21 varieties of traditional African homosexuality

King Mwanga II of Buganda, who reportedly had sexual relations with men.  (Photo courtesy of Sebaspace)

King Mwanga II of Buganda, the “gay king” who reportedly had sexual relations with men. (Photo courtesy of Sebaspace)

At least 21 cultural varieties of same-sex relationships have long been part of traditional African life, as demonstrated in a new report  that is designed to dispel the confusion and lies surrounding Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The following discussion and the 21 examples are from that report, “Expanded Criminalisation of Homosexuality in Uganda: A Flawed Narrative / Empirical evidence and strategic alternatives from an African perspective,” which was prepared by Sexual Minorities Uganda:

In their work anthropologists Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe provide wide‐ranging evidence in support of the fact that throughout Africa”s history, homosexuality has been a ‘‘consistent and logical feature of African societies and belief systems.”

Thabo Msibi of the University of Kwazulu‐Natal documents many examples in Africa of same-sex desire being accommodated within pre-colonial rule.”

Boy Wives and Female Husbands cover

The work of Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe is cited in the new report by Sexual Minotrities Uganda on traditional forms of homosexuality in African cultures.

Deborah P. Amory speaks of ‘‘a long history of diverse African peoples engaging in same-sex relations.”

Drawing on anthropological studies of the pre-colonial and colonial eras, it is possible to document a vast array of same-sex practises and diverse understandings of gender across the entire continent.

Examples include:

  1. One notably ‘‘explicit” Bushmen painting, which depicts African men engaging in same-sex sexual activity.
  2. In the late 1640s, a Dutch military attaché documented Nzinga, a warrior woman in the Ndongo kingdom of the Mbundu, who ruled as ‘‘king” rather than ‘‘queen”, dressed as a man and surrounded herself with a harem of young men who dressed as women and who were her ‘‘wives”.
  3. Eighteenth century anthropologist, Father J-B. Labat, documented the Ganga-Ya-Chibanda, presiding priest of the Giagues, a group within the Congo kingdom, who routinely cross-dressed and was referred to as ‘‘grandmother”.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. In the former Kingdom of Dahomey, women could be soldiers (above) and older women would sometimes marry younger women, according to anthropologist Melville Herkovits.

    In the former Kingdom of Dahomey, women could be soldiers (above) and older women would sometimes marry younger women, according to anthropologist Melville Herkovits.

    Same-sex relationships were reported amongst other groups in Uganda, including the Bahima, …

  8. the Banyoro and …
  9. the Baganda. King Mwanga II, the Baganda monarch, was widely reported to have engaged in sexual relations with his male subjects.
  10. A Jesuit working in Southern Africa in 1606 described finding ‘‘Chibadi, which are Men attired like Women, and behave themselves womanly, ashamed to be called men”.
  11. In the early 17th century in present-day Angola, Portuguese priests Gaspar Azevereduc and Antonius Sequerius encountered men who spoke, sat and dressed like women, and who entered into marriage with men. Such marriages were ‘‘honored and even prized”.
  12. In the Iteso communities, based in northwest Kenya and Uganda, same-sex relations existed amongst men who behaved as and were socially accepted as women.
  13. Same-sex practises were also recorded among the Banyoro and …
  14. the Langi.
  15. In pre-colonial Benin, homosexuality was seen as a phase that boys passed through and grew out of.
  16. There were practises of female-female marriages amongst the Nandi and …
  17.  Kisii of Kenya, as well as …
  18. the Igbo of Nigeria,
  19. the Nuer of Sudan and
  20. the Kuria of Tanzania.
  21. Among Cape Bantu, lesbianism was ascribed to women who were in the process of becoming chief diviners, known as isanuses.
In the 1600s in the  Kingdom of Motapa in southern Africa (labeled "Monomotapa" on this map), Christian missionaries encountered cross-dressing men known as chibadi.

In the 1600s in the Kingdom of Motapa in southern Africa (labeled “Monomotapa” on this map), Christian missionaries encountered cross-dressing men known as chibadi.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Given the overwhelming evidence of pre-colonial same-sex relations which continued into the colonial and post-colonial eras, as well as historical evidence of diverse understandings of gender identity, it is clear that homosexuality is no more ‘‘alien” to Africa than it is to any other part of the world.

As stated by Murray and Roscoe: Numerous reports also indicate that in the highly sex-segregated societies of Africa, homosexual behaviour and relationships were not uncommon among peers, both male and female, especially in the years before heterosexual marriage. These kinds of relations were identified with specific terms and were to varying degrees institutionalized.

What the colonisers imposed on Africa was not homosexuality “but rather intolerance of it — and systems of surveillance and regulation for suppressing it.”

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About Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart, a 40-year journalism veteran, is publisher and an editor of the "Erasing 76 Crimes" blog. More profile information on Google+. Colin Stewart, un vétéran du journalisme de 40 ans, est éditeur et rédacteur en chef du blog "Erasing 76 Crimes." Plus d'informations de profil sur Google+.
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121 Responses to 21 varieties of traditional African homosexuality

  1. we learn about ourselves when we learn about other cultures.


