Original Research

Emotional well-being of black African queer employees in the workplace

Nkosana Tshisa, Freda van der Walt
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 20 | a2043 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v20i0.2043 | © 2022 Nkosana Tshisa, Freda van der Walt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 July 2022 | Published: 06 December 2022

About the author(s)

Nkosana Tshisa, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, Central University of Technology, Welkom, South Africa
Freda van der Walt, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, Central University of Technology, Welkom, South Africa


Orientation: Despite continuous sexual-orientation discrimination against sexual minorities in the workplace, many queer individuals have managed to create meaningful and happy lives inside and outside the organisation.

Research purpose: To explore the work experiences of African queer employees and establish how their work experiences as sexual minorities have affected their emotional well-being within the work context.

Motivation for the study: Most previous research studies focusing on the queer population have been conducted in Western countries. There is, therefore, scant empirical research focusing on African queer individuals. In addition, most previous studies explored queer individuals in general society from a pathological perspective. Because of the increased focus on the mental health crises in Africa and the detrimental impact, it may have on organisations; the current study explored the well-being of a marginalised group within the African work context.

Research approach/design and method: This qualitative study included nine black queer participants working in Africa. Data were collected using snowball sampling.

Main findings: The findings of the study show that the participants experienced both positive and negative affects. Although some reported to be satisfied with their work, others reported a neutral or a negative stance.

Practical/managerial implications: More needs to be done to ensure that queer employees’ feel included and accepted in the workplace. Hostile working environments affect queer employees’ work experiences and well-being, and as such, management plays an indispensable role in creating a welcoming and supportive working environment.

Contribution/value-add: The findings of the study contribute to the limited body of knowledge on the work experiences of black African queers. The findings should be of value to human resource practitioners and leaders who seek to create harmonious working environments in which all employees can excel and flourish.


emotional well-being; black African queers; workplace experiences; sexual-orientation discrimination; queer


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Crossref Citations

1. A Scoping Review on Heteronormativity in African Workplaces
Lebogang Manthibe Ramalepe, Lebbaeus Asamani
Gender Questions  year: 2024  
doi: 10.25159/2412-8457/15116