Ungochani: Panel Discussion

Ungochani is a feature-length documentary that explores the lives of the gay and lesbian men and women living in Zimbabwe, a country in which male same-sex sexual activity is illegal. The documentary was made by Zimbabwean Media Studies student Porcia Mudavamba, and drew mixed reactions in Zimbabwe, where homosexuality is still considered a taboo subject.

In August 1995 president Mugabe received worldwide criticism for comments he made regarding homosexuality, in which he called for the arrest of gay men and women. Zimbabwe is a socially conservative country, and the anti-gay stance of president Mugabe is shared by a notable proportion of the population. Gay and lesbian men and women are often victims of violence, and suicide attempts among members of Zimbabwe's gay community are not uncommon.

Since 1995, Mugabe has increased the political repression of homosexuals under Zimbabwe’s sodomy laws, which criminalise any acts that are perceived as homosexual, prohibiting members of the same sex from kissing, hugging, or even holding hands.

In this event recording, the panel discuss themes explored in the film, including the antiquated LGBT laws of Zimbabwe, the ways in which gay men and gay women are perceived differently, the continued persecution of the Zimbabwean gay community, and the AIDs epidemic.

Rosalind Martin: Director, Our History, Our Heritage
Rosalind Martin is a freelance writer, playwright, spoken word artist, and creative producer who develops and runs creative educational projects and workshops in schools and for community groups. She is a member of Our Stories Make Waves, which develops arts projects for performance.

Simon Nelson – Co-chair SW LGB Network
Simon Nelson is the Senior Health Promotion Coordinator with the sexual health and HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust based in Bristol. Having previously worked for Equality South West the regional equalities organisation, Simon is also founder of the Black Gay Men’s Advisory Group and former director of Pride London.

Ingrid Sinclair - Afrika Eye
Ingrid Sinclair is an international producer and director. Her feature film Flame (1996) received awards and standing ovations world-wide. Flame screened at various film festival including Milan, Rotterdam and New York, and was selected for Director's Fortnight at Cannes. Ingrid currently works in southern Africa and the UK in the fields of media for health and environment as well as co-running Afrika Eye film festival in Bristol.

Ted Taziveyi - BME Support Co-ordinator Terrence Higgins Trust
Ted Taziveyi is a public health professional and campaigner who has been involved in raising awareness of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. He is currently BME Support Co-ordinator for the Terrence Higgins Trust

This event took place as part of Watershed's Celebrating Black History Month Programme.

Posted on Sun 16 Oct 2011.