There’s no shortage of homophobia in African nations, so it really comes as no surprise to hear of a growing problem in Namibia – a country many of you may most readily associate as the birthplace of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie‘s biological bundle, Shiloh.
Yes, reading Windhoek resident Hugh Ellis’ piece in today’s Namibian – in which he reports on an attack against his gay friend is certainly discouraging, but what’s most impressive about his words is his own admission of past prejudice:
I used to think homosexuality was disgusting, and that gay people deserved any beatings they got. Things changed when I went to study; at university I got to speak with some homosexuals, and found them, to my horror, to be normal people.These people assured me they couldn’t stop being homosexual any more than they could stop being black. I began to question myself further… I began to investigate African history, and found that, before the white missionaries came to indoctrinate us, many tribes not only accepted homosexuals but viewed them as especially spiritual people.I cannot yet say I’m cured of my homophobia, but I’m getting there. Other Namibians should follow my example and stop this discrimination. The Government and Police should come down strongly against any violence meted out to homosexuals… The media should give voices of gay people equal space to those of gay-bashers.
And now they have. Well done, Namibian – you’re certainly ahead of some of your African peers. For example, Uganda, where it’s common place to read sensationalized stories about reported homosexuals.