Read Dr Steve Letsike’s open letter to African leaders after Uganda outlawed homosexuality

Dear African Leaders,

I hope this letter finds you in good health.

I want to just say I am deeply disappointed, hurt and scared of you. I wake up every morning and I question my thoughts and views of african renaissance, I question my birth right, my ability to decide to build a family, I question relations to my family, relatives, friends, I question my ability to contribute to transformation, I question my contribution to economy, to empowerment, I question my freedom, I question my feelings and my life.

After spending so much time questioning myself, I have come to one conclusion-I chose to LOVE, love myself, love my neighbour, love my parents, love my education, love my God, love my community, love my country, love Africa, love the world, love my past, love my people, love my partner, love my children, yes my children… I said it my children.

Do you know how I feel? Do you think you have the right to speak and decide about what I want?well till you speak to me, I will say you have no idea, all you do is hurt, hurt and hurt, and take away my freedom, let me also remind you, your take on homosexuality, on gender equality, and human rights has and continues to cost lives.

I have asked myself why? Why do you continue to hurt an African child? Why do you continue to hurt sons and daughters of the soil?is this self interest, is this power dynamics, you gamble with my life, my brothers and sisters lives?

Let me say this…

You need to remind yourself about what demonstrating love is and what it means. True and sincere love does not insist on its rights. In the final analysis, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who lay claim to their rights and those who think about their duties; those who lay claim to their privileges and those who always think about their responsibilities; those who think that life owes them something and those who thinks that they owe life something.

People can be divided to into “grabbers” and “givers”. The grabbers are those who, with clenched fists and white knuckles, constantly cling to what they regard as theirs, they are dirt poor, bankrupt in love. Mercifully, we also get givers. Those who are like the myrtle-tree on the plains that gives its lovely fragrance to the heavens, without expecting something in return.

If you were to think less about yourself interest political agenda and power, stop using me as your entry point to gaining and maintaining your power, and think more about your obligations to all in our diversity, you will be serving the world, your people, shaping the future, you will be revealing what love is, you will be revealing a revelation of true love.

All I see in you is self driven agenda of power, you have drifted from the people, from the interest of Africans. Your reluctant to reveal the true leadership qualities. You appear to be cold and introverted, you are afraid of being misunderstood, you rather make others be and feel misunderstood. This is really sad, because so many unexpressed emotions, dialogues and quality leadership views -could have enriched the world-however we remain slumbering in personalities and your personal views.

One of the characteristics of love is expressing appreciation and acknowledging others through love. It takes so little to say it loud, and yet, it brings so much joy to both giver and grabber(receiver). Love can be demonstrated in a variety of practical ways. It can rise above mere sentimental emotions and enable you to make a way of life out of it, that can enrich the lives of your loved ones.

It is my experience and experiences of others, men and women including gays, lesbians and transgender people that is filled with declared love can be fulfilling and practical. Love not hate.
African Leaders why don’t you start today?

Demonstrate love for your nations that you are tasked to protect, promote and uphold, demonstrate love for your people, demostrate love for Africa, demonstrate love for the world.

I stand!


Mmapaseka Steve Letsike

This letter is written in my personal capacity. Inspired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Solly Ozrovech and my mother the late Johanna K Letsike (anti-apartheid activist).

Mmapaseka Steve Letsike is with Anova Health Institute, South African National AIDS Council, National Council against Gender Based Violence and with Chapter ll.