Why African Witches bewitching LGBT?
Even Voodoo Refuses to Work
The intersection between African traditional religion and the gay lifestyle is a complicated one. Although few of the traditional Africa mythologies specifically talk about homosexuality, it is nothing more than an omission of ignorance. It is certainly not a deliberate embrace of the gay lifestyle (or gay community) or even an otherwise thoughtful compromise of silence. I am certain that had African traditional religion understood or experienced homosexuality earlier on, its theological position would have been a lot more rigid than it is today. I would propose that African traditional religion is one of the most tolerant faith paradigms for LGBTIQ people, only second to atheism and agnosticism.
More recently African traditional religion has been co-opted into the homophobic strictures of dictatorial governments on the continent. Even then; the arguments against homosexuality are not rooted in strong theological dogma or logical reasoning. They are merely an amalgamation of Christian-Islamic fundamentalist world views that reference African traditional religion, only as far as it will support their own entrenched positions.
In terms of justifying illogical arguments against gay people’s rights, procreation has emerged as the least appalling rationale. Basically, African traditional religions are in agreement with the Judeo-Christian tradition that the world must procreate as extensively as possible. It is only recently that climate change, over-population, food shortages and unemployment have forced religious adherents to consider that excessive procreation is not ideal. Gays perplex because they do not procreate “naturally” but undoubtedly have sex. Therefore; their sexuality is seen as being a decadent and pointless indulgence in pleasure for its own sake.
Sex is for Acceptable Fun and Maybe, Making Babies
Contrary to the stereotype of African religious adherents, they are rarely prudes. Indeed; it would appear that traditional Africans enjoyed sex and even talking about it. Ritual sex was not uncommon. For example; there is a tribe in Uganda which celebrates the birth of twins by engaging in egregious eroticism including uttering rampant obscenities and sexual fantasies. The difference is that this sexuality is almost always heterosexual. The innocence/naivety is so profound that men will walk holding hands with other men and yet claim that they do not support homosexuality in any form.
Sex in African traditional society also incorporated an element of procreation, preferably within a traditional marriage. Fertility was highly valued. To the traditionalists, the idea of having sex with no possibility of ever having children might have seemed strange. The actual modalities of gay sex would challenge traditional practices of sexual intercourse in terms of positions and the use of sex organs. It is all too fuzzy and uncomfortable. A much safer option for the traditionalists is to condemn homosexuality as being alien, foreign and ultimately harmful to society.
In reality homosexuality is as old as African society itself. There are subtle hints that are now uttered in hushed tones. Stories of chiefs, kings and spiritual leaders who regularly took on young “comfort boys”. In others it is the ultimate show of respect to submit to another man. Then there are women who are manly in their tastes and proclivities. The lack of concrete literature and scientific anthropology means that a lot of current thinking on African traditional religion is based on supposition and personal prejudices. The pulsating sexuality of traditional African society is now masked by the shrill voices of the new Pentecostal converts; whose homophobia is so extreme that it unnerves even the most conservative African traditionalists.
African Witches Bewitching LGBT Away
African witches bewitching lgbt away, There have been some furtive attempts at gay conversion therapy. Most of these attempts narrowly focus on controlling the libido as opposed to understanding why gay people prefer to sleep with people of the same sex. The impression that one is left with is that of a cultural construct that has someone lost its way amidst a sea of change. The African traditionalist healers have neither explanation nor cure for gay people. Therefore, they fumble into ad hoc solutions that are primarily based on instinct and a general reading of where the majority is in terms of dealing with sexual minorities.
As a consequence, it must also be noted that African traditional healers have been less harmful to gay people than any of the other organized religions. For example, they have not openly advocated for beheadings or even life imprisonment. Likewise, they rarely call for the permanent exclusion of the LGBTIQ community. Instead they offer remedial therapies such as herbal medicine for increasing the heterosexual libido. We already know that this is a load of nonsense that has not even the tiniest chance of ever succeeding. However, such nonsensical solutions are not anywhere as harmful as gay conversion therapy.
