Call for abstracts: ‘Non-normative’ sexual and gender diversities in Africa

07 Aug 2014
07 Aug 2014

Call for ABSTRACTS for 2015 AGENDA Journal

“‘Non-normative’ sexual and gender diversities in Africa’

No later than 20th August 2014 


Contributors are invited to write on the topic above from either a research or an activism perspective. Abstracts and contributions must be written in English and in a style accessible to a wide audience.  Please submit abstracts to or



Agenda has been at the forefront of feminist publishing in South Africa for the past 28 years and raises debate around women’s rights and gender issues. The journal is designed to promote critical thinking and debate and aims to strengthen the capacity of both men and women to challenge gender discrimination and injustice. The Agenda journal is an IBSS/SAPSE accredited and peer reviewed journal

Conceptual Rationale:

In this issue we seek to extend the debate on sexual and gender diversities within the African context, especially given the increased virulent forms of political and social exclusion and violent backlash emerging in many African countries.  In particular, we seek to advance African epistemologies and paradigms in relation to both theorising about ‘non-normative’ sexual desire and gender diversities in Africa, as well as in writing about related activism in attaining sexual justice.  We invite papers and responses to consider the following, but not limited, issues, themes, questions or provocations:

  • An engagement with theoretical frameworks on sexuality and gender that problematises the languages used to describe sexual and gender diverse experiences in the continent. More specifically, what does it mean to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, pansexual, queer or questioning in Africa today?  Are these categories sufficient in capturing and understanding the diverse ways in which in which individuals identify in African settings?  What role does existing language play in either enhancing or restricting ‘non-normative’ sexual and gender identities within the African context?
  •  An exploration of the ways in which sexual and gender diverse groups and individuals in Africa understand and theorise the rising hatred, violence and anti-humanist turn in the continent. What possibilities or opportunities exist in responding or existing within queerphobic/homophobic/transphobic contexts? How can ‘queer’ movements, collectives or groupings affect change?
  • How and in what ways does the discourse on human rights and citizenship contribute towards sexual and gender diversity; queerness; LGBTI; MSM; and WSW categorisation within the African context?
  • What role, if any, do other intersecting identity markers (race, gender, ethnicity, disability, religiosity, nationality, etc.) play in shaping the experiences of ‘non-normative’ sexual and gender diversities in the continent?
  • ‘Queer’ desire, intimacy and pleasure
  • Identity politics; politics of pride and naming
  • Borders, migration, nationhood, refugee status, asylum
  • Positionality and same-sex identification
  • Representation and engagements in literature, film, performance, visual art, popular culture and media
  • Body image, body politics, embodiment (including diets and cosmetic surgery), medicalisation and dis-abilities
  • Family life and experiences
  • Law, politics and regulation
  • Education, LGBTI rights and justice
  • Culture and the aesthetics of LGBT life
  • Non-conforming femininities and masculinities
  • Sexual and gender diversity activism

Objectives of this issue:

  • To advance understanding, interpretations and knowledge on sexual and gender diversity in the African continent.
  • To present an understanding of the lived experiences of (pansexual, bisexual or same-sex) desiring; gender ‘non-conforming’ or queer subjectivities in the African continent.
  • To trouble Western conceptions and epistemologies in relation to African experiences of queer, sexual and gender diversity.

Authors and New Voices:

This issue particularly encourages new and emerging writers to submit contributions as the aim for the issue is to bring new perspectives to existing debates in the field. The issue also seeks articles from a wider representation of contexts beyond South Africa. Scholars from outside of South Africa are therefore particularly encouraged to submit contributions.

About the Guest Editors

Zethu Matebeni is a researcher at the Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA) at the University of Cape Town and completed a PhD at Wits University on black lesbian sexualities and identities in Johannesburg.  Within the university space, Zethu is also an activist and documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on advancing social justice for queer communities as well as lesbian, transgender, gay and intersex people in Africa. Many of Zethu’s publications appear in various international academic journals and books. Most recently, Zethu has published a collection of queer art and essays “Reclaiming Afrikan: queer perspectives on sexual and gender identities”.

