The Ujamaa Centre of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in partnership with The Other Foundation and the Pietermaritzburg Gay & Lesbian Network, presents the second Eudy Simelane Lecture on the 5th October 2017.

On the 28th April 2008 Eudy Simelane, South African football star, was raped and killed in her hometown, KwaThema, South Africa. Eudy Simelane was more than a headline. She was a person with a family with deep ties to her community. Football was her love. And because she also loved women she was punished by patriarchy.

Eudy Simelane’s body was violated and her life taken because she was lesbian. This hate crime was perpetrated by men from her own community in KwaThema, not far from her family home. These crimes were committed against Eudy Simelane because of her sexual orientation. Her local profile as a mid-fielder in the Springs Home Sweepers F.C. and her national profile as a Banyana Banyana star were not enough to protect her.

The Ujamaa Centre recognises that in South African communities religious change is central to social change. Those who raped and murdered Eudy Simelane would have justified their criminal actions on religio-cultural grounds. The Ujamaa Centre contests these religio-cultural grounds, collaborating with local faith-based organisations and civil society so that religion becomes a redemptive and life-giving, not death-dealing, resource.

In the inaugural Eudy Simelane Lecture (April 2016), Mmapaseka ‘Steve’ Letsike, a friend of Eudy Simelane and a gender, sexuality, and HIV activist, spoke to us about the reality of black lesbians in South Africa. She was followed by Justice Edwin Cameron, an eminent human rights lawyer and Constitutional Court judge, as well as a LGBTI and HIV activist, who spoke to us about the legal and moral summons to justice of the South African Constitution.

A final reflection by Rev Smadz Matsepe, the local Methodist pastor who ministered to the Simelane family, provided some understanding of how Christianity might be a resource for affirmation and life rather an argument for discrimination and even death in the context of homosexuality.

The second Eudy Simelane Lecture will focus on these pastoral dimensions. We have invited Rev Smadz Matsepe to be our main speaker. He will share his own journey and theology, and the journey and theology of his church, as they have grappled with how to be faithful to a liberative and affirming Christian faith in the context of homosexual pastoral care. The theme of the second Eudy Simelane Lecture is “Prophetic Christian Pastoral Care in the Context of LGBTI Sexualities”.

Alongside Rev Matsepe the Pietermaritzburg Gay & Lesbian Network will provide an analysis of the socio-religious contexts in which LGBTI people strive to live with faith and dignity.

You are invited to join us for the second Eudy Simelane Lecture, on 5th October 2017, in the Commerce Building C1, Pietermaritzburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal, at 17h30.

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