LEGABIBO (Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana) is the first LGBTI organisation in Botswana. It was founded by Ditshwanelo, the Centre for Human Rights in 1998 as a project. However due to lack of resources the project could not be implemented and was therefore inactive until it resurfaced under BONELA Botswana Network on Ethics, Laws and HIV/AIDS).
BONELA is a non-governmental organization (NGO) formally established in 2001 to support human rights initiatives in the area if HIV/AIDS and to facilitate mainstreaming of network of concerned organization and individuals committed to protecting and promoting the rights of all people affected by HIV/AIDS.
There have been a number of attempts to register the constitution with the Registrar of Societies, Ministry of Labour and Home affairs but this has been rejected. The latest attempt was in 2012. On March 12, 2012 the Director of the Department of Civil and National Registration rejected the application on the basis that the Botswana Constitution does not recognise homosexuals and that the objectives of the intended organization are contrary to Section 7 (2) of the Societies Act. LeGaBiBo appealed against the decision but the appeal was also rejected on October 12, 2012.
In April 2013, LEGABIBO sought a court case to force the Government to recognise it as a registered organisation.
Being homosexual in Botswana, as in many African countries, is not easy. Homosexuality is regarded as abominable and sinful, it’s perceived as a crime, un-African or a western “illness”. These issue plus the fact that homosexual sex is punishable with a possible jail sentence if convicted renders LGBTI people of Botswana a very vulnerable group, frequently exposed to discrimination, aggression and abuse by the community and sometimes even by their own families.