The truth is, Africa is a very hostile place for gays and lesbians. In at least 32 African countries you can be sent to jail or a labour camp for having gay sex. In three of these countries you can be condemned to death. SA, with its liberal constitution and vigorous NGO sector, is a shining exception.
So, gays and lesbians from across the whole continent are making their way here to escape persecution from the state, community and even their own families.
But upon their arrival, they’re swept up in the bigger refugee crisis facing SA and they have to tangle with the Department of Home Affairs. The SA Refugees Act makes provision for seeking asylum for persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation, but many Home Affairs officials are not implementing this law and, in fact, subject these people to inhumane homophobic treatment. It sometimes takes years to get an asylum hearing.
In tonight’s edition of Special Assignment, we are told that the viewer will be introduced to the most heartbreaking stories of people willing to give up everything to be themselves.
These people tell us of the challenges they had to overcome in SA and the dangers they face back home should their asylum applications fail.
Special Assignment – Illegal To Be Me is on SABC3 at 9pm.
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