Owner of Tilapia Bar in Kampala Arrested for showing "gay themed play" The River and The Mountain

Published: September 6, 2012

On the heels of a story posted yesterday about a transwoman being beaten in Kampala, David Cecil was arrested today for hosting the play “The River and The Mountain” a his Tilapia Bar.  The cause for his arrest was showing a “gay themed play” in Uganda.
 
This from a report on the play being shut down last month from The Guardian:
 
The River and the Mountain, which tells the story of a young businessman coming to terms with being gay in a climate of homophobia, was due to be performed at the National Theatre of Uganda last week before regulators intervened. Some shows went ahead at two smaller venues, but the National Theatre refused to stage the scheduled performances.
 
“We are all disappointed but not surprised that we could not perform at the National Theatre,” said the actor Okuyo Joel Atiku Prynce, who plays the gay character at the centre of the story. “What is surprising is the fact that we have received no clear reason. No one is taking responsibility for this decision.”
 
He said the play was not intended to promote a specific agenda, but rather to add to public debate. “We’re actors, not activists,” he said. “The play is there to inspire discussion in the community and to get a reaction from people. We want it to open up a dialogue.”
 
Uganda has a reputation as a deeply homophobic society, largely based on the anti-homosexuality bill introduced to parliament in October 2009.The bill, which has not yet been voted on, proposes severe penalties, including death, for those found guilty of having same-sex relationships. In January 2011 the gay rights activist David Kato was murdered shortly after a local newspaper published images of him and other gay people under a headline urging readers: “Hang them.”
 
The River and the Mountain has provoked controversy not only for its sympathetic portrayal of gay people, but also because it suggests that much of the anger and hatred has been whipped up by politicians and religious leaders for their own purposes.
 
Its British playwright, Beau Hopkins, said he had hoped the play would promote discussion about homosexuality. “The aim of the play was for it to be discussed by those who saw it and in the local media,” Hopkins said. “The local media seem to have agreed not to talk about it, which is disappointing. We’re also particularly disappointed that it won’t be staged at the National Theatre, as there it would have reached more Ugandans.”

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