“Un African and un Homosexual”: Pushing the frontiers of sexuality and gender of the African psyche
The typical African is one who is conventional, a faithful contributor to patriarchy and one forcefully drawn to battle anything that emasculates the men. Conventional in that they belong to an ascribed sex, gender, a family and clan. They are answerable to authority in form of a spiritual world, a clan head, a parent or elders in extended family. As a contributor to patriarchy, this African submits to the provider-beneficiary relation machinery subscribing to side with those who fight any one rocking the boat.
The typical African way promotes mutual dependence, respect, avuncular benefactorship, submission in form of filial obedience and expects one to give up independence in the name of the clan. The clan in turn submits to the tribe. Both the clan and tribe are fed by child bearing and child rearing.
The mechanisms of child bearing and rearing are celebrated, divinely worshiped and many ceremonies are enacted to propagate it. This is the engine of the African heterosexual vehicle. This is what prose, legend and cultures uphold.
But, the ground level typology of African populations seems to defy the above status quo: African Religion may call for celibacy by high priests and priestesses, it looks at many supreme beings in form of all the elements and life or death are attributed to these supreme beings. All forms of existence are at the expense of appeased supreme beings. In life one is said to be at their mercy and the dead are said to be guests of these supreme beings.
Education, urbanisation and achievements are increasingly defining the way of African life. They have become the means of analyzing what works and what does not. Disillusionment is not only vented out through a peerage system of elders but also peers and acquired skills form a basis of promising integration in society without dejections that would be visited upon any one doing otherwise.
A family setting where a man, woman and children exist is being juxtaposed with single parenthood. Single parenthood with financial stability is today pushing the frontier of sexuality and gender in the minds of Africans and their cultures. New emerging psyche and cultures are around the independence of an individual African be it a man or woman.
Sexuality and gender are increasingly getting infused in the African’s conversation and defined in their full context as a result of scientific illumination into human growth, existence, rights and development. Choice in matters of sexual intercourse, sexuality and gender are still strongly enforced and limited to man-male and woman-female roles.
The subject of involvement in conjugal activities is mostly led by the male spouse, it is expected to be enjoyed in that arrangement and any other form is ridiculed or discouraged through punishment. The mechanism of ridicule as opposed to dialogue is more enhanced in the mind of the African. A closer look into those who ridicule any form of divergent sexual practices shows those who are also led by intolerance or fear of unknown. To these divergent sexual practices include; celibacy and same sex sexual practices. To the other side of the tolerant and open minded the divergent sexual practices can be explained as a result of scientific discoveries and rights that are inalienable.
The typical African way allows arrangements such as those that give the male more leverage than that of the female. The arrangements have entrenched the subordination of females before males. They also tend to promote a majority-minority relation where the minority are subjects. It also questions any lack of child bearing, it upholds silent enjoyment of subjugation and respecting the elderly. Anything outside is un African. However, this is what also fuels some forms of abuses. Abuses in form of discrimination, stigma, inhuman acts towards the ridiculed and corrective measures that in the end cause more trauma.
The true picture of an Africa shows the belly that produced diversity in form of races, technologies, languages and beliefs. This design of history has remained a non acknowledged lesson by elders and the peer system of gate keepers bridging old culture and emerging culture. Whereas the old culture has accumulated practices and coached them in accepted lore. The emerging culture is disabled in composing similar lore that galvanizes society. This could be due to the fact that old is gold, trends today that are tied to survival and economics. Story telling requires a settled mind, prepared oration and listenership. This has been the old African way. The new way is reading; both privately or in public. In this way information is passed on without necessarily using an orator.
The trend that questions heterosexuality is an elephant in the typical African’s chinaware. Same sex sexuality is at the forefront of powerful diversity sweeps that will re-arrange and improve our understanding of sexuality and gender. Celibacy will be a powerful eye opener of possibility of the African’s ability to keep and control sex urges. This is also pushing the African’s frontier of self perception, virility or fertility. Self perception in light of the good in every one has been the basis of questioning discrimination, ridicule and stigma. Generational issues follow trends. That is the way of winds of change. Diversity is as much African as the rainbow crossing the African sky. Understanding diversity stems in living side by side with it. Homosexuality is part of that diversity. It is a minority characteristic that is fast holding ground. What is un African about it will be a failure to establish its enduring culture and norms.