  2. Asanda says:

    Well, with the given “proof”, even if existed statues to provide the evidence, a certain sick-minded individuals do not represent the whole of Afrika, even if this was true, but that doesn’t mean it was a norm and an accepted practice by all Afrikan people, just because King Mwanga is fag that doesn’t set homosexuality as an Afrikan rule.
    “At least 21 cultural varieties of *same-sex relationships have long been part of traditional African life*” this is utter nonsense, homosexuality is not part of traditional Afrikan life, homosexuality is not traditional in Afrika. My first encounter with a homosexual was when I was in High School, at age 17, 17 years of my life, for the first time I saw a fag, with my own eyes.
    What this seeks to do is to proliferate homosexuality in Afrika, institutionalize it, and make it a norm with this so-called evidence. So what if King Mwanga decided to sleep with men? His actions are not representative and reflecting of Afrikan culture, he is an individual, therefore, no body should insist to speak as if homosexuality is a trait of Afrikan culture. Homosexuality is frowned upon in Afrika! If it was traditional and ancient or old, it would have been a norm and accepted easily by now!. “*One* notably ‘‘explicit” Bushmen painting, which depicts African men engaging in same-sex sexual activity”.
    Tell me, what is expected from us? Are we expected to say, “Oh well, king so-and-so did it, I guess it aint that bad, let’s be pro-homo from now on”.
    It doesn’t take away the fact that homosexuality is a bitter pill to swallow, look at it, what sane man decides to put his penis where it doesn’t belong? The anus is NOT a sexual organ, it is NOT a vagina, it is an exit for excretion, waste, rotten waste with a disturbing stench. How degenerative our minds can get? *laughing lightly* :) do we really need to discuss that a man is not suppose to sleep with another man???
    If homosexuality was ancient and traditional we wouldn’t have devised such symbolism and artifacts such as the Ankh.
    Homosexuality is anti-nature, homosexuals are anti-nature themselves. You ooze sperm during sex, from your penis, that sperm is *MEANT* to fertilize the *WOMAN’s* ovaries, for procreation, that’s the natural pattern.« Animals are aware of this, so, by default lacking to comprehend that, sets you at a level lower than that of an animal. (Yeah I said it!)
    Everything in the Universe operates under Natural Law. Roses are not free to bloom Lilies, Birds aren’t free to bark, and the planets are BOUND to orbit the Sun.
    People who say people are “free” to love whoever they want, male, female, dog, horse, whatever… Are out of touch with Natural Law. The Universe has set laws and specific rules for what is and what is NOT acceptable. We should NEVER feel so arrogant and “free” as to go against the rules Nature has set for us. Anything else is unnatural.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Asanda,

      It’s misguided to look at nature as a guide to what is “natural” and therefore useful as an ideal for human behavior. Just for starters, 100s of species of animal — perhaps as many as 1,500 — demonstrate homosexual behavior.

      — Colin Stewart, editor of this blog

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mnumzana Masende says:

      Asanda I believe free ppl who know how to make love would tell you that sexual energy can be harnessed in any part of the body. There is no part of the body that is off limits in making love. Learn more be open minded and one advice let some one lick your anus during coitus


    • Ekuba says:

      @ Asanda: & in the same way YOU don’t speak for every African. Who cares if YOU met a gay person for the first time when you were 17? Other Africans have different experiences. Chimamanda Adichie wrote an article today about having a gay friend when she was 8 years old.I’m an African woman born & bred in Africa who’s known I like women since I was four. Why should YOUR experience be put above our own? The irony is that you want centuries of documentation of the presence of LGBTs in Africa to be brushed aside & substituted with your singular & unverified experience. How on earth do you even know that everyone you met before the age of 17 was straight? Did you follow them to their bedrooms to know whom they said “I love you” to or had sex with?

      You also seem to have an unhealthy obsession with what gay people do behind closed doors. There’s nothing that gay people do that straight people don’t do. Several straight couples engage in anal sex. Several gay couples don’t. Anthropologists (like Evans-Pritchard) that the major type of intercourse that African gays (like the Azande warriors) engaged in was intercrural/ thigh sex. So where does that leave your gay people are evil cos they have anal sex rant? Some boys love boys & girls love girls (oooh, & others like myself love both boys & girls! lol) Get the heck over yourself Mr. Bigot Asanda

      Liked by 2 people

    • Rashada says:

      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • brunodetoulouse says:

        Yes, ASANDA,
        thank you! Thank you so much to remind us all the very LAW OF NATURE. Let us all bow our heads to you for reminding us, and let us thank the Lord to have put such a wise wise wise man on Earth to guide us. After all, it seems Adolph Hitler had the very same turn of mind, and see what he has done in the camps, see how much Joy and Happiness he has brought down here during World War II : he must have thought the LAWS OF NATURE were too good to gays, oh sorry, you say “fag” (out of compassion no doubt), to communists, romas, Jews, etc. You have a nice philosophy. Thank you, Asanda. See you soon.


      • spanner1960 says:

        There is no “law of nature”.
        Evolution is merely a sequence of millions of tiny changes and accidents that adapt and mutate. They are not necessarily good ones either. Nature has no direction, no goal, no ambition and no purpose. The only “law” is that only fittest genes survive to procreate..


    • Welcome says:

      Asanda, it is interesting to me that you set forth Afrikan values and traditions in the Catholic moral verbiage of natural Law. St. Thomas Aquinas would be proud of you. THis is hardly indigenous Afrikan thought.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Prez says:

      If that sperm is meant to fertilize an egg (not an ovary), what goes through YOUR MIND when you masturbate? That sperm ain’t going nowhere but your porno mags (which you are probably also guiltily against?)

      So who do you love? I suppose by your argument, it isn’t by choice. Was your partnership arranged then?

