At a time when more countries are moving towards inclusive, Africa is taking steps backwards. Backwards, that is, specifically on the issue of gay rights, though sadly not to before colonialism, the era in which anti-gay legislation has its roots.
Most Africans dont recognise homophobia as a colonial legacy even though before colonialism, many traditional cultures were tolerant of different sexualities and gender relations. For instance, in my tribe, the Ganda or, (Ugandas largest ethnic group) women from the royal clan are addressed with male titles and may or may not be required to perform duties expected of women. More broadly, from theof the Congo to theof Cameroon, and from the Pangwe of Gabon to the Nama of Namibia, there is ethnographic evidence of same-sex relationships in pre-colonial Africa.
By preying on African values of inclusive difference, however, Africas colonisers rewrote its history, the effects of which haunt Africa to this day. Tribal chiefs and village courts of law which were traditionally the hallmark of conflict resolution were traded for a European Penal Code system. It is also important to stress that so-called sodomy laws would not have impacted African sexual politics without the influence of Christianity. Christianity was used to whitewash African culture as primitive and to demonise traditional interpretations of African intimacies. The bible became the credo of African morality, disordering African sexuality to missionary positions of heteronormativity (ie. the idea that heterosexuality is the only ‘natural’ sexual orientation).