269pp., illus., paperback, Johannesburg, 2021
Foreword by Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest, scholar and visiting researcher at Boston University’s Center for Global Christianity and Mission
Testimonies from 14 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) migrants, refugees and asylum seekers living in Johannesburg. Each narrator speaks about their journey to South Africa, their personal battles to reconcile their faith with their sexuality and gender identity, often in the face of violent persecution, and how they have created spaces of hope and belonging in their new home country.
"Marnell brings together moving stories of LGBT African migrants and refugees in a book that shows rather than tells. Seeking Sanctuary reveals the nuance, complexity, contradictions and paradoxes that exist at the intersection of ‘faith, belonging, identity and mobility’ and does so by grounding itself in the first-person narratives of individuals who too often are the ‘objects’ of academic study, rather than self-determining subjects. Marnell gives us access to worlds and experiences that rightly challenge dominant and false assumptions about the lives of LGBT African migrants and refugees of faith. It’s an important read." E. Tendayi Achiume, Professor of Law, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
"This book testifies to the power of life storytelling, specifically in relation to sexuality and faith in the lives of LGBTQI migrants in South Africa. Instead of reinforcing narratives of ‘African religious homophobia’, or simply presenting religion as panacea, the collected stories offer an intimate insight into the lives of queer migrants and help to unpack religion as a site of multiple, and often conflicting, possibilities. Seeking Sanctuary elucidates the liberating potential of religion in signifying human life and working towards social justice." Adriaan van Klinken, Professor of Religion and African Studies, University of Leeds, and author of Kenyan, Christian, Queer: Religion, LGBT activism, and arts of resistance in Africa
John Marnell is a researcher at the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand.