Image via Flickr Creative Commons.

Security Forces in Ghana Shut Down LGBT Rights Group's Office

Security Forces in Ghana Target New LGBT Rights Group Centre

LGBT+ Rights Ghana's new centre has reportedly been raided by Ghana's National Security just a month after it officially opened. The centre has closed out of concerns for safety as it continues to be the subject of intimidation.

According to several reports, the offices of prominent queer rights group LGBT+ Rights Ghana have been raided by the country's security forces. The rights group alleges that the move comes after both politicians and religious leaders called for its closure since the centre's opening just a month ago. Subsequently, the centre has preemptively closed out of concern for the safety of its members.

READ: This Organization Fighting for LGBT Rights is Being Backed by the Commonwealth Foundation

According to Al Jazeera, LGBT+ Rights Ghana group commented saying, "This morning, our office was raided by National Security," and going on to add that, "At this moment, we no longer have access to our safe space and our safety is being threatened. A few days ago, traditional leaders threatened to burn down our office but the police did not help."

The centre was officially opened January 31st of this year in Accra, Ghana. However, foreign diplomats including a delegation from the European Union, received backlash for attending the opening of the centre.

Ghana, like many other countries across the world, remains discriminatory towards members of the LGBT community. While countries like Angola and Botswana have made major strides in decriminalising same-sex relationships, homosexuality is still illegal in Ghana with queer people being frequently targeted and left without opportunity for recourse.

As if the continued homophobia across various African countries weren't enough, far-right organisations from the West, such as the World Congress of Families, are actively propagating homophobic narratives in West Africa. Additionally, the Ghanaian media has been accused of being complicit in the stirring up of anti-LGBT sentiments.

Many have come out on social media to condemn the targeting of the rights group in addition to expressing support for the LGBT community overall.

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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