The popular image of homosexuality in Africa is of overtly hostile opposition, as in Sudan (where it is a capital offence) or in Uganda, where some local politicians egged on by Western evangelists, are hoping to make it so.
Zimbabwe is another African country where the President, Robert Mugabe, uses popular homophobia to camouflage his own manifest failings as national leader, claiming that are “unAfrican”. The reality is that same sex relationships and transvestism were common and accepted right across Africa, until the colonial missionaries imported Western opposition. It is homophobia that is truly unAfrican. As the Ilga report on global LGBT equality shows, only eight countries have never criminalized homosexuality – all of them in Africa.
In the modern world, South Africa was the first country anywhere to include in its constitution protection from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Some South Africans, and Africans from elsewhere now resident in South Africa, offer important role models for the rest of the continent. the popular Zimbabwean / South African actor Frank Malaba is one good example.
From News Day:
Former Amakorokoza star Frank Malaba, well known as Dr Phumza by followers of the series might be a man President Robert Mugabe will never like to listen to talking.
Following a public revelation that he was gay, the South African actor-cum-radio personality opens up about marriage, his childhood as a gay student and his views on gay rights in an exclusive interview with NewsDay.
Malaba became the first Zimbabwean to declare that he loves other men.
Asked how his life has been after he opened up: “My life has been changed around for the better and I get inbox messages from young and old alike saying they respect my standing and who I am. I get young Zimbabweans, South Africans and on occasion Tanzanians and Kenyans asking for advice.