Sex & Gender

feature: “21 varieties of traditional african homosexuality”

February 24, 2014

Ugandan President Museveni just signed the Anti-Homosexuality bill into law. The BBC reports that a government spokesman said President Yoweri Museveni wanted to assert Uganda’s “independence in the face of Western pressure”. The new law punishes first-time offenders with 14 years in jail, and allows life imprisonment as the penalty for acts of “aggravated homosexuality”. “It also makes it a crime not to report gay people – in effect making it impossible to live as openly gay.”
And yet many reports and movies have showed how the anti-gay movement in Uganda was fueled and financed by America’s conservative Christian Right.
Moreover, Sexual Minorities Uganda created a report “designed to dispel the confusion and lies surrounding Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill”, as reported on “Throughout Africa’s history, homosexuality has been a ‘‘consistent and logical feature of African societies and belief systems.” There are “many examples in Africa of same-sex desire being accommodated within pre-colonial rule”. Among the examples featured in the article:
– “In traditional, monarchical Zande culture, anthropological records described homosexuality as ‘‘indigenous”. The Azande of the Northern Congo ‘‘routinely married” younger men who functioned as temporary wives – a practise that was institutionalised to such an extent that warriors would pay ‘‘brideprice” to the young man”s parents.”
– “Amongst Bantu-speaking Pouhain farmers (Bene, Bulu, Fang, Jaunde, Mokuk, Mwele, Ntum and Pangwe) in present-day Gabon and Cameroon, homosexual intercourse was known as bian nkû”ma– a medicine for wealth which was transmitted through sexual activity between men.”
– “Similarly in Uganda, amongst the Nilotico Lango, men who assumed ‘‘alternative gender status” were known as mukodo dako. They were treated as women and were permitted to marry other men.”
– “Among Cape Bantu, lesbianism was ascribed to women who were in the process of becoming chief diviners, known as isanuses.”
– “the Baganda. King Mwanga II, the Baganda monarch, was widely reported to have engaged in sexual relations with his male subjects.”
More here.