Written by Sive Mjindi
Queer Activist and Human Rights Advocate are just but a few praises awarded to our Queer Warrior – Anold Mulaisho; whose presence in public media and refugee work began from tragic origins in 2017.
At only 27 years of age at the time, Zambian-born Mulaisho was forced to flee his home country in search of safety from persecution for his sexual orientation, coming to South Africa and being recognized as a refugee seeking asylum. However, this presented more challenges as he was met with further abuse and victimisation, robbed, and then later denied asylum status by Home Affairs officials who refused to accept that he is gay. Mulaisho says: “We didn’t have any organisations that are known to be dealing with gay rights [in Zambia]”; and being denied asylum in South Africa began making hope for safety seem intangible.
Mulaisho posted on his public Facebook Page: “Since I became an asylum seeker in South Africa, this is my situation – I cannot move forward or backward and cannot take the right path. [It’s a] Sad truth“. But this didn’t hinder Mulaisho for long, as he began the long and arduous undertaking to secure safety for himself and other queer refugees who were facing the same barriers to asylum in the country. He began approaching non-profit organizations like Access Chapter 2, OUT Human Rights, and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as others that could help him legally pursue asylum status, justice to legalise his stay in South Africa.
Mulaisho began decrying the denial of his asylum by the government while also raising awareness of the challenges met by other refugees who were also in the same dire circumstances, fearing for their safety in unwelcoming societies which sought to erase equality and freedom for queer migrants. Broadcasting his story and message for all to hear has helped, and shed light on the conditions faced by queer Africans in intolerant African countries.
Anold’s experience also raised concern in the media about the realities queer refugees face while seeking freedom; exposing that while our South African Constitution accepts and grants equality to all, the realities for queer people and especially queer foreign nationals were not easily accessible.
His voice carried far and wide garnering support for his application, as well as uncovering some of the harsh realities queer Africans face. Thanks to Anold’s story, more media exposure and support for queer refugees who continue to face despair and discrimination has resulted, generating action to help them with support and social integration in South Africa.
Currently, Anold lives and works as an activist, model, writer, social media personality, beacon of hope for queer fellow Zambians and queer immigrants in South Africa. He works tirelessly to raise awareness about the plight of refugees in Africa – assisting by sheltering and supporting their needs while seeking asylum in South Africa against the difficulties he regularly meets.
Mulaisho encourages the South African government, which has many LGBTQIA+ refugees and asylum seekers who have escaped persecution in their homeland, to mitigate the existing challenges faced by refugees such as the struggle to find safe housing, secure an income, and access social services. While his asylum status has not yet been provided, Mulaisho continues to better his life and is also training to be an athletic-sport massage therapist with ETA college at Supersport in Centurion, Tshwane.