EFF leader Julius Malema draped himself in an LGBTQIA+ flag as he led the crowd to the Ugandan Embassy in Pretoria.
- Many protests are expected by staff, students, and LGBTQIA+ community allies.
- He is against a planned public lecture at UCT by a controversial academic.
- Professor Patrick Lumumba is the keynote speaker at the EFF’s tenth anniversary celebrations.
The University of Cape Town (UCT) is preparing for protests against a planned public lecture by a controversial academic, infuriating staff, students and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
On Monday evening, the EFF is set to host its 10th anniversary celebrations at UCT’s Sarah Baartman Auditorium, where Kenyan Pan-African researcher Professor Patrick Lumumba will be the keynote speaker.
Lumumba, who said in an interview with DigiTalk TV that homosexuals should be “treated”, is an outspoken supporter of Uganda’s anti-gay bill, which would criminalize homosexuality with harsh penalties, including the death penalty.
EFF leader Julius Malema, who led a protest outside the Ugandan Embassy in Pretoria, has widely criticized the bill.
UCT faced backlash for allowing the EFF to host the lecture on its basis.
Last month, a petition, drafted by staff and students, was issued to the interim Vice-Chancellor, Daya Reddy, and the Vice-Chancellor, Ilwani Ramogundu.
Several protests are expected before the public lecture.
Triangle Project spokesperson Ling Sheperd said the protest was a time to show solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community as well as everyone hurt by homophobia, transphobia, and acts of bigotry.
Shepherd said Lumumba’s presence showed hypocrisy from both the EFF and the UCT – and was “a huge blow to LGBT people around the world and in Africa”.
The hypocrisy of the EFF is as clear as that of the UCT.
“UCT, oddly enough, prides itself on being inclusive and transformative, and homophobic hosting contrasts with that. Malema was draped in a pride flag in solidarity with LGBT Ugandans a few months ago. Flipping to host homophobia to celebrate its 10th anniversary is a stark example of how, with Pride Month, everything is rainbows and sunlight,” she said.
Shepherd said the protest was “resistance against the EFF and the UCT”.
She said attempts to reach out to the EFF had been rebuffed by the political party, which said Lumumba’s speech was not about the LGBTQIA+ community and that people should remain open to differences of opinion.
UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said the foundation was aware of the demonstration, which will take place on Monday.
In response to a question about the university’s position on this issue, Moholola reiterated that the event was hosted by an external party and that its administration did not participate in the program of events.
When asked about protesters’ remarks about using publicly funded university resources to host a “homophobic” speaker, Moholola referred News24 to an earlier statement.
“The University has noted with concern the comments made by the speaker and the critical conversations that have emerged as a result, and urges the overseas host to engage them accordingly,” UCT said in the statement.
Asked if any security arrangements had been implemented, Moholola said the question was “proactive”.
EFF spokesperson Senaw Thampo said he had no problem with protesters’ discontent, and that the party respected their democratic right to protest.
“We do not have any negative feelings towards them. However, it is unfortunate that there was no dialogue about Lumumba’s views,” said Tambo.