UCT Lumumba

Pof PLO Lumumba and EFF leader, Julius Malema. Images: Twitter/@ProfPLOLumumba and @EFFSouthAfrica.

LGBTQI staff at UCT against ‘homophobic’ Prof Lumumba’s lecture on campus

The EFF invited Prof Lumumba to deliver a public lecture at UCT in July as part of the party’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

UCT Lumumba

Pof PLO Lumumba and EFF leader, Julius Malema. Images: Twitter/@ProfPLOLumumba and @EFFSouthAfrica.

LGBTQI+ staff and students at the University of Cape Town (UCT) have asked for the permission granted to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to host Professor P.L.O Lumumba to be rescinded.

The EFF invited Lumumba to deliver a public lecture on 24 July 2023 as part of the party’s 10th anniversary celebrations. 


In the petition, LGBTI+ and allied staff said  Professor Lumumba has admitted to being a homophobe and has publicly condemned queer Africans as “unnatural” on various media platforms. 

Most recently, he has congratulated Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni for “doing the right thing” by signing into Ugandan law the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2023, which further criminalises LGBTIQ people in Uganda. 

ALSO READ: Malema to lead picket against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

As previously reported by The South African, Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023, amongst other things, imposes life sentences for consensual same-sex acts amongst adults, and adds the death penalty for so-called acts of “aggravated homosexuality”.  It furthermore criminalises acts that promote homosexuality, imposing punishments of up to 20 years in prison for allies of LGBTIQA+ Ugandans.

The staff said they believe that by providing Professor Lumumba a platform on campus to deliver a public lecture, UCT signals its tacit acceptance of his homophobic and, in South Africa, unconstitutional pronouncements, which border on hate speech. 

ALSO READ: Despair as Uganda passes Anti-Homosexuality Bill again

“Allowing a self-admitted homophobe to continue with a public lecture on our campus signals to LGBTIQA+ staff and students that we are not valued or safe in our workplace and place of study. 

“While we call on the UCT to not provide any space for Prof. Lumumba to speak, we find it notably unacceptable that a lecture by such a hateful and divisive figure be held in a hall renamed to honour Sarah Baartman, an indigenous woman trafficked, kept in captivity, and sexually abused by colonialists who sought to dehumanise her. It is ironic that Professor Lumumba, who similarly dehumanises and objectifies LGBTIQA+ Africans, and applauds the curtailing of their freedoms in Uganda through imprisonment, has free reign to continue his homophobic discursive violence in a venue named in remembrance of and as a gesture of restorative justice towards Sarah Baartman.”

UCT staff

United Nations Chief, Antonio Guterres called on Uganda to fully respect its international human rights obligations, in particular the principle of non-discrimination and the respect for personal privacy, irrespective of sexual orientation and gender identity.

ALSO READ: Uganda: Anti-Homosexuality Bill must allow for gay “conversion therapy”