Taraidiwa [We have been raided] The signification of raids against queer folk in Zimbabwe
by Nelson Muparamoto, University of Zimbabwe and Kåre Moen, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo
In recent years, gays and lesbians in Zimbabwe have experienced repeated raids against their collective presence
in different social contexts. In December 2014, for example, a group of men armed with sticks, logs, iron bars
and empty beer bottles stormed the GALZ end-of-the-year party in Harare. Struck by sudden and intense fear,
those present attempted to flee, but many were unsuccessful and ended up injured by the raiders and stripped
of personal belongings.
Whatever else something is, it is also a sign, according to Peirce. What was this raid a sign of? What did it do and
mean to those present, to their families and friends, to LGBTIQ organizing in Zimbabwe, and to African gayness?
We were present during the December 2014 raid as part of ongoing fieldwork among queer folk in Zimbabwe.
Based on interviews, participant observation, firsthand embodied knowledge of the incident, and Peircean
semiotics, we tell the story of the raid and try to come to grips with some of its significate effects.