They seek to bring back into society that which has been deemed to have been lost. So far there has never been a substantiated claim that an African traditional healer has successfully “cured” a gay person from their “affliction”. Indeed, it is rarely expected that they will be cured. Instead the traditional healer experiments with a range of spiritual-herbal remedies in the hope that one of them will hit the jackpot. It is a relatively harmless game of make-believe; certainly not the wholesale oppression of LGBTIQ people that is openly advocated for by Pentecostal converts in sub-Saharan Africa.
Finding a Place for Gay People in Africa
This seems like a tall order at the moment, not least because the headlines are dominated by the shrill voices of religious fundamentalists who hide behind supposed traditional African values in order to justify their hateful behavior. At the same time; we should never fall into the temptation of over stating the case. Africa is generally a homophobic place that is horrible for LGBTIQ people to live in. However, it is not anywhere as horrible as the Western media likes to portray. People are not running in the streets hunting for gays and stoning them to death. That sometimes happens in parts of the Middle East; but not in Africa.
The poverty is so biting and prevalent, that somehow the sleeping arrangements of some people seem of secondary importance. In any case the African dictators are so frightened about the mythical power of the “gay lobby” that they are unlikely to do something truly horrifying. I would also hazard a guess that the ambivalence of the African traditional religious paradigm means that there will eventually be a place for gay people in Africa. It seems highly unlikely at the moment; but there are already early indicators that the antigay fervor is dying down.
In any case Africa does not have a history of systematically exterminating minorities, even when inter and intra tribal conflicts are taken into account. The problem with homosexuality was that it was presented in such new and radical terms that many otherwise reasonable people felt that it was their civic duty to fight it with all they have. As for the Voodoo priests, they have had to contend with the fact that their black magic does nothing for the gays. They are quite simply unable to bewitch the gay away.
Models for Supposedly Civilized Western Society
There is a tongue in cheek element to a discussion of voodoo science and homosexuality. Western medicine once purported to have the cure for homosexuality. We have all heard about the cruel electric shock treatment programs. History proved them wrong. Later on, those in academia and policy circles reluctantly accepted that sexuality was innate and not learned behavior. That has been the backdrop to the piecemeal legislation that has taken place in much of Western Europe, North America and even South America to extend some basic human rights to LGBTIQ people. In Africa the story is very different.
Whereas it is highly unlikely that many sub-Saharan countries will legislate to fully embrace gay marriage and the other attributes of social include; it is also unlikely that they will continue to harass people because of their sexuality. For a start; it does not feature very highly on the priority list for countries that are always on the verge of total collapse. Secondly the traditional African religion has been shown to be a lot more sexually liberated than the Pentecostal fanatics that found fertile ground in the poverty-stricken slums of Africa. Ultimately there may come a time when it is fully accepted that sex is not restricted to the boundaries of marriage and for the sole purpose of procreation.
Would You Visit an African Witch to Cure you of the Gay?
Would you visit an african witch bewitching lgbt away? In all probability the erstwhile African witches are not about to find a new customer base from recovering African homosexuals. The non-African homosexuals are also likewise to find something comical about visiting a witchdoctor to cure them. It is nonetheless an interesting dynamic that might inform the debate about gay rights in the future. The underlying issue is that religious adherence is not necessarily incompatible with social inclusiveness. That holds true even when the issue at hand is as controversial as homosexuality in sub-Saharan Africa.
Those who consider themselves civilized might sneer at the notion of a healing African witch doctor, but we already know that treatment is not merely a matter of faithfully consuming the tenets of Western clinical medicine. Instead it is an all-encompassing mixture of the physical, emotional, psychological can social management of stress. LGBTIQ people born and living in sub-Saharan Africa still face a tough crowd. However, the voodoo experts may yet provide them with an outlet for acceptance based on the flexibility of African traditional religion.