      Also, anal sex is not just between a man and man.

      Remember, a Christian who is an ignorant asshole on earth will likely be an eternal ignorant asshole in heaven.


      • robert zulu says:

        You are implying that every person masturbates, that is unfair and inaccurate. Many masturbate in our society to feed their own lustful desires. It has no real attachment to “love” making or procreation, therefore it’s insignificant to natural order. In other words…please shut up!


      • Athman says:

        Who said masturbation is African or rather normal behavour in the first place. If you do it, you might wanna google the long term effects of masturbation sometime


      • spanner1960 says:

        Robert Zulu:
        There is an old saying that statistically 90% of men masturbate, and the other 10% are liars.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Catty says:

      I am sure the 1st homosexual you claim to have laid your eyes on was not the first homosexual in reality. Has it occurred to you that you might know so many other homosexuals without necessarily knowing that they are homosexuals? And who made you the voice of all other Africans? Are you trying to say that homosexuals are not African enough to have a voice in Africa?

      Liked by 1 person

    • jeremy says:

      still brainwashed by the british i see.


    • @Asanda
      “The anus is NOT a sexual organ, it is NOT a vagina, it is an exit for excretion, waste, rotten waste with a disturbing stench.”
      So where does your urine come out of? Presumably not from your “pure” sex-only penile organ. And you are presumably not familiar with such things as vaginal yeast infections…

      “Everything in the Universe operates under Natural Law.”
      Maybe, but that law is not written down anywhere, nor is it likely to be simple. Your views are based on guesswork, simplification, assumption and dogma. To assert a single function or purpose for something as complex as human interaction, then work backwards to assert that no other function is acceptable, is the height of arrogance and ignorance.

      “sperm is *MEANT* to fertilize the *WOMAN’s* ovaries” Therefore intercourse between a man and a woman where one or other is infertile or past childbearing age is against Nature, even when Nature has caused the condition? I have a coffee cup on my desk. It is “meant” to hold beverages. It is currently full of pencils and pens. The world has not ended. I may use it later as a makeshift percussion instrument.

      “Birds aren’t free to bark”. This one is:

      “People who say people are “free” to love whoever they want, male, female, dog, horse, whatever… Are out of touch with Natural Law.” You’ll find that the argument which is used by real people (not the fake ones in your lurid imagination) is one based on mutual consent. Dogs are not capable of consent. Children are not capable of consent. But adults are capable of both granting and withholding consent, which is the basis of how we define rape. You are capable of deciding not to engage in whatever activities you decide you do not want to engage in. You are also capable of deciding which ones you do want to engage in. And other adults are likewise capable (whether you like it or not).

      “The Universe has set laws and specific rules for what is and what is NOT acceptable.” Then we should expect the Universe to enforce them, not man (who has yet to come to any consensus on what those laws are). It seems that the Universe deems it not acceptable that we should jump off a cliff and expect to live, but it does seem to deem it acceptable for us to murder our fellow humans – the Universe rarely seems to intervene in such matters.

      Liked by 1 person

    • spanner1960 says:

      There are no laws or rules in evolution.
      It is merely a complex sequence of millions of tiny accidents. Evolution has no path, no direction and no goal. If homosexuality was not beneficial to the advancement of life it would have died out millions of years ago. Homosexuality has been around as long as mankind itself.


    • La Feria says:

      You are a Monster.


    • Jay says:

      so every time you have sex… you make a baby? Wow you seem unnatural!


    • SoMar says:

      White people are desperate to taint the world and to paint everyone as though we are like them. Homosexuality is un-African. Period.


      • Jared says:

        present evidence that that sentiment does not spring from colonial influences, and someone might be inclined to believe you.


    • The Word of God forbids homosexuality. Romans 1:21-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9,10, 1 Timothy 1: 9,10, and Jude vs 7.

      The information that many forms and expressions of this vile perversion exist in some parts of the world comes as no surprise . It has been popular for centuries in nations without a knowledge of the one true and living God and His Word. The first chapter of Romans in our Bible shows the decent of the heathen nations into the abyss of darkness and moral depravity. To catalogue the sins of a nation does not put the stamp of approval upon their evil deeds.

      In the first century when St. Paul took the gospel to the great City of Corinth he found a metropolis famous for its immorality where every type of sexual debauchery was celebrated. When he preached the message of Christ to them many turned from their
      sins and became Christians. A strong church was established. Later Paul wrote a letter to that congregation. In it he listed many of the sins they had been guilty of including fornication and homosexuality. Then he said, “And such WERE some of you: BUT ye are washed, BUT ye are sanctified, BUT ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit if our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11.
      In that first century church there were outstanding trophies of God’s grace: former homosexuals, and people who had been guilty of various expressions gross immorality, who had been changed by the power of the cross. Instead of offering stats that fallen broken human beings have practiced such nastiness we show evidence that the message Jesus gave still has power to save. God is changing lives today.

      Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill, D.D., International Evangelist.

      the power of the cross.


      • 2000yearoldearth says:

        And the Bible will be viewed as the infallible truth, because…. Well… The Bible says so.
        Wait a minute….