Thabo Msibi is senior lecturer in curriculum studies in the School of Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he is also Cluster Leader for the Education Studies Academic Cluster.    His works falls within the wider area of Gender and Education, with his focus being on same-sex desire and schooling. Thabo has published research in South African and international journals and books, and sits on the Editorial Board of Gender and Education, as well as four NGO Boards, mainly on same-sex and gender diversity issues, in South Africa.  


Submission Guidelines for Agenda Journal

The following guidelines are intended to assist authors in preparing their contributions. 


Agenda invites contributions from feminist and gender scholars, activists, researchers, policy makers, professionals, educators, community workers, students and members of women’s organizations and organizations interested in and concerned with gender issues.

Submissions should contribute to developing new thinking and fresh debate on women’s rights and gender equality in Africa and other developing countries.

Writers need to:

  • Write in an accessible and understandable style;
  • Inform, educate or raise debate;
  • Try to pin down reasons for contradictions and point out differences of opinion;
  • Provide an analysis and an argument;
  • Be logical;
  • Be sensitive to but not uncritical of how gender, class and race affect the reporting of an event;
  • Ensure the introduction encapsulates the contents of the piece and that it attracts the reader’s attention by either making a controversial statement, providing a thought-provoking or new insight into the subject;
  • Utilize a gender or feminist lens.

We publish articles in various formats, which range from 6,000 words for more theorized articles, which form the main reference pieces in an issue, to shorter pieces with a minimum of 1,500 words.

Formats of Contributions

  • Article (6 000 words max) should be based on new research and contain analysis and argument.
  • Briefing is an adaptable format for writers to write on a wide range of subjects (2 500 – 4 000 words)
  • Focus examines an aspect of a chosen theme in detail (4 500 words max)
  • Profile looks in detail at an organisation, project or legislation, or a person (2 500 – 3 500 words)
  • Report-back covers reports on meetings, conferences workshops etc
  • (1 500 – 4 000 words)
  • Review typically reviews books or films (1 500 – 3 000 words)
  • Interview can record a conversation among a group of people or a one-on-one interview in which the writer asks the interviewee/s questions on a subject (1 500 – 3 000 words)
  • Open Forum is a vehicle for debate and argument, or pieces which deal with argument and difference of opinion on a subject/issue (2 500 – 4 000 words)
  • Perspective is an adaptable format in which writers are able to use a more personal reflective, narrative style (1 500 – 3 000 words)


Contributions should be submitted in the following format:

File type:       Microsoft Word

Font:               Arial

Size:                10 pt

Line spacing:            single

Justification:             left

Referencing:             Harvard style

All submissions should have the following:

Abstract:        200 – 300 words

Keywords:      approx 5 keywords

Bio:                 100 – word author biography, including email address

Bio picture:   head-and-shoulders photo in 300 dpi jpeg format

Contributors are encouraged to provide photos and/or graphics to illustrate their submission

Selection and Editing Process

All submissions are peer reviewed. Articles, briefing and focus pieces go through a double blind peer review process, while all other contributions are reviewed by at least one member of Agenda’s Editorial Advisory Group.

Reviewers comment on the suitability of a text for publication in the Agenda journal, as well as provide comments to help develop the piece further for publication if required. Contributors will be asked to rework the paper accordingly.

On resubmission, the piece will be assessed by the Agenda editor and a final decision made regarding its publication in the journal.

Please note that Agenda reserves the right to edit contributions with regard to length and accessibility or reject contributions that are not suitable or of poor standard.

Agenda also invites the submission of poems on the topic of women’s rights and gender.

Please note, as per Agenda’s policy, writers who have published in the journal within the last two years  WILL NOT BE ALLOWED to publish – to allow new writers to publish in Agenda.