The artist-led collective, Banana Emoji Productions in collaboration with the European Union Delegation in Botswana hosted the beloved BANANA CLUB dialogues in Maun on the 14th of May 2022. The multi-disciplinary creative group is committed to working with artists and organizations in identifying ways in which art can foster initiatives that provide relevant and impactful differences for underrepresented communities.
The first session ever held in Maun delved into the topic “Intimate Partner Violence: IPV in the LGBT community”. Hosted at Kwa Ga Ncinci restaurant, the session aimed to create a safe space for Maun’s LGBTIQ+ community and allies to engage in dialogue around the layered topic and map out further initiatives to tackle the National issue.
Speaking about the reception of the dialogues in Maun, BANANA CLUB Founder Tanlume Enyatseng said, “We are grateful to have received such a warm welcome from the Maun community. The BANANA CLUB movement continues to grow, thanks to the unwavering support of the communities that wish to hold space for such conversations with us. This year we plan to introduce queer urban culture events in addition to our sessions. We want to truly center the voices of artists in public discourse, expanding what participation in a democracy looks like; reshaping conversations about politics and provoking a change in consciousness”.
BANANA CLUB welcomes the support of allies that agree with its manifesto and wishes to work with them to achieve their aims. This dialogue was the fifth collaboration between Banana Emoji Productions and the Delegation of the European Union in Botswana. Deputy Head of Delegation Silvia Bopp-Hamrouni said: “The EUROPEAN UNION is happy and honoured to collaborate with BANANA CLUB in their pivotal chapter for the collective. The EU’s Strategy for LGBTIQ+ Equality proposes to integrate the fight against discrimination affecting LGBTIQ+ people in all EU policies, including in our external policy. Among other actions, the European Commission will support projects that use cultural expression to tackle discrimination, build trust and acceptance, and promote the full inclusion of LGBTIQ+ people.”
The Maun edition highlighted a critical gap with how GBV campaigns in Botswana remain mostly focused on heterosexual women and children despite other populations experiencing IPV at similar or higher rates. BANANA CLUB encourages more research on IPV in the LGBTIQ+ community to include studies on the prevalence, accuracy of screening tools, effectiveness of early detection and interventions, as well as the benefits and harms of screening
Concluded Tanlume, “As BANANA CLUB we seek to challenge dominant narratives and create a space in which the queer community can discuss freely. When we share our stories, we foster visibility and wipe out myths. The visibility that comes from different people sharing experiences, queering and disrupting views of the world, is a celebration of plurality. We will hopefully host many more club sessions before the end of year and our wish is to provide a platform for our communities to connect and achieve a common goal of inclusion through informed and open dialogues.”