      • Roman Itobac says:

        You can put all the D.D.’s you want at the end of your name, Paul is not Jesus and Paul is not God. Paul lived at the same time and in the same region as Jesus and never met him. Paul copied his teachings on so-called homosexuality from Leviticus in the Old Testament. A wonder he did not copy all that we find in Leviticus, like the teachings on how to buy, sell and control your slaves. The story of Loth is not a story of homosexuality but a story of rape of men on men, in fact of men wanting to rape two angels who came to Sodom in the form of humans. Paul is a homophobic macho like D.D. Rev. Donald Hill who doesn’t understand a thing about a person loving another person. All he sees in homosexuality is sex. Is that all he sees in heterosexuality? He thinks that putting all these qualifiers on his name makes him the word of God. Jesus never said a single word about homosexuality. Stop your hate sir, please, in the name of Jesus.


    • D says:

      Asanda, I hope you come out soon.


    • Putt says:

      Your comment shows how ignorant you are. You were born in a society that is far removed from what it was 500 years ago and has been corrupted by Islam or Christianity. The report here simply speak to what was happening hundreds of years before Africa was touched by outside religions. You are stupid to call homosexuality anti-nature when science has shown over and over that homosexuality is innate; no one chooses to be gay, no one chooses to be infertile or sterile; should we kill these people? Is Blindness and deafness and dumbness and hermaphrodites and Left-handedness anti-nature? Sex is not only for procreation and being gay does not stop the process of procreation because many gays also desire to raise children and so do whatever it takes to have kids, but that does not mean they are heterosexual, sexual orientation and one’s desire to have kids are not the same things. You need to check where your attitude is coming from, because I am sure your motivation against gays is unnatural.


    • Denis says:


      The ignorant misguided homophobic response is probably why you werent aware of it before you were 17. If I were gay – I certainly wouldnt be letting a homphobic bigot such as yourself know it.

      Remember, for thousands of years, religious adherents have persecuted others (including torture and murder) for having DIFFERENT beliefs.

      If you wont even allow those of different orientations to express it , dont be surprised that you dont hear about it – but you then forfeit the right to claim that it isnt the norm.


    • Jared says:

      …. the Ankh… symbol of eternal life… would not exist if homosexuality existed in the past…
      your logic is flawed.
      Also, all evidence points to the root of homophobia in Africa being colonial influence through both the occupying colonial forces and Missionaries.


    • Well said, Asanda


    • Andrew K says:

      “Homosexuality is frowned upon in Afrika! If it was traditional and ancient or old, it would have been a norm and accepted easily by now!.”

      You think that after colonization and the spread of Christianity and Islam in Africa that would have been possible? You are biased and letting your emotion do the talking.

      Do you realize how many logical fallacies you have committed in your post?

      An appeal to nature

      Appeal to emotion

      Ad hominem (Yeah you said it!)
      False cause (The ankh? Really?)

      Loaded question (do we really need to discuss that a man is not suppose to sleep with another man???)

      Personal incredulity (what sane man decides to put his penis where it doesn’t belong?)

      Slippery Slope (male, female, dog, horse, whatever)

      You should get some kind of award for a post that has so many logical fallacies. Your thinking is puerile in a way that few could ever hope to achieve.


    • lvng1tor says:

      Others here are much nicer.I just think you are small minded and your use of derogatory remarks is juvenile. Your pride in your ignorance is astounding.


    • win says:

      fyi various species of animals and mammals like ourselves also engage in homosexuality because it is quite natural. read a book. learn. think for yourself. jist because you dont like something doesnt means its wrong. grow up.


    • Meagan says:

      I don’t believe the author is trying to say it was applied to the culture as a whole, more so it was accepted in various places. Also when Europe descended on many cultures they brought their culture and monoplized entire natures with their way of life, so you saying that you didn’t see a homosexual to the age of 17 doesn’t apply to this situation bc you didn’t live 400 years ago. Things have a way of evolving, especially under the direction of other influences. For instances, the way we are taught to view color, light complexions vs. dark complexions was something that was introduced into black culture and evolved over time. Whose to say this doesn’t apply to sexuality as well? Just a thought. What do you consider natural law to be?? Time evolves everything, therefore laws can change.


    • Anthony Carter says:

      Good job


    • Muzzukulu says:

      Asanda, thank you for being bold on homosexuality. It is like you read my script in the book I am about to complete regarding African Natural laws, the misinterpretation of African traditional practices, the spiritual exploitation leading to spiritual and humane emptiness of African face value and so on. On Mwanga, what the proponents of homosexuality do not know is the binding cultural and the traditional fabric of the Baganda.
      We all know how teenagers of 16 years behave before their parents especially at such the position of high integrity like a King, more especially when succeeding one of the most respected civil King who warmly welcomed the Missionaries in Uganda. What they are saying about Mwanga indicates how Africa has been exploited at the cost of her Docility. They should feel ashamed of such concocted propaganda.
      An African child lives by the examples of his parents and cannot impose anything contrary to the values of her/his parents. In Buganda, there is a full cultural department that makes sure that the King in the making will not mess with the traditions of the Baganda under the guidelines of the spirits of our Ancestors. And in the course of getting astray, the King is punished there and then. The good example is the late King Muteesa the first (I) who was spiritually punished for just mistreating his people but what do you think would have happened to Mwanga if he indeed committed such a God despising act?
      Let them inhumanly do what they want but should not impose such behaviors on others for the sake of seeking legitimacy.


      • Roman Itobac says:

        You say: “Let them inhumanly do what they want but should not impose such behaviors on others for the sake of seeking legitimacy.” Homosexuals are not imposing behaviors on anyone. They are just asking you to live and let live. It is you, the homophobe, who is imposing on homosexuals a behavior that has nothing to do with you. You should simply mind your own business.


