For Africans the outlook on the subject is totally different from that of our counterparts in the rich world. Homosexuality was and will always be a reality. A fact.
Yet, the problem (at the moment) is not acceptance or not acceptance but, perception. The average African views “being gay” in the “physical” sense. The actual words constantly used on social media after Denmark’s announcement three weeks ago, were Sodom and Gomorrah. To Whites (and all others who have legalised it) gay lifestyle is viewed on a broader sense. Not just as two people of the same gender agreeing to have sexual intercourse, but as humans, loving each other. That is why prominent individuals of the same gender openly “marry” and live happily after. Check out famous musician Elton John and his partner Mr David Furnish or Luxembourg Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel and Mr Gauthier Destenay, tying knots, recently.
That is Europe.
A Europe that hardly talks about the ills of sodomy on the physical body!
Societies are also different.
I have lived in Europe for quite a while now. You mind your own business. A very private environment where you do not speak freely to strangers. The community dynamics are based on the capitalist economy. Most times, the weather is cold. This affects temperament, behaviour, emotions and social association.
You earn your living alone. Find sex alone. Sex can be very difficult. Famous novelist DH Lawrence’s books on sexual frigidity, and some (e.g. Lady Chatterley’s Lover and the Rainbow), were banned for decades. A London gay colleague once joked that it is far easier for him “to get laid” than us heterosexuals. No wonder drugs and alcohol have to be used to break up inhibitions. Folks, often drink to get drunk, i.e. binge.
What about Africa?
From the age when a child can walk and move, they are dancing and shaking hips. The child is not thinking about sex. God forbid, no! But already that part of the body is “freed.” Dancing and moving hips, is normal. The climate is mostly warm and social interaction is easy-going; people speak to strangers. Not greeting people is considered rude. Sex is heterosexual, easy and available. No wonder HIV killed so many across the Continent.
Homosexuality is on, too.
Nonetheless, here is what our dear Wazungu need to understand: When you say gay, (at least in Kiswahili)—there is a word to describe the female (passive) role— Msenge and Shoga; and the male (active) role—Basha. A Basha is not necessarily a gay person. The majority have female sexual partners (or wives), but are fulfilling the male role during the actual physical act. These intricacies become pronounced in closed environments i.e. prisons and boarding schools. When I was in boarding school, some of the stronger boys would become Bashas and “marry” (or “own”) the “weaker” or effeminate- looking boys.
It was the highest (and remains today) form of emotional, psychological sexual bullying in male-male institutions.
Weaker boys (mentally fragile and a minority) would either turn “gay” or change and recapture their masculinity in due course.
Other closed circles are the religious institutions where tutors sodomise young boys in secluded “holy” settings. This is still happening. Secretly.
Equally in relationships and marriage, anal sex would (and sometimes) be used to avoid pregnancy and as a variable twist and control.
Now. With the freely accessible Internet porn, horrifying stories of young female’s private parts being distended due to anal sex are rife! Most Tanzanians are aware of this. Littered on Swahili social media. Young women sent to overseas hospitals for treatment!!!
Ladies and gentlemen of the West, that is WHAT you are missing when you discuss homosexuality and Africans. It is not about gay rights and whether it is un-African, human right or not. Nope! It is the cultural consequence, perception and implications.
Allowing gay culture, forcefully, without a lengthy period of discussion and social evolution will unleash sexual predators to rape young boys, give leeway to social, domestic and religious bullying. Africa is not ready, 100 per cent, yet.
The ills of sodomy on little boys and girls (too!) have been documented in numerous African social studies. Between April 2012 and 2013 for example, the National Association of Tanzania Women Journalists (TAMWA) researched on rape and sodomy of children in 20 regions - of Zanzibar and the Mainland and concluded that these acts contributed in under 15-year-old pupils dropping out of school.
Are Africans ready for European style democracy? Why are so many dictators suppressing opposition parties? And why do opposition parties keep rubbishing otherwise sensible ruling policies? Why? The answers lie in history and how social evolutionary ideas work.
Mwalimu Nyerere was right to ban pornography. He hit the nail on the head when he charged in Brazil in 1992, that democracy is not a bottle of Coca-Cola that can simply be imported. This argument applies in most issues today.
-London, Also published , in Citizen Tanzania , 7 December 2018