News Brief

Homophobic American Pastor Steven Anderson Prohibited From Bringing His Bible-Thumping Fuckery to South Africa

Marking a big win for South Africa's LGBT community, Home Affairs will prohibit American anti-gay pastor Steven Anderson from visiting the country.

When you think of the shittiest people in the world, Steven Anderson very much fits the bill. Anderson is the founder and “pastor” of the Faithful Word Baptist Church, a fundamentalist Baptist church (read: anti-gay hate group) in Tempe, Arizona, that, while not as famous as their Westboro counterparts, have their own list of accolades.


In 2009, Anderson made headlines with his “Why I Hate Barack Obama” sermon, in which the Arizona pastor prayed for the death of the U.S. president.

More recently, the day after the Orlando nightclub shooting Anderson said “the good news is that there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world.”

Homophobic American pastor Steven Anderson

And while he’s perhaps best known for his homophobia, Anderson’s hate spreads to women as well. He’s said women should be banned from voting and shouldn’t read, talk or leave the house.

Instances of the pastor’s hate speech run deep.

“Anderson is the embodiment of hate and makes the late Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church look like Ghandi,” Michelangelo Signorile, Editor-at-large of Huffington Post’s Queer Voices, once wrote in a post titled “Meet the Pastor Who Told Me He Hoped I Got Brain Cancer and Died.” Signorile called the pastor more dangerous than Westboro founder Fred Phelps.

The good news is Anderson won’t be bringing his bible-thumping fuckery to South Africa anytime soon. On Tuesday, the South African Home Affairs department officially refused to grant Anderson, who they called an “undesirable person,” a visa to visit the country.

"Mr. Steven Anderson and members and/or associates of his church are prohibited from entering the Republic of South Africa," Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba announced in Parliament.

Gigaba said that Anderson will need to publicly repent before his application to enter the country can be reconsidered. The pastor, who has zero intentions of doing so, has called Gigaba a “vile wicked sinner.”

Anderson had been planning to visit SA in September on some sort of “soul winning” mission. The South African Human Rights Commission received complaints for months, although Gigaba initially said his department cannot legally prohibit the pastor from entering the country. Multiple petitions went around calling on Home Affairs to put a stop to Anderson’s hate speech. One on All Out reached over 53,000 signatures.

Today’s decision is undoubtedly a victory for South Africa’s LGBT communities. Although same-sex marriage has been legal since 2006 (nine years before the U.S.), homophobia, anti-gay violence and corrective rape continue to plague communities within the country.

Unfortunately, Anderson doesn’t seem to be done with the region. In a Facebook post on the Faithful Word Baptist Church page, he wrote: “I feel sorry for people who live in South Africa, but thank God we still have a wide open door in Botswana. Stand by for reports of MULTITUDES saved in Botswana, where religious freedom still exists.”

Music
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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