PEN SA Makes an Urgent Appeal to Ugandan President to Release Dr Stella Nyanzi

01 May 2017
PEN SA Makes an Urgent Appeal to Ugandan President to Release Dr Stella Nyanzi

PEN South Africa sent the statement below to President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni.

You can read PEN International’s statement here.


PEN South Africa, an affiliate of PEN International, an organisation representing writers, editors and translators who have pledged themselves to oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression or censorship and to uphold freedom of the press, is greatly concerned by the arrest and imprisonment of Dr Stella Nyanzi, a celebrated and respected Ugandan activist, feminist, writer and academic.

On April 10th 2017, Dr Nyanzi was charged with ‘cyber-harassment’ and she was subsequently arrested and imprisoned by the Uganda government for criticising President Museveni and his wife, Janet Museveni.

We, at South Africa Pen, are greatly concerned by Dr Nyanzi’s arrest, by her on-going imprisonment, by the nature of her detention (there have been reports that she has been forbidden any books but the Bible), and that the press were not allowed to attend her court hearing. Alone, these actions signal a distressing violation of freedom of speech, together they promise an unacceptable precedent for future punishments.

South Africa Pen joins the growing chorus of voices within Uganda and throughout the world in calling for the charges against Dr Nyanzi to be dropped and for her immediate release.

We write this letter on the 27th of April 2017, South Africa’s Freedom Day. It is a day on which we reflect not just on the freedoms and challenges we face today as a nation, but also on the tremendous role that other African countries, like Uganda, played in our liberation. Our call for Dr Nyanzi’s release is therefore not one made in isolation, but rather with the understanding that our nations’ histories are intertwined, that our present (and future) continental freedoms are inter-connected, and that solidarity around freedom of speech is essential.

Yours Sincerely

Margie Orford
President PEN South Africa

Please fill in the online form if you would like us to add your name to PEN South Africa’s appeal to the Ugandan President to release Dr Stella Nyanzi:

Scroll down in the form to add your name and email.


Nadia Davids: PEN SA Board Member
Myolisi Sikupela: PEN SA Centre Co-Ordinator
Margie Orford: President PEN South Africa
Nooshin Erfani: PEN SA Board Member
Yewande Omotoso
CA Davids
Henrietta Rose-Innes
Achmat Dangor
Richard de Nooy
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey
Sumayya Lee
Rahla Xenopoulos
Margaret Busby
Kelly Rosenthal
Josie Delap
Nimi Hoffmann (PhD student)
Nicky Falkof
Yonela Mjwacu
Angela Dunne
Premesh Lalu
Shalom Njoki
David Rosenthal
Clifton Gachagua
Jane Rosenthal
Charles King
Imran Hamdulay
Alexander D. Antrobus
Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon
Warona Seane
Pamela Nichols
Rosemund Handler
Katy Pownall
Cécile Hue
Heidi Grunebaum
Farida Bagala
Bontle Senne
Sibabalwe Oscar Masinyana
Andre Smith
Edward Kabuye
Quanita Adams
Dr Lizzy Attree
Sue Welchman
Liesl Jobson
Andrew Feinstein
Nechama Brodie
Shailja Patel
Cherryl Walker
Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin
Wambui Mwangi
Sarita Ranchod
Maretha Laubscher
Pierre Brouard
Mike Hyam
Kerry Frizelle
John McAllister
Paul Chappell
Jonathan stadler
Rhoda Reddock
Sharon White
Harry Ntombela
Margaret Clough
Johan Maritz
Kylie Thomas
Brenda Kimwatan
Beaunice Davids
Shantha Bloemen
Anathi Jongilanga
Oyeronke Oyewumi
Noor Kutubul Alam Siddiquee
Jacqui L’Ange
Mojisola Adebayo
Patrick Flanery
Jay Pather
Zimitri Erasmus
Kate Highman
Zema Sokanyile
Thando Mangcu
Melissa Moorer
Deborah Wells
Maggie Bent
Temi Soleye
Revathi Selvasevaran
Jeanne-Marie Jackson
Ilze Wolff
Deshnee Subramany
Genna Gardini
Lindiwe Dovey
Charlotte Luzuka
Rustum Kozain
Jan Heese
Misa Makwakwa Masokameng
Jennifer Malec
Mrembo Safi
Charl Blignaut
Peter Machen
Sipho Lukhele
Andile Ndlovu
Chris Gribble, Chair, International Cities of Refuge Network
Lindokuhle Nkosi
Tessa Louw
Nicholas Dawes
Buhle Ngaba
William Bird
Raymond Suttner
Paula Fray
Wandipa Mualefhe
A Wilson
Morag Bell
Kasirye Festo
Maria Nakabiito
Siphokazi Jonas
Colleen Higgs
Sarah Findlay
Sunil Gopal

(Image courtesy of Azania Post)