The African Association for the Study of Religions is concerned about the recent arrest and detention of Dr Stella Nyanzi in Uganda. (If you haven’t heard of it, read this item on the Amnesty International website, this article in The Guardian, or this article in the New York Times.)
Dr Nyanzi is a medical anthropologist and a leading scholar in the field of African gender and sexuality studies. Until recently, she was a research fellow at Makerere University. She also is an outspoken public intellectual and a social activist. Most recently she initiated the #Pads4Girls campaign, collecting sanitary pads for girls so that they can continue going to school. As part of this campaign she publicly criticized the President of Uganda as well as the First Lady (who also serves as Minister of Education) for their broken promises on providing sanitary pads for girls at schools in the country. As a result of this criticism, she not only lost her job at Makerere University, but also was arrested and is prosecuted by the State on the basis of cyber harassment of the President.
The African Association for the Study of Religions stands for the right of freedom of expression as well as the right of academic freedom. Therefore our Association, with other African Studies organizations, supports the statement that has been drafted by the African Studies Association Women’s Caucus and the Queer African Studies Association. We call upon our members to add their names as signatories of the statement in support of Dr Nyanzi by following this link.