28 Sept 2023

In February 2023, The Landmark Centre in Lagos, Nigeria, witnessed the convening of innovators from Africa and the diaspora. AfricaNXT is a point of convergence for thousands of creatives, entrepreneurs, policymakers, brands, academics, and organizations. The event deploys conference programming coupled with engaging installations and festival experiences that explore critical themes, all linked by a common goal - Africa's prosperity. Yet, amid this bustling cityscape, another, often unseen, community thrives. "Us" refers to young LGBTQ+ Africans navigating the complex urban landscapes of our continent, painting our stories across the canvas of existence.

The Tale of Resilience

Our communities, nestled within the bustling hubs of Africa, are vibrant pockets of resistance, resilience, joy, and hope. Young LGBTQ+ Africans living in cities across a continent where our existence is often marred by violence and disenfranchisement have harnessed the force of social media and technology to amplify our voices, to build bridges within our community, to challenge harmful narratives, and to shed light on our lived realities.

Collaboration for Change

Our groundbreaking session was a momentous occasion, marking the first time such a conversation had taken place at this convening, considering the criminalization of the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria. The panel revolved around the essence of being young, queer, and African. The queer experience goes beyond our struggles and the restrictions imposed on us. Our existence in this complex landscape often involves confronting various forms of violence and disenfranchisement.

But that's not the whole story…

In acknowledging our struggles, there is ample room to celebrate the unique hues we bring to the intricate production of African life.

The session further explored how we can join hands with other movements, be it feminism, class equality, or disability rights, to usher in positive change across the continent. Participants delved into the pivotal role of social media and community in our quest for African Queer Liberation, seeking innovative ways to collaborate effectively in pursuit of our shared goals. "Us" isn't just about geography or the divisive status society imposes to segregate and categorize. It's about identity, resilience, and the unbreakable spirit of all marginalised and underrepresented Africans who call this continent home. By unifying our voices, we can tear down these barriers that seek to set us apart.

Architects of Change

We recognize that our cities are richer and more vibrant because of us. We are the architects of change, the voices of resistance, and the bearers of hope. We may face adversity, but we're forging a path toward a more inclusive and accepting Africa – one city at a time.

Together, we paint a colorful tapestry of diversity, strength, and unity. We are more than our struggles; we are a force for change.

What is a city without us? It's a question we're answering with every step we take, every conversation we start, and every connection we forge.

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