Few persons are as passionately committed to the human dignity, equality and human rights of sexual and gender minorities in Africa than Rev. Kapya Kaoma. As a Visiting Research at Boston University’s Center for Global Christianity in Mission and an Adjunct Professor at St. John’s University in Zambia, Rev. Kaoma’s research and writing peel away the layers of colonialism, the influence of missionaries, imperialism and globalization to discover the indigenous expressions of gender and sexuality in Africa.
We are grateful to share this new article by Kaoma from the special issue “Sexuality in Africa” of the Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This special issue was published in July, 2016 and had its world premiere at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa.
2.8 billion people live in countries that criminalize same-sex relationships. This reality raises many important questions. How can this be in light of human dignity and human rights for all persons? How can this be in democratic countries claiming the equality of citizens and the responsibility of majorities to protect minorities? For persons of faith who believe in a God who creates and loves all persons, how can we not speak out as sexual minorities are placed in harm’s way by these laws?
“We need to honor our traditional values and our culture,” and “We must oppose homosexuality because it is a Western influence” are the common arguments for maintaining or strengthening anti-homosexuality laws in many of the 76 countries where homosexuality is criminalized. Nothing could be further from the truth when one looks closely at their own indigenous cultures and the influence of colonial history.
Same-sex love is, and has been, a part of human life and history in all cultures across time. While some may describe homosexuality or same-sex love as a Western creation or a modern phenomenon, the witness of ancient art, literature, culture and history tells us the truth and the stories of the variety of human sexualities and relationships. Read more