Kampala’s Sappho Islands, the only LGBT bar in Uganda, closed over the weekend, depriving queers in the African country of a vital meeting place. “We surely need a social space with all that we go thru,” owner Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera posted on Facebook. “Check the cute smiles on pple’s faces at Sappho and imagine what they are gonna feel after the closure.its really a pity.”
Last year, when the bar opened, activist Val Kalende wrote in her blog:
“The opening of Sappho Islands is to me a political statement. Looking how far we have come, I cannot ignore the fact that the Stonewall revolution in the U.S.A sparked off from a bar. When I first heard about Sappho Islands, I saw progress. I celebrated change.
… Sappho Islands, the bar, may not attract hundreds of lesbians from all over the world but the decision to name it after Sappho gives us a reason to celebrate our identity.
I have lived among LGBT communities for the past eight years and I know how much having a social life means to LGBT folks. I have learned from listening to people’s stories that sometimes anti-gay laws are not what LGBT persons are most concerned with. They are concerned about being able to meet people like themselves, laughing and forgetting their daily struggles even for a single time. I have been to LGBT social evenings and seen how folks do not want to go back home after the party is over. They value the only time they can be happy and have a good time.
It is a beautiful way to end 2010. Three cheers to Sappho Islands.”