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Cameroon's LGBT Community is Facing Increasing Persecution

A recent report by Human Rights Watch has highlighted, with tremendous concern, the increasing persecution being faced by the LGBT community in Cameroon.

There are significant concerns over human rights abuses in Cameroon, according to a report shared by Human Rights Watch (HRW). The campaign group has highlighted the rising persecution of members of the Cameroonian LGBT community which have been documented over the past few months. Security forces in the country have been accused of threatening, assaulting and arresting queer individuals.


READ: Security Forces in Ghana Target New LGBT Rights Group Centre

According to the HRW report, at least 24 Cameroonians have been arrested since February for allegedly engaging in same-sex conduct or gender non-conformity. Among those arrested have included a 17-year-old boy. Additionally, some of the alarming violations have included forcing those arrested to take HIV tests and subjecting them to anal examinations. Moreover, these forces anal examinations have also been entered as evidence in court when convicting those charged with homosexuality.

Neela Ghoshal, the associate LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch, comments on the report saying, "These recent arrests and abuses raise serious concerns about a new upsurge in anti-LGBT persecution in Cameroon." Ghoshal goes on to add that, "The law criminalising same-sex conduct puts LGBT people at a heightened risk of being mistreated, tortured, and assaulted without any consequences for the abusers."

Cameroon is just one of the many African countries where homosexuality remains illegal. The Human Dignity Trust writes this about the country's laws: "Article 347-1 prohibits sexual relations with a person of the same sex with a penalty of between six months to five years imprisonment, as well as a fine."

While Cameroon's laws outrightly criminalise homosexuality, progressive countries like South Africa have been forced to reckon with the continued gruesome murders of members of the LGBT community. Recently, a 40-year-old man, Andile "Lulu" Ntuthela, was murdered for being a homosexual by 28-year-old suspect and had South Africans demanding justice under the online banner #JusticeForLulu. Ntuthela's death follows that of Sphamandla Khoza who was also murdered because of his sexual orientation a little over a week ago in KwaZulu-Natal.

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Photo: La Fédération de la Haute Couture

Lukhanyo Mdingi on Making his Paris Fashion Week Debut

We talked to the South African designer who, after co-winning the LMVH Prize last year, showcased his Bodyland Autumn/Winter 22-23 collection in Paris earlier this month.

In 2015, South African designer Lukhanyo Mdingi founded his eponymous label. Inspired by his mother and grandmother who raised him, Mdingi has created a formidable brand that is centered on building a bridge between heritage and timeless fashion pieces. Since the brand’s inception, Mdingi has made great strides in fashion, from his NYFW debut in 2019 to being crowned a joint winner of the 2021 LVMH Karl Lagerfeld Prize.

This year, Mdingi took his vision of Africa to France’s fashion capital, Paris, where he made his Bodyland Autumn/Winter 22-23 debut for the Paris Fashion Week Menswear Collection. Being the first designer on the program schedule to present, Mdingi showcased a collection that spoke of the relationship he shares with himself and the artisans he collaborates with. For the past two years, Mdingi has been working to source his woven textiles and knitwear from crafts communities in Burkina Faso, Somalia, and the Eastern Cape, and the collection featured textural and sartorial nuances paying homage to his being a young Black creative.

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