  3. Hrh Elizabeth F Obisanya says:

    The problem is that the homophobia is coming from the religious circles and as the residual effects of Henry 8ths buggery act of 1533.
    Historically Henry 8th brought in the Act to try and use it against the catholic priest in his bid to break away from the catholic church and have nothing to do with the Pope. Of course his church followed suit and preached it as well has added the ban in the new testament bible .Speaking as a Christian i know this to have been the case for whilst we accept that God did ban homosexuality in the Old Testament — law of Moses Jesus came to abolish the Law of Moses and establish Grace. Hebrews 10:9 . we are not to adhere to the Law of Moses anymore as Christians as there is no Grace , no Sacrifice there, Jesus the Lamb of God given for the WHOLE world has paid the penalty price (Galatians 3:13) and re ordered the system by establishing Grace. The only Law we are to keep now is the Law of Love ( love respect your neighbour as yourself) they that dont do that are transgressors and sinners. Many may not understand the gay thing but they are to walk in Godly Love towards the LGBT if they say they are Christians this is what Christ ordered. even yet to do to your enemy…

    The problem with our black people is that they are ashamed of their past because the bible speaks badly of it , what they are omitting to do as Christians is to factor in Christ into that past and their future. Yes pagans that did not know Christ did not make it . We are better off than many of our forefathers and foremothers we know Christ we have received the Lamb Sacrifice that God made for us and brought us near to Him so we can be His people. This is what being Christian is about .And there are Christian LGBTS that walk in this Love that God gave unto them..why should they be persecuted for Loving whoever they want to Love when Jesus has settled it and paid the bill before God?
    Jesus has paid the price for blacks and LGBT to be His …

    He has reconciled ALL to HIMSELF


    • win says:

      the bible supports slavery.why the slaves were allowed to read it. christianity was forced on africans to civilize us. lol read read read and grow. your god was is part of your assimilation


      • Muzzukulu says:

        Let my friend Hrh learn the concept of a rubber. If Jesus was a rubber that rubbed all the sins from the face of the World, to what degree did he cleanse this universe in God’s name? We all love peace and harmony that is why we cry when we are depressed by those who think should be gate and the key to God for Mankind. Religion is a philosophy that surmounts man’s ability to articulate and conceptualize issues.


  4. Mike says:

    Oh…nature has set laws? Is it the nature or the mankind??? If its nature then tell me why I get sexually aroused by men and not women and try not to be a bigot to tell me I choose it…


  5. 1 steps foward, 2 steps back says:

    Neo-colonialism of the African mind.
    We need a total liberation from the West in every sense. We need to think and feel for ourselves and decide both mentally and emotionally, what we want to accept and what not. If the West wants to set an example for human-rights, let them first practice what they preach by eliminating centuries-old racism from their society. Only then……………


  6. Murri says:

    wow, this was an incredible and enlightening dialogue! I was very happy to read these thoughtful remarks from Africans: I only want to add, East, West, who cares ? Values do not belong to one “direction” : they are are of ALL humanity. If as an American there is some idea from the East that a society wants me to consider, so why not? if it is good, it is good. To say “lets not assume ideals of the West” is bad, to me this is an inferiority complex. Until we dispense with the idea that “certain ideals’ are from this culture and (therefore) not of my culture, we will be doomed to a limited life.


    • ITOHAN says:

      I would agree with you, if only the west had the decency to extend the same cultural courtsey to Africans. You can not tell other people that their way of life is backward, primitive and bad then turn around and ask that yours be considered as forward and good and certainly not bad. If all an acceptance of western culture does (as it has in the past and continues to do) is lead to an eradication of indigenous cultures and replace it with western perspectives, one can imagine why many Africans would percieve western ideals in a negative light. That being said mutual respect of one anothers culture and differences in ideals is very crucial for peace and progress in an increasingly globalized space.


  7. robert zulu says:

    Thank you Asanda. Couldn’t have said it any better.
    The gay agenda won’t prevail in Africa. No, never.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ojay says:

    This is all a bunch of Neo-Colonialism. Clean up your mess first. Note, in societies mentioned above, if a man was regarded as a woman because of his gay tendencies then he was considered lower than the lowest. In short, the activities mentioned were not “tolerated” but were given their deserved rank… at the bottom of the chain.


  9. pmuluha says:

    Sorry supporters of gay-isim in Africa, but the facts given in this article are half facts. For example, the article does not state (and we know this for fact) that Kabaka Mwanga’s ‘gay’ tendencies were brought in by a certain community from outside the region. Before that, actually, before his dad Kabaka Mutesa II, such activities were not known among the Baganda, in fact, there wasn’t a single word for that. Similarly, the issue of female husband is being twisted by the author to support a point that was never known ages ago. Two things, an attempt at rewriting history (which is not so bad, I guess, depending on what the intention is) and giving half facts. Of the facts given, I am aware of two which are not properly told here to give the impression that homosexuality was normal.

    The fact that real democratic African governments are successfully legislating against it should give one an indication about what Africans as a people believe about homosexuality … and it is not an attitude that is being forced on us… lest we say polygamy was also forced on us. For this generation, and likely for another one, it will not be accepted and writing such propaganda like articles doesn’t help the cause either.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: The Afrikan and The Queer | colouredraysofgrey

  11. Thomas says:

    Really people! If you want to be straight or gay, it really is your choice and it should not have anything to do with anyone else. As far as I’m concerned, homophobic people should burn in hell, period. It’s the same thing as being racist. End of story. Get a life!


