Anti-LGBTQ American Pastor Banned from Entering South Africa, Still Planning Visit to Botswana

Following a robust campaign by LGBTQ activists and allies in South Africa, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba announced today that American pastor Steven Anderson has been banned from entering the country. Anderson is a pastor for the Arizona-based Faithful Word Baptist Church, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group.

Human rights advocates in Botswana, the other country Anderson planned to visit, have launched a petition to get their government to follow South Africa’s lead and ban Anderson from visiting their country.

Anderson, a Holocaust denier, has called for gay people to be executed. In the aftermath of the Orlando Pulse nightclub tragedy in June, Anderson equated LGBTQ people to “perverts and pedophiles” and praised their murders.  

Anderson’s planned visit to South Africa on September 17 and 18 whipped up a storm of protest from LGBTQ advocates and allies in the country. Advocates demanded that the South African government deny entry to Anderson and his team for their so-called “soul-winning” mission. A petition on to stop his visit has almost 8,000 signatures. Several hotels and restaurants that accepted bookings from Anderson’s party cancelled them.

On September 5, advocates met with Minister Gigaba and the South African Human Rights Commission to press their case. In response to the meetings, Anderson released a video on September 6 criticizing the minister as “wicked” for meeting with LGBTQ advocates.

HRC stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ communities in South Africa and Botswana as they work to stop the hate from American anti-LGBTQ voices in their countries.