Thursday, 27 January 2011 at 4:17 pm

96788510 300x226 Murder of Ugandan gay activist, David Kato: a responseYesterday David Kato, a Ugandan gay rights activist, was beaten to death in his home.  His murder came a few months after a tabloid had published an article exposing him and other people as homosexual, in what was a very modern witchhunt.  Following the publication of that article, he received several death-threats; the police are currently investigating the circumstances of his death, but it’s not very difficult to join the dots.  Kato was one of the leading opponents to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which calls for the imprisonment and, in some cases, execution of gay people.

A couple of years ago, Eudy Simelane, a lesbian in South Africa who had represented her country at football, was gang-raped, beaten and stabbed to death.  This, it seems, is because she did not keep her sexuality secret.

There is no fitting tribute to the immense bravery of either of these people.  There can only be hope that one day they will be remembered as fondly as Steve Biko, who, like Simelane and Kato, died so that others could simply be themselves.  Below is a poem I wrote at the time of Simelane’s death, and so I have dedicated it to her and Kato here.

My Love (for David Kato and Eudy Simelane)

To some people
My love is somewhat alien;
When he comes up, they start subject-changing, and
In some states he’s seen as some contagion -
In those zones, he stays subterranean;
Some love my love; they run parades for him:
Liberal citizens lead the way for him…
But the same time as these people are embracing him,
Whole faiths and nations seem ashamed of him:
They’ve tried banning him,
God-damning him,
Toe-tagging him,
Praying that he stayed in the cabinet,
But my love kicked in the panelling and ran for it -
He’s my love! Can’t be trapping him in labyrinths! -
Maverick, my love is; he thwarts challenges;
The cleverest geneticists can’t fathom him,
Priests can’t defeat him with venomous rhetoric;
They’d better quit; my love’s too competitive…
He’s still here, despite the Taliban, the Vatican,
And rap, ragga in their anger and arrogance,
Who call on my love with lit matches and paraffin -
Despite the fistfights and midnight batterings,
My love’s still here and fiercely battling,
My love’s still here and fiercely battling;

Because my love comes through anything –

My love comes through anything.

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  • Colin

    I can’t stop weeping. Thank you!


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