As one way to combat the exclusion and erasure of diverse bodies from conversations in church, academy, and society, Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM) and the Ujamaa Centre in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) started the process in 2020 of developing a series of Contextual Bible Study (CBS) processes to contest the conservative readings of the Bible that are often life-denying towards Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ+) people.
Davis Mac-Iyalla, the Executive Director of the Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa (IDNOWA), reflects on how recent anti-LGBTIQ+ sentiment in Ghana impacted IDNOWA’s participation in IAM’s regional partner monitoring, evaluation and learning convening.
IAM and UKZN’s recently hosted Queer Clergy Think Tank brought together queer clergy, traditional healers, allies and students to co-create a space where the LGBTIQ+ community could find a space of renewal.
IAM has created a new resource, “The Bible and Homosexuality: A Toolkit.” The publication was officially launched 30 Sept 2021, with panellists and participants invited to contribute to the continual review and co-creation of the resource.
IAM’s Michelle Boonzaaier reflects on the need for rest and reflection to keep our activism work moving forward, and how IAM is building those principles into our work in South Africa and across the continent.
From 2018-2020, IAM took part in the Schools Out project looking at the role of faith and religion in comprehensive sexuality education across seven countries in Africa. In “Amplifying teachers’ voices for inclusive education,” we spoke with 16 high school teachers in four countries to better understand their perspectives on teaching and supporting CSE in their contexts.
From 2018-2020, IAM took part in the Schools Out project looking at the role of faith and religion in comprehensive sexuality education across seven countries in Africa. In “Reflections on religion, faith and comprehensive sexuality education,” we spoke with our local partners to understand their experiences implementing the project.
IAM’s Hanzline R. Davids looks at the recent Constitutional Court ruling that found Jon Qwelane guilty of hate speech, what it means for the wider faith community, and how we can alter our language in faith spaces to create more life-affirming communities.
Earlier this year, IAM partnered with the Faculty of Theology at the University of Stellenbosch to host the annual Human Sexuality and Gender Diversity workshop for students in the Masters of Divinity programme. Several participants and faculty share here their reflections on the workshop.
2016 has officially begun, and the new year has been filled with challenges that have the potential to become exciting opportunities. Change is on the horizon in our country and we at IAM are working to make sure that the change is positive.At the start of this month we hosted a yearly workshop with the MTH Gender and Health students from the University of Stellenbosch's Faculty of Theology. On their visit, they were acquainted with the huge difficulties facing the LGBTQIA+ communities in South Africa's townships. This is part of our push to further understanding and acceptance in communities.
The beginning of the year has seen some important moves, both forward and backward, for the Anglican Church. On January the 15th, 2016 the global Anglican communion was brought together by the leader of their faith, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, so that the church might prevent further fracturing. The threat of a schism which would carve a deep fissure in the Anglican community stems from U.S. province’s decision to support same-sex marriage. Over the past few years there has been mounting pressure on church organisations the world over to rethink the official stance that marriage is only between a man and a woman, in addition to pleas for the church to simply welcome LGBTQIA+ communities into the church at all. While the latter has gained a lot more traction, with various NGOs working with churches and communities to facilitate dialogue between stakeholders.
Popular imagination tells us that if there is anything to be learned from the history of psychoanalysis and psychology, it’s that sex and our minds are intertwined in a complex web of tensions. South Africa’s national psychology then, serves as a case study in hyperbole. South Africa has some of the highest rape statistics in the world, with someone being raped every four minutes, and a woman being murdered by her intimate partner every 8 hours. Combine this with the single highest rate of HIV infection in the world, and it’s easy to see a problem. The issue is also not a new one. In fact, according to Professor Pumla Dineo Gqola, it is deeply rooted in South Africa’s past.
(Geskryf deur Gert Janse van Rensburg) Geagte Leser Dis met moedeloosheid en ook ‘n diepe teleurstelling dat ek weer die afgelope paar weke die media dophou en oor en oor lees oor die sogenaamde “sensitiewe” vraagstuk oor gay mense in die kerk en binne die Christelike geloof. Party brawe persone staan op vir gay mense en word dan uitgekryt as valse leraars wat die Woord verdraai en wat ‘n sogenaamde sonde wil goedpraat. “Dit kan nie!” is die reaksies van baie. Die kerk en in die besonder die Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika (NHK) is traag en sleep voete om hierdie “sensitiewe” kwessie aan te pak en eens en vir altyd ‘n finale besluit daaroor te neem. In die proses is hulle besig om al hoe meer irrelevant te word in die samelewing en duisende mense diep te verwond – nie net gay persone nie maar ook hul families en vriende. Ek is gebore, gedoop, gekatkiseer en is ook opgelei as predikant binne die NHK.
Written by Arnold Msibi Motsau -
I write this letter in an attempt give a few of my reflections on how my body has experienced your body. This letter is a matter of body’s receiving pleasure and being denied pleasure. I write unashamedly as a Christian and situate this letter from within my experiences as a Christian body. You will find that I address you in your ecclesial sense as well as well as how I and others may understand you in a corporeal, nonphysical sense. Although these two characteristics ascribed to you may be considered distinct, they are undoubtedly intertwined. I have not been around as long as you have, I do however know that Paul the apostle is most quoted in conversations around you; I hereby also attempt to employ him as one of the many voices who have had something to say about you throughout the ages. I would like to start off by claiming that you have regulated bodies and how they are to find sexual pleasure, all this I assume has been an attempt to ‘unify’ your body, to give it unitary sexual regulations through man made dogma. These doctrines decide which bodily experiences are allowed to exist and considered valid and which bodily experiences are not.
“Yesterday was an extraordinary overwhelming experience for me. It was my first time in the Supreme Court of Appeal and I must admit it was not what I expected. I knew it was going to be challenging but the apparent hostility from the judges took me by surprise. Within the first 5 min of Anna-Marie de Vos (SC) presenting our argument, I sensed that this was not going to be as I’ve expected. One judge would ask a question and without giving my counsel an opportunity to respond or even finish her response, another would interject with comments and questions (which they apparently seemed already to know the answer to).” This was the comment of Rev Ecclesia de Lange after the trial in the Supreme Court of Appeal on Tuesday. I was deeply shocked over the proceedings and behaviour of the honourable judges as I perceived them to be harassing the counsel, Anna-Marie de Vos (SC), for the appellant, with rude interruptions, noticeable irritation, not listening to arguments and obvious bias favouring the status quo arguments of the respondent for the Church, (MCSA).