  12. tristanlives says:

    Reblogged this on Rock the Castro and commented:


  13. I think corrections are in order, though I do not disagree with you entirely… The Kisii/Kuria (they happen to be more or less the same people with the same language and cultural practices, but mostly separated by the borders, Kenya/Tanzania), well back to my point, yes they happen to have a custom that allows women to marry other women but it is for the purpose of preserving the family name. If for any reason or another the last heir to the family happens to be a woman, she will be allowed to marry a younger woman and that wife would be required to bear children who will be adopted by the husband/wife thus carrying her family name (and hopefully some of them will be boys… we all know how that story goes…). I think that point was well explained in Murray & Roscoe’s work pointing out that it would have been considered taboo if those women were to have a sexual relationship as well. Though not as popular today the practice is well known in the area. Growing up I used to hear of hear of older women marrying younger ones in order to bear them children and the only people making noise about it were members of the clregy, citing that it is a form of sexual slavery….

    Liked by 1 person

  14. hirandnow says:

    Reblogged this on Ze Rants….


  15. agaciro3 says:

    Reblogged this on Agaciro.


  16. Athman says:

    In the first place, why is all this said evidence about the existence of homosexuality in African culture presented by non-African people. Besides even if it existed or the Kabaka in Buganda was homo, he definitely was one lost soul. Even so if homosexuality had been an integral part of African culture, our grandparents would have told us about it who in turn would have been told by their grandparents about it. It’s not accidental that all of us were not told about it. It just means that it was not acceptable in African culture


    • Dear Athman,
      I’m not sure what you mean by “all this said evidence about the existence of homosexuality in African culture [was] presented by non-African people.” This information came from Africans — specifically from Sexual Minorities Uganda‘s publication Expanded Criminalisation of Homosexuality in Uganda: A Flawed Narrative / Empirical evidence and strategic alternatives from an African perspective. Are you saying that non-African anthropologists may have been involved in collecting some of this information, and that any involvement by non-African individuals discredits any endeavor? If so, you perhaps should also discard Christianity, Islam and democracy, which all originated elsewhere.

      Colin Stewart, editor of this blog


      • ITOHAN says:

        Fair points but one small correction. The idea that democracy is foreign to the African continent is a very common Western misconception. A number of indigenous African tribes operated what has now come to be described as democratic systems. The Igbo’s of Nigeria for example operated an egalitarian society unparalled by any other civilization since Athens. Some would argue that the Igbo’s were more democratic because of some discriminatory elements in who was allowed democartic priviledges in Athens (This is not to say that the former’s democracy was 100% non-discrimnatory, far from it. Just a little less discriminatory perhaps). Also many tribes who operated monarchy’s installed their first monarchy’s through democratic processes e.g Some sectors of the Anioma people of Nigeria. So that being said, the only thing brand new to the continent about democracy, was the centrally institutionalized shape it took and the word ‘democracy’ not the practice itself, which is the issue in question here.


      • Dear Itohan,

        That’s good to know. Thanks.

        — Colin Stewart, editor of this blog


  17. Stephen Malcolm says:

    @Asanda – you clearly are no biologist. There are many examples of homosexuual practices amongst animals. So it IS NOT against nature. Same sex practices in Africa, yes may not have been the norm, but were clearly not viewed as wrong or against nature. Please grow up and become accepting of the diversity in people’s nature, sexual desires and sexual orietations.


  18. Sophia Gubb says:

    Good article, though you could have been more sensitive regarding transgender issues. Many of these “men who acted like women” were clearly trans women as described. You should speak about them as women then; not only because it’s more respectful, but more accurate. In the West as well as any other place, gender is as much about roles and self-understanding as it is about physical body parts (even if we deny this; an act which has a lot more to do with homophobia and transphobia than it has to do with any sort of scientific enlightenment). A man doesn’t stop being a man if he loses his penis. He wouldn’t stop being a man even if we took away his whole body and put his brain into a robotic replacement body. How is he still a man in these cases? Because of self-understanding and social roles.


  19. Pingback: 21 varieties of traditional African homosexuality (76 crimes) | Uma (in)certa antropologia

  20. Pingback: Ugandan homophobia & the 'mercenary' gays - Towards a Free Society | Towards a Free Society

  21. Pingback: Ugandan homophobia and those “mercenary” gays

  22. Pingback: Weekend Links Vol. 28: Happy Birthday, Audre Lorde! | Bluestockings Magazine

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  24. tohni says:

    Reblogged this on Undefined and commented:
    Instead of having long debates with people which result in me thinking they are dumber than a bag of rocks; this links and others like it will be my response. Down with homohaters! And anti-humanists! And anti-Africanism (Africanism in this case being what is of the continent and not what the Europeans carved out as their idea of what Africanism should be, which is puritanical, Victorian era culture).


  25. DIALLO says:

    So misguided, did you find out why the IBOs are said to marry other women, you just list incidences you claim are from studies mostly documented by the same colonialists that claim to discover the rivers our ancestors have navigated for centuries, the same clowns that said we should wear clothes (but run nude clubs now) clowns that said our traditional beliefs are barbaric (but accept druidry, satanist worship etc) the same people that said our foods are not healthy (but come to Africa to steal the same nutritional ideas they condemned ages ago) Now they come and tell us we are the ones that are not normal all cause we have refused to accept homosexuality. In a few years you would tell us heterosexuality is not normal and procreation is no longer needed, Can Africa be let alone.


