(post by Ronald Luyera; video-link of the speech is here)

Speech given on Africa Day 2024 (25 May) – organized by Dar al Yasmin in the Wijkfabriek Nijmegen.

My names are Ronald Luyera, A social Worker, population and health scientist, HRD, and programme analyst.

I would like to acknowledge the presence of the various dignitaries present here today; representatives from various organisations, HAN students, Dutch community, refugees, and everybody in their capacities.

Quote: Words of the great son of African Soil: Nkwame Nkrumah: “We are not Africans because we are born in Africa, but because Africa is born in us,”

This Africa Day; a day where we remember the founding of the African union. It is significant for celebrating the unity, diversity, African culture, and achievements of African countries.

We have many African countries represented here; Sierra Leone, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, Liberia, Libya. The Netherlands! And finally all of us present here today! WAHALA!!!!

CHALLENGES OF AFRICA; We are all conversant with the problems happening on the African continent;

  • Lack of democracy.
  • Gender based violence
  • Corruption
  • Discrimination based on religion- sexual orientation etc
  • Human rights violations
  • Political persecution, arrests, torture, killings etc


Preserving or cultural heritage;

Rich and diverse cultures of Africa with many languages, tribes, traditions, arts, norms, food. The beauty and the uniqueness of our culture.

It is important for us to promote and preserve our culture even when we are in diaspora. Preserving our African culture is important for us to diversify and become more inclusive to other cultures.  With the saying that “charity begins at home”

When we blend in the different cultures, it will lead to mutual understanding and respect.

Inspiring creativity and hope

We can draw on our skills and talents; it can take all forms of music, art, literature, painting, sports etc. let us embrace our and apply our talents, as creativity is powerful for personal and community development.

We have successful African entrepreneurs, scientists and artists- can act as our role models. Such as Dangote.

Refugee/ LGBT rights

Legal barriers: As you are aware majority of African countries are not tolerant to the LGBT. We all acknowledge that there are legal barriers faced by the LGBT.

It is important to include and protect the LGBT rights. Within the African communities and beyond.

In Uganda for example if you are found guilty for being LGBT, the maximum sentence is death, or 20 years in prison.  All LGBT organizations closed and their resources freezed. You can rent a house, you cannot operate a business.

Social barriers; many African communities are homophobic. Which homophobia was originally imported from the west by the colonialists and religion. In my country, if you are LGBT means you keep in closet. I AM AN LGBT INDIVIDUAL. I feel safe, protected and free, to be who I am. And after phases of trauma, I am becoming more empowered and am getting out of the HIDING. Let us come out of the shell to our true selves/identities. The Netherlands government will support us and give us a fair hearing. The community is already supportive.

CHALLENGES AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM; true as refugees, we are faced with challenges here;

  • Adopting to new culture
  • Learning a new language
  • Overcoming trauma

 We need to be resilient and support one another- team work.

  • If there is an activity where we are invites, let us go and participate.
  • We can make useful contribution to the society- Waseem will share with us how he is using his painting to benefit the homeless in the Netherlands.

ADVOCACY AND SUPPORT: we need support for greater advocacy and support for the LGBT rights both in Africa and globally. Support from organisations, the Netherlands government, from the EU, the UNCHR. I would like to thank the Netherlands government and the organisations, the communities here for the protection, the safety, the rights that we are enjoying here.


The future is bright – where cultural diversity is celebrated, all individuals are respected and valued.

Take pride in your African Heritage while embracing your new lives in the Netherlands.

Advocate for policies and practices that promote equality and human rights, including refugees and LGBT rights.

There is an African proverb; “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African proverb

Ronald Luyera is social worker and co-worker at Dar al Yasmin foundation.