KEEPING OUR STORIES ALIVE

Dis/patches from the Foreign Office: The Uganda File (Part 1)

Dis/patches from the Foreign Office: The Uganda File (Part 1)

Dis/patches from the Foreign Office: The Uganda File (Part 1)

In Dis/patches from the Foreign Office, Sajdeep Soomal explores newspaper articles, legal cases, and other ephemera stored in The ArQuives’s international collection.

There is no shortage of material in the Uganda file. The earliest documents in the file are dated to the early 1980s, when news about HIV infection rates reached epidemic proportions in the landlocked African polity made international headlines. Medical reports, newspaper clippings and magazine spreads in the file capture how the disease emboldened the Christian right in Uganda. Emerging after a decade of brutal military rule by President Idi Amin, HIV became the new harbinger of death in Uganda well into the mid 1990s. An abstinence-based sex education program was at the cornerstone of the Ugandan government’s approach to bringing the disease under control. Known as the ABC strategy – abstinence, be faithful, use a condom – the program pushed Ugandan sexual life into ordinary, public discourse. The message was spread across the nation through Catholic and Anglican clergymen who enlivened the secular public health strategy with Christian sexual moralism. While the percentage of Ugandans living with AIDS successfully fell from 15% to between 5 and 6% in the 1990s, the foreign-aid-funded ABC strategy emboldened Christian orthodoxy and control over sexual behaviour in Uganda. It laid the groundwork for a contemporary wave of U.S. Evangelicals and Pentecostals to win over the hearts and minds of conservative-leaning Ugandan Christians and push forward strict anti-gay laws.

The rise of anti-homosexual sentiment in Uganda at the hands of contemporary American imperialism is well documented in and out of the archive. This episode of Last Week Tonight captures the political dynamics well. Particularly striking are the front pages of the October 2010 issue of Rolling Stone (Uganda) which published the names and photos of people it believed to be gay or lesbian, calling for their execution. Reprinted in Attitude magazine, the accompanying article details the work of David Kato, one of the Ugandan LGBTQ+ activists who was murdered after the information was published.

Continue reading this story in Part 2 of The Uganda File in the Next Issue of CommuniQue.

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Dis/patches from the Foreign Office: The Uganda File (Part 1)

Dis/patches from the Foreign Office: The Uganda File (Part 1)

In Dis/patches from the Foreign Office, Sajdeep Soomal explores newspaper articles, legal cases, and other ephemera stored in The ArQuives’s international collection.

There is no shortage of material in the Uganda file. The earliest documents in the file are dated to the early 1980s, when news about HIV infection rates reached epidemic proportions in the landlocked African polity made international headlines. Medical reports, newspaper clippings and magazine spreads in the file capture how the disease emboldened the Christian right in Uganda. Emerging after a decade of brutal military rule by President Idi Amin, HIV became the new harbinger of death in Uganda well into the mid 1990s. An abstinence-based sex education program was at the cornerstone of the Ugandan government’s approach to bringing the disease under control. Known as the ABC strategy – abstinence, be faithful, use a condom – the program pushed Ugandan sexual life into ordinary, public discourse. The message was spread across the nation through Catholic and Anglican clergymen who enlivened the secular public health strategy with Christian sexual moralism. While the percentage of Ugandans living with AIDS successfully fell from 15% to between 5 and 6% in the 1990s, the foreign-aid-funded ABC strategy emboldened Christian orthodoxy and control over sexual behaviour in Uganda. It laid the groundwork for a contemporary wave of U.S. Evangelicals and Pentecostals to win over the hearts and minds of conservative-leaning Ugandan Christians and push forward strict anti-gay laws.

The rise of anti-homosexual sentiment in Uganda at the hands of contemporary American imperialism is well documented in and out of the archive. This episode of Last Week Tonight captures the political dynamics well. Particularly striking are the front pages of the October 2010 issue of Rolling Stone (Uganda) which published the names and photos of people it believed to be gay or lesbian, calling for their execution. Reprinted in Attitude magazine, the accompanying article details the work of David Kato, one of the Ugandan LGBTQ+ activists who was murdered after the information was published.

Continue reading this story in Part 2 of The Uganda File in the Next Issue of CommuniQue.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

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Telephone: 416-777-2755
Email: queeries@arquives.ca

Street Address:
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Toronto, ON M4Y 1N1

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NOTE TO RESEARCHERS:

Some of our materials are stored off site. Before visiting the archives, please send us an email at queeries@arquives.ca listing in detail the topics and sources that you wish to consult and we will let you know when they will be available. We aim to respond to email inquiries within 4 business days.


The ArQuives is located on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Haudenosaunee, the Anishnaabe and the Huron-Wendat. Today, Toronto is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.

The ArQuives strives to gather the stories of the unheard and silenced voices of the 2SLGBTQ+ first peoples of this land. We acknowledge that some stories have already been lost, and we aim to ensure that those that remain and those that are to come are preserved for the future.