Photo by Pidgeon Pagonis


Ms. Afrika Queen Lockett is a self-described transgender, African woman. Born in KwaZulu-Natal South Africa in 1966, she came to Chicago after being adopted by a family here during her adolescence. She tells any who will listen the story of how her birth parents were murdered by the South African police force for their involvement in the African National Congress (ANC). She has fond memories of South Africa and misses her homeland.

Ms. Afrika has spent many years struggling against the violences of homelessness and incarceration, much of which has been a result of discrimination she experienced as a Trans woman & because of the criminalization of poverty.  Most recently, she was incarcerated in IDOC for nearly 8 years, 3 of which were in segregation (solitary confinement). While on the outside, she’s lived mostly on the northside of Chicago between Lakeview and Rogers Park. She currently lives in a social justice housing cooperative in the Uptown neighborhood.

Before her release on parole in February of 2016, Ms. Afrika was an incarcerated member of the Black & Pink family for several years.  As a Trans woman in a men’s facility, Ms. Afrika repeatedly had to fight for her safety and that of other trans women in the IDOC. In 2015, she succeeded in getting necessary hormones after many years of demanding the healthcare she should have received all along. She believes it is her duty to stick up for herself and others.

In just a year since her release, she has become a staunch advocate for her Trans sisters and LGBTQ prisoners, and is beloved by her community in Chicago.  Ms. Afrika makes frequent appearances at marches, letter-writing events, community dinners and more to demand an end to practices of solitary confinement, anti-Trans violence, and more.  She also sings in the church choir at Wellington Ave United Church of Christ, and is an active member of Black & Pink Chicago and the Coalition to Stop Solitary in Illinois.