UFH SARChI Chair in Sexualities, Gender and Queer Studies spearheads inclusion and diversity projects on campus

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Eight months after joining the university, Prof Zethu Matebeni, SA’s first recipient of the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair in Sexualities, Genders and Queer Studies, has initiated several projects that seek to promote the inclusion, diversity and visibility of students with diverse sexual identities and sexual orientation on campus.

The inspiration for this new Chair was prompted by the lack or limited research on queer studies that focus on localized knowledge that speaks to different areas and contexts within the African continent.  As part of its objectives, the Chair develops three pillars of knowledge creation through methodological approaches, theoretical approaches and activist-scholarship.

These projects include the Queer Ambassadors which hosted the university’s first-ever Pride March, The Afrika Reading Club (ARC) and Words That Heal and have been developed in conjunction with the Researchers from the Chair’s office, Dr Bellita Banda (Researcher) and Mx Wenzile Khumalo (Assistant Researcher).

The Chair also has collaborative ventures with the SARChI Chair in African Feminist Imaginations and the Centre for Women and Gender Studies at the Nelson Mandela University.

Dr Banda expanded on the projects:

The Afrika Reading Club (ARC)

This is a monthly interdisciplinary reading group. The project seeks to familiarize and introduce people to some of the concepts and existing works in the field of Sexualities, Gender and Queer Studies. The monthly reading group ensures that there is an ongoing space of engagement and lively debates around some of the challenging issues around sexuality and gender in the continent.

Currently, the club members are reading Female Fear Factory by Prof. Pumla Dineo Gqola (MF Books, 2021) Other titles lined up include The Social and Political Thought of Archie Mafeje by