Vulnerability Amplified

Image credit: detail from [Senegalese Cans: Vimto by Audrey d’Erneville] reproduced here with permission of the artist.

Vulnerability Amplified: Assessing the Needs of LGBT Refugees in South Africa

Given South Africa’s Constitutional protections, the country has emerged as a major hub for LGBT persons seeking refuge. Yet very little is known about LGBT refugees in South Africa. In fact, there is almost no reliable data on demographics available. This is in part due to their need to remain inconspicuous, as the high rates of xenophobic and homo/transphobic attacks in South Africa attest. Covid-19 has placed states, communities. and individuals under immense pressure, exacerbating simmering inequalities and disproportionately impacting marginalised communities, including LGBT refugees. A key means of assisting this community has been the establishment of crisis relief networks via WhatsApp Messenger, a social media platform for smartphones. Through the use of this app, researchers and activists have been able to connect with and financially support LGBT refugees in South Africa’s major cities. It is these digital networks that this project aims to tap into. The proposed intervention will harness this relatively new and as yet underutilised social media platform to rapidly collect data (courtesy of a low-cost survey tool). Our aim is to produce a snapshot of LGBT refugees living in South Africa by capturing vital information on the community’s make-up and salient needs


B Camminga

Researcher, African Centre for Migration & Society, Wits University

John Marnell

Researcher, African Centre for Migration & Society, Wits University

Thea de Gruchy

Researcher, African Centre for Migration & Society, Wits University

Nyasha Zhakata (Masi)

Founder, Pachedu LGBTQI

Thomars Shamuyarira

Founder and Executive Director, The Fruit Basket

Anold Mulaisho

LGBTIQ+ refugee activist and healthcare giver

Funded by