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Is homosexuality really un-African?

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by ByaseL, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. B

    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Jul 8, 2009
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    Written by Akumu Patience
    Uganda has of late become a hot bed of homosexuality debate with the majority of us agreeing that same sex relationships are a perversion, an abomination, unheard-of and unacceptable among Africans.

    Almost all of us think it’s an act that must be condemned by all right thinking members of society in the most vehement of terms. Our dear President, political leaders and religious guardians have all added their strong voices. The result is a resounding reverberation: “There is no homosexuality in Africa”.

    This rhetoric we have learnt to accept without question, faithfully rallying behind those who want our brothers and sisters involved in same sex love to leave the continent.

    Yet same sex relationships were once embraced and accepted within several African societies, some of them were sexual while others were non sexual, and others still were symbolic. Perhaps the real western decadence is the grave homophobia that has now come to be part and parcel of African societies.

    Joseph M. Carrier and Steven O. Murray, in a research entitled “Boy wives and female husbands” highlight the fact that same sex marriages have been documented in more than thirty African populations, like among the Yoruba and Ibo of West Africa, the Lovedu, Zulu and Sotho of South Africa, the Kikuyu and Nandi of East Africa, the Nuer and Zande of Sudan and the Hausa of Nigeria.

    There is also evidence that homosexuality existed in pre-colonial Uganda but was largely closeted. However, the society then was not as homophobic as it is today. Bride price was central to these same sex relationships.

    Typically one of the women in the woman-woman relationship would pay bride price and become the sociological husband. The woman for whom bride price was paid would be her wife. In a man-man relationship, the older man would pay bride price for his usually teenage ‘bride’ who would become his boy-wife.

    The parents of the boy-wife would treat the older man as their son-in-law. Unlike woman-woman relationships that were usually permanent, man-boy relationships would end when the younger boy became of age and married his own boy-wife.

    Like usually happens when any sort of social bonds are formed, same sex relationships in Africa were sometimes abused. Between 1880 - 1923, a study of homosexual crime among African males revealed that homosexuality began too early and was too widespread in nature to be dismissed as a result of European sexual decadence.

    Even then, many of the men were prosecuted for being in relationships they themselves described as passionate. There were also cases of male elders and men in authority taking advantage of other men in vulnerable positions.

    Like is the case with so many other aspects, in regard to homosexuality, Africa got the worst of both worlds. We let go of our culture of tolerance and embraced the so called “sodomy” and “unnatural” offences and put them in our statute books where they have stayed to date.

    Criminalisation of same sex relationships makes it very hard to intervene in cases where there is abuse, for example where one of the parties is not consenting or when minors are involved.

    Allegations like those against Pastor Kayanja become not just an ordinary case of one individual violating another’s body and sexual integrity but rather a crisis. The real issue gets drowned in other would be irrelevant ones. We are more concerned with integrity and morality issues therein.

    Investigation gets geared more towards punishing such immorality or salvaging the reputation of the accused, instead of addressing the gross abuse of human rights involved and achieving rational and legal justice for the victims and alleged perpetrators.

    What is ironical is that these laws, criminalising all forms of same sex relationships, we cling so tightly on and quote with utmost relish and gusto were long replaced in the statute books of the countries from which we imported them.

    Culture, morality and religion are all dynamic, relative and subjective notions carrying different meanings to different people at different times and places. Seems like it’s high time we look for another reason to intervene in other people’s private lives besides claiming that they are “uncultured”, “immoral” and “un-African”.

    Or maybe if we feel so strongly about it, we should be the ones to leave the African continent for some safe haven where we shall not be confronted by “immoral” and “uncultured” people.

    The author is a Law student at Makerere University. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  2. Kipala

    Kipala JF-Expert Member

    Jul 8, 2009
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    Why should homosexuality be un-African? Very obviously homosexuality is a regular minority orientation among humans. If this is the case everywhere among human beings and allegedly not in Africa - are Africans not humans?

    So it is not surprising that there is a lot of material documenting homosexual behaviour also in African cultures before the impact of colonization and mission.

    Often it has been called "unnatural" - not "Un-some-continent". But then it has been observed widely in nature, not only as a minority orientation and behaviour among human beings but also among many different kinds of animals.
  3. Nduka

    Nduka JF-Expert Member

    Jul 9, 2009
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    The author should also be careful on the use of such terms as 'boy -wives' and 'female - husbands' in African context as they are not necessarily reffered to sexual relationship. In Kurya for example the so called 'female - husband' is reffered to as nyumba ntobo where the two females involved are no in any case involved in sexual acts rather this relation serves as the means of creating a family for those women who are not luck enough to have their own children. So the 'husband' role is to find the man to which her wife will have children with but she will remain the legal owner of the children. Also the boy - wives relationship she mentioned does not reffers to homosexuality but the so called husbands in this relationship is only the guardian/patron for little boy.
    p.s although as human beings African were not spared from homosexuality the writter does not have enough evidence/ or use weak evidence to support her arguments to prove it is African phenomenon.
  4. Kilbark

    Kilbark JF-Expert Member

    Jul 9, 2009
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    That is not homosexuality (Nyumba Ntobi) You must understand underpinning nature of homosexuality first as an act and second as behaviour. Then the very nature of it. Is it true that there are Dogs with homosexuality or even a mink or a mug rat? Then you will get conclusion that homosexuality is being magnified by Western Media and Propaganda. Kindly read a book known as ISSIS PAPERS by Dr. Cress Frances Welsing you will explore many things behind the curtain. You know Burn, you were burned thus why you are black right? Well be proud of yourself because you are black forget about other things because those are just white Man's illusions that plays with our mind homosexuality being one of them . So I agree with African Leaders and say NO HOMOSEXUALITY TO AFRICA.
  5. Kipala

    Kipala JF-Expert Member

    Jul 9, 2009
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    Mzee Kilbark,
    unasema kweli hii "nyumba ntobi" si kupendelea jinsia yake yenyewe. Lakini huyu Dr. Welsing - nadharia yake ni ajabu. To me she looks like very typically American psycho-speculation. According to her Obama could never have been President.

    If you want to have a look at a scientific view check this:
    Homosexuality in "Traditional" Sub-Saharan Africa and Contemporary South
    Africa - An overview by Stephen O. Murray (PDF-Document at )

    He gives 47 pages of lots and lots of material on homosexual traditions in traditional Africa before European influence.

    If homosexuality was a Mzungu-import - kwa nini kuna maneno ya kale katika lugha za Kiafrika? Motokaa imeletwa na Wazungu kumbe ina majina kama "motokaa", "lori", "basi". Sasa mbona kuna maneno kama "mabasha" na "mashoga" ambayo ni maneno ya Kibantu kabisa?