Activist and author Denis Nzioka has launched KumbuKumbu, a new free resource that collects and preserves records documenting Kenya’s sexual and gender diverse cultures from the 1800s to today.
Still in its early stages, the growing collection includes newspaper articles, book and film reviews, and research to showcase stories with “historical depth and understanding”.
Nzioka aims to generate interest so that queer stories are not erased:
“As someone who has been telling, differently, queer stories and experiences in Kenya and in Africa, and seeing the work of the GALA (formerly the Gay and Lesbian Archives of South Africa), I was keen to preserve the memory of our Kenyan queer history.”
KumbuKumbu is an open, online, and free repository for records documenting the history and culture of the LGBTIQ/GNC movement in Kenya from mid-1800 to the present day. It is curated by Denis Nzioka.
He plans for the Kumbukumbu Project to document same-sex sexualities in Kenya, historically, as well as showcase the emerging and vibrant queer movement through a series of personal papers, photographs, broadcasts, correspondences, audiovisual recordings, and sound bites, radio shows, organizational records, books, and journals. It will contain information on organizations, personalities, and events that shaped queer rights organizing.
Its objectives, Nzioka states, are to:
Source for, document, present, and showcase the lives, stories, and biographies of Kenyan LGBTIQ activists (alive or dead), organizations and leaders. We purpose to showcase the documentary heritage of the people, places, organisations, and trends that sustain and run the queer movement.
Collect, preserve, and making Kenya queer memorabilia and other collections accessible and develop archives that are for, by, and about us. We want an archive that is flexible and playful and one that is a living and breathing story of our lives. This will be done by allowing LGBTIQ/GNC Kenyans to provide memorabilia, photos, and other historical items of significance, and through knowledge sharing (telling stories), to capture the diverse stories and development of the queer movement.
Contact Nzioka for information about the project, including how to submit relevant materials.
This article is based on coverage in Equal Eyes news briefs from UNAIDS.