Speaking to Adaku, founder of the life- and love-affirming website SouLar Bliss, you are struck by her passion and caring spirit. All that she says returns to healing, love, and the connections between humans. “We’re all working so hard to heal from suffering,” she says. “Love brings us back to who we are as people and reconnects us to each other.”
Her website provides recipes, remedies, and rituals for healing, but Adaku also works on issues of sexual health and reproductive justice. She recently earned the Sexuality Leadership Development Fellowship with the Africa Regional Sexuality Resource Center, which will allow her to return home to her native Nigeria to work on issues of sexual health in Africa with organizers. She will also be sharing her works Palm Wine, what she calls “a community love project” on LGBT Nigerian experiences, and (Un)Conditional Love, a project on Nigerian mothers and daughters.
Adaku’s work is just a small sample of the work that’s being done in African nations to celebrate queer love and strengthen LGBT and reproductive rights. In spite of events such as Uganda’s crackdown on gay rights groups, activists in countries throughout Africa are working hard for the African LGBT community.
But Adaku needs the community’s help in order to fund her experience, as the Center is not offering a scholarship with the fellowship. After you read Adaku’s words on her upcoming fellowship, please consider donating at her website to help her cause.
What issues do you expect to address with African organizers?
In an intentional and affirming space, we will enter into a dialog about sexual and reproductive health issues, sexual pleasure, and HIV/AIDS. What we do will not only take place in the confines of this one time; this is also about building sustainable relationships. I am humbled to have this experience.
Why do you focus on love in your work?
Love is my grounding point. You can’t make change if you don’t love who you are. In many ways I feel we’ve been cut off from love, and lack of love leaves us relying on fear and oppression. It’s not a healthy space to be in.
What do you expect to get out of the Share Your Bliss tour, where you’ll be talking with people in their homes about recipes, rituals, and remedies?
I’m really excited about that. Share Your Bliss creates an opportunity to authentically be yourself through sharing. I believe that sharing has supported all of our lives. Something is constantly sharing with us. I want people to feel celebrated and rooted through this tour; I want them to have the opportunity to share tales and lessons. We need to hear more stories so we’re not so isolated.
How do you feel about the state of LGBT rights in African nations and the progress that’s being made?
There has been a lot of progress and struggle. It’s been so powerful. It takes a lot of courage and love to speak your truth in the face of hate, through art, organizing, and even coming out. The reality is that people are speaking out. I hear so many more stories about queer Africans now than I did in the past. I’m really excited about the re-education that’s happening around our history and herstory. LGBT history and herstory are not un-African. We need a paradigm shift on how people look at us. Our stories have lived since the beginning of time.
How can the LGBT community support your work?
I feel I’m part of something larger. We need each other. We need to be authentic. I want people to take care of themselves, because my work is supported by love, healing, transformation, and sharing. Any support, even just positive thoughts, helps. Of course, financial support is always helpful.
Adaku’s cause and her passion for that cause are inspiring. As she takes her message of love and healing to Nigeria, we hope her words and actions inspire others – to love, to give, and to continue to fight for equality.