  26. Joe says:

    The authors argument that homosexuality is part of African culture is flawed and you do not have to be a genius very to see this. A simple example is the 2nd point. ” In the late 1640s, a Dutch military attaché documented Nzinga, a warrior woman in the Ndongo kingdom of the Mbundu, who ruled as ‘‘king” rather than ‘‘queen”, dressed as a man and surrounded herself with a harem of young men who dressed as women and who were her ‘‘wives”. Same sex would dictate that she surrounded herself with the same sex “female” wives. Not “male wives”. The argument proves the opposite. That she was not gay, that she favored the opposite sex and was powerful enough to have many males as “wives”. Mainly meaning that she was in control. Polygamy is not new in Africa for those with power and means. The titles “husband & wife” are a play on words and depict the powerful partner as the “husband” whether they are male or female. Is the Author trying to find evidence of something that does not exist? I am not convinced that they have succeeded. I am not anti-gay but I would like to see better evidence and stronger arguments than anecdotes from people with no specialist knowledge about African culture. The so called “Marriages” where women marry other women in the Kuria Tribe can be explained in economic terms as a source of labor (both the wife and children belong to the female/husband and work for them). What is not mentioned is that the “female” husband also procured partners of the opposite sex for their “wives” to have children and increase their economic prowess. This again proves that there was no “sexual” basis to the tradition other than to grow and strengthen the “Family”. I also find it difficult to understand why it is necessary to argue that same-sex relationships have a traditional African basis. If one is gay, it is irrelevant whether they are African, Asian or European, they just are gay people. Sexuality is such a complex subject that it is impractical to debate it in terms of race or culture. There more apt intellectual exercise would be to debate sexuality in terms of its current development, belief and practice. It does not matter what race, culture or color. The important thing is to realize that there is now greater acceptance of freedom of sexual expression. This has developed more in certain areas than others.


    • Mel says:

      “A simple example is the 2nd point. ” In the late 1640s, a Dutch military attaché documented Nzinga, a warrior woman in the Ndongo kingdom of the Mbundu, who ruled as ‘‘king” rather than ‘‘queen”, dressed as a man and surrounded herself with a harem of young men who dressed as women and who were her ‘‘wives”. Same sex would dictate that she surrounded herself with the same sex “female” wives. Not “male wives”. The argument proves the opposite. That she was not gay, that she favored the opposite sex and was powerful enough to have many males as “wives”. Mainly meaning that she was in control”.

      Joe, I disagree with your argument that Nzinga was not gay. I will introduce another argument or possibility: It is possible that Nzinga was transgender. In this instance, Nzinga was born female but self identified as male, which supports why she or correctly he ruled as king rather than queen. Therefore, Nzinga sexual orientation would be considered gay. As a female to male transgender, he was attracted to males, hence the “male wives.” Gender identity cannot be overlooked.


  27. stupid post,this is a lie,even in my tribe,a woman who has no children can marry another woman who will give birth on her behalf,by sleeping with her husband,it is a tradition passed down since blacks were from ancient egypt.It does not mean they are lesbians.ALL african traditions consider homosexuality an ABOMINATION.Ask me idiot i am an african,my mother is kalenjin,my father is maasai,i am an antropologist and historians.we africans will not accept this wickedness in our society,our children are no longer safe.We must get rid of western media in all 54 countries.


  28. canibefound says:

    Reblogged this on Can I Befound? and commented:
    My point exactly, so lets stop the hypocrisy and leave other people bedroom matters to themselves


  29. Mista Revo says:

    dont make me laugh what a title. The title of your text is : “African homosexuality”. If homosexuality is something wrilly traditional in africa,why has any african langue(Any), a word that has the same meaning as the word gay?

    this word dont exist in our language,because we dont know this practice. How can a people dont have a word for a practice that they practice?


    • Trevor says:

      Unfortunately Mista, you are wrong. There are words for homosexuality in many African languages, such as Shona. Do some research and you will be surprised. But I bet there is no African word for homophobia because that came from the British and French. How can you be homophobic? How can you practice European religion or follow any other foreign practice when you have no word for THAT? Your argument is ridiculous. Just try to understand that your position is exactly the same as people who are racist against Africans or against women. If you discriminate against gay people then you must accept discrimination by others against Africans and women. It is the same thing.


  30. Pingback: Meeting on Monday March 17th: Further discussion of recent Anti-Gay Legislation worldwide, focussing on Uganda led by Katie Brady Barker, title and format TBC | Roles

  31. Pingback: Homossexualidade em África

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  37. Pingback: 21 varieties of traditional African homosexuality | MasterAdrian's Weblog

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  39. Raynger says:

    Woah interesting article and comments. Tolerance, acceptance and love are what is needed to follow Jesus’ teachings and ways(as we were taught thru the bible which was brought by the white missionaries)..Uhuh. Africans of old would not wear clothes or use toothbrushes, nor toilets if it were not for the white influence; neither would the whites have achieved religious domination if they had not spread it all over the world. FYI nobody knows how natural the sex is in their neighbour’s bedrooms.. We all need each other and without tolerance even societies would have crumbled centuries before. Let God or the ancestors be the judge..!! Nobody has the right to play God as you so wish us believe He is who you follow..


