LGBTQIA+ organisations and student activists have slammed UCT for allowing Kenyan academic professor Patrick Lumumba onto the campus.
This, amid an outcry from some of the university’s staff and students over Lumumba’s controversial views on the LGBTQIA+ community.
Lumumba was invited by the EFF to deliver a public lecture last night, as part of the party’s 10-year anniversary celebrations.
Lumumba has been a vocal supporter of an anti-homosexuality bill recently passed in Uganda.
The bill recommends heavy sentences, including the death penalty for homosexuality.
In a recent interview, he said he was homophobic and believed homosexuality “could be cured”.
Outraged UCT LGBTIQA+ staff and allies protested outside the Sarah Baartman Hall at UCT against Lumumba’s visit on Monday, where they clashed with some EFF supporters.
EFF Student Command president, Sihle Lonzi, said: “Our view, is that the issue is that any programme that the EFF puts forward at UCT was bound to trigger some form of outrage, irrespective of who we were going to bring.
“Of course, we totally empathise with the concerns that have been raised.
But we have to highlight the fact that a genuine issue is being used against the EFF.”
Khanyisile Phillips of Gender Dynamics said: “We came out to speak to the institution that allowed this lecture and this homophobic academic to come out into the institution and use their premises to propagate hate. We are also here to speak to the EFF who extended the invitation to someone who claims to be a pan-Africanist. He’s been saying he’s supporting the anti-homosexuality bill of Uganda. He has openly said that he believes that people of the LGBTQ community should be murdered and that homosexuality can be cured because they are ill and that they should be imprisoned. We ask why the EFF took the stance to invite him, because they wouldn’t have taken that stance if he was a racist bigot."
EFF national spokesperson Sinawo Tambo said they have opposed the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda.
“The EFF has nothing to respond to as our position on the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda is well known, we marched against it,” he said.
A UCT second-year student said they were appalled at the position taken by the institution.
“The idea that you can have somebody on campus who has spoken so much hate against a marginalised group of people is appalling and the fact that the university is allowing someone like that on campus shows some kind of administrative laziness and a lack of care for the concerns raised by students,” she said.
UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said the lecture was not a UCT event.
“It should be noted that UCT management is not in any way involved in the programme for events hosted by external parties on campus, nor does management necessarily align with the hosting external parties or any views held or expressed by any speaker.
“The university has noted with concern the comments that have subsequently been made by the speaker and the critical conversations that have emerged as a result, and urges the external host and the concerned parties to engage these accordingly,“ he said.
In his address, Lumumba called for Africans to unite.
“The story of Africa is a story of missed opportunity. We lift our flags high. But we have fallen short. That’s why I call for the EFF’s spirit of economic emancipation must go all over Africa,” he said.