UK-Based Hona Africa Releases ‘Because I Am’ – A Short Film Uncovering The Impact of Homophobia in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwean-born director Lawrence Zidyana and founder of Hona Africa has created a hard-hitting short film which tackles homophobia in Africa. He was inspired to create a film which showed how hatred has an impact on the LGBT community of Zimbabwe and the wider population of the country as a whole. As the country’s leadership continues to share homophobic rhetoric, many LGBT Zimbabweans have to seek refuge internationally including The UK. After consistent homophobic speeches over the years Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe went off script during a speech at the UN General assembly last September to “reject new rights” and declared “we are not gays” to both muted laughter and applause. This is an indication of the wide spread view that the LGBT community does not deserve in basic human rights, leading to hate crimes and harassment across the nation. Whilst there have yet been any homophobic murders reported in Zimbabwe, homophobic murders have taken place in Sierra Leone and South Africa.
Zidyana teamed up with award winning LGBT activist Moud Goba to adapt a poem by fellow activist Tinashe Wakapila. The result is a film with a touching narrative accompanied by stunning visuals made up of silhouette figures on drawn backgrounds of parts of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital.
The film has an all women cast of six, five of whom are refugees who fled persecution in their own countries because of their sexuality. The women from Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe symbolize the experience of many members of the LGBT community across Africa, with one of cast’s first child was a result of “corrective rape” to cure her lesbianism. They have shown great courage and bravery to be part of “Because I Am”.
“I hope African people see the film and then at least pause to consider what their leaders are telling them in regards of Homophobia, everyone deserves the right to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of sexuality” – Lawrence Zidyana, Founder of Hona Africa and Director of “Because I Am”.
Watch “Because I Am” on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?