  40. christiancourtney says:

    leave these Europeans to their own sick thinking. Why do you continue to always try to analyze other people from your own perspective this is the sickness of being European


  41. christiancourtney says:

    Bthis report is from Europeans examining the phenomenon of homosexuality after the contact with Europeans. I do not deny that it was perhaps in Africa what I did Deny is any European standard observation. they have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they always have heartLess alternative motives….you are prime example Peace


    • When you have a chance, please let me know what you think my “heartless alternative motive” is. I have no idea what you’re talking about. My motive in publishing this list (from Uganda) is to provide information that might lead to a change of heart in readers, and eventually might lead to people being allowed to live without the threat of imprisonment for who they are. A lot of heart is involved in that.

      — Colin Stewart, editor of this blog


  42. Pingback: Ugandan priest: 10 reasons to repeal anti-gay law | 76 CRIMES

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  44. Pingback: Ugandan priest: 10 reasons to repeal anti-gay law | MasterAdrian's Weblog

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  46. joe says:

    Asanda little minded and such hateful ignorance is why are young gay communities are so afraid to come out and often hurt them selves bc idiots like you are so small minded.


  47. ROY THOMAS says:

    Because some people in Africa might engaged in homosexuality has nothing to do with using a paint brush to paint the whole of Africa. Man is a sinner by nature. Pigmentation of skin is a superficial matter. Sin is found in all nations. You only need for example to check out the Canaanites and the Hivites who as far as we know, were not HIV positive. The far reaching gospel is for all men whatever their language or creed. God loves every one of them and has provided a way out from the stranglehold of sin to the freedom that there is in Christ. .


  48. Reblogged this on afrodemocratichabits and commented:
    When colonizers came to Africa they started mocking and writing about how disgusted they were of Africa’s tolerance of homosexuality. Their colonial project of mental slavery was so thoroughly successful that today Africans are tooting how more homophobic they are than the colonizer.


  49. Roman Itobac says:

    Amazingly, what is said here about African culture concerning homosexuality can be said in exactly the same words about Canadian Aboriginal culture: “throughout Africa”s history, homosexuality has been a ‘consistent and logical feature of African societies and belief systems’”. Simply replace Africa’s history with Aboriginal history and African societies with Aboriginal societies. For a superb perspective on this reality, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onS9t9XuRac
    It’s the story of a young Native gay artist and his play “Agokwe”, the Native word for “two spirit”, the male and female spirit.


    • Ikenna says:

      Have you seen a dog sleeping with another dog or any animal in the animal Kingdom? Why is man such a vessel of satanism? Well those who do such, more grace to your elbow. But, I can’t be acquainted to such a person….


      • Dear Ikenna,
        In answer to your first question: Yes.
        Regarding your unwillingness to be acquainted with LGBTI people, OK. The issue isn’t whether you have the right to choose your acquaintances; you do. The question is whether you should have the right to put people in prison because you’re uncomfortable with whom they love.
        — Colin Stewart, editor of this blog


  50. Ikenna says:

    In the case of the Igbo of Nigeria, it is not Homosexuality. A woman, marries a woman to continue the family name in such cases that she has no male sons. These women go and get pregnant outside and as such continue the family line. So keep your evil thoughts to those you have. The Igbo see Homosexuality as ARU. An abomination.


  51. Tony Odiadi says:

    Interesting read this….but what has been related here is no African culture. Homosexual practices are strictly forbidden in Africa. Yes, categorisations of a woman as ‘husband’ of another woman may exist, it is by no means a depiction of actual sexual roles. As already indicated in some Igbo cultures, one woman may marry another woman to sustain the family line, actual sexual acts for procreation is done by a male cousin or relative to get the woman pregnant. So every such marriage or union must have a procreative purpose to it.
    What this report shows is an attempt to misrepresent practices of women to women relationships as evidence of African homosexualism. It is false….a warrior Yoruba woman can keep several other women in her service, but she truly has no sexual contact with any of them. Women are either wives or mistresses to men and all sex is male to female. Polygamy reigned to bring all women within reproductive possibility. Spinsterhood or permanent bachelorhood was mostly out of the question in Africa. In fact, a lot of people only read about homosexual activities through magazines. Things may be changing through copycat tendencies yet Africa cannot by itself condone homosexual practices. Asanda is right on this thread….nature specifies which way to perform sex hence male and females exist. In the animal kingdom all the species forbid homosexual behaviors knowing it is unnatural.


    • Astoria says:

      “In the animal kingdom all the species forbid homosexual behaviors knowing it is unnatural. ”

      Apparently you are unfamiliar with bonobos. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonobo


    • Roman Itobac says:

      Go to Google and type in “animal homosexuality” and you might dissipate your ignorance somewhat. Besides, to say that “homosexual practices are strictly forbidden in Africa” is strictly expressing your own personal bias, seconded by close-minded people like yourself. It’s a statement, nothing more, nothing less. To state “In the animal kingdom all the species forbid homosexual behaviors knowing it is unnatural” is the product of your ignorance.


  52. Pingback: Vox Publica | Homofobiens rike hjelpere

  53. wordrefinery says:

    Reblogged this on The Detroit Diaries and commented:
    i have been looking for this information!


  54. Pingback: Do you want proof that homosexuality is African? Well, here are 21! (READ) |

  55. Pingback: Do you want proof that homosexuality is African? Well, here are 21! (READ) | TOP NAIJA LINKS

  56. Pingback: Do you want proof that homosexuality is African? Well, here are 21! (READ) | TatafoParrot

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