Truth Behind the Myth: Homosexuality in Africa


British colonial overlords did commit the original sin. Some of the most murderously anti-gay countries of this century were first introduced to codified homophobia via former Western rulers—especially Britain, a true path-breaker in anti-gay oppression.

Among such criminalization cases, a common narrative is that acceptance and tolerance of homosexuality is a foreign, or alien, Western imposition on indigenous cultures.  For example, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has called homosexuality an invention of the West that will “disturb the African moral fabric.” Similarly, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh called homosexuals “satanic”, and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf framed Liberia’s anti-sodomy laws as “traditional values.

Here stands one of the biggest ironies.  The idea that the so-called tolerance towards homosexuality somehow sprang from a western source doesn’t hold.  As our research shows, this narrative is not only wrong-headed but the opposite of the historical facts.  Instead, for many countries, including some of those mentioned above, criminalization laws were based on British imperial legal instruments, like the Indian Penal Code Section 377A, introduced and imposed on these countries by Britain when they were colonized.

So this is to all of my conscious brothers and sisters (no sarcasm), if you really are about being anti-colonialism then you shouldn’t be promoting the same nonsense. There have been gay people in all parts of the world, and for the longest time African kingdoms and countries like India were far ahead of their time with their attitudes towards homosexuality. Now many of those same countries and forward thinking people are stuck in this mental glitch and paradox. On one hand we want to espouse to everything that was African pre-colonialism, while holding on to a colonialist way of thinking.

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