Mankind may have originated on the African continent, but homophobia certainly didn’t. That’s what South African gay activist Nonhlanhla Mkhize said in a statement commemorating International Day Against Homophobia.
Mkhize definitely has a point. The idea of homosexuality came from the West, a special colonial social import. So, too, are declarations of homosexuality’s sinfulness and, thus, homophobia. Indigenous or not, homo-hating sure did stick…
Thirty-eight African nations legally forbid homosexuality, including Nigeria, home to proselytizing colonizer, Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola. It’s to religious leaders like Akinola – who once referred to gays a social cancer – that Mkhize pleads “[help] ensure that sexual minorities are treated with equality and dignity”.
Mkhize went on to implore his countrymen to lead the pro-queer crusades:
As the fifth country to legalise same-sex marriage, we urge our leadership to take the lead – on the African continent and internationally – in the struggle against all forms of prejudice against lesbian and gay people.
In marching into the future, however, Africans the continent over must not forget their past. Invoking the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the duo asserted:
Efforts to address past discriminations must simultaneously tackle all forms of prejudice, including against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
It’s only then that true forgiveness – and progress – can be found. And that’s something everyone can enjoy.
Homophobia Fundamentally Un-African [The Independent]