Sexuality Debate Overshadows Real Issues in Africa

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Very interesting

I have always believed Africans were pawns of the far right satrapy in these issues. It now appears some like the author here are recognizing this. The author has also confirmed what I've had considerable knowledge of, that being the practice of polygamy among families which have achieved a relative level of prosperity in Africa as well as certain other locations including those of immigrant communities. Barbara Kingsolver was certainly aware of this when in her novel "The Poisonwood Bible" the village chief rebuffed a missionary who was urging him to abandon the practice with this remark: "If I could not afford more than one wife, how could I possibly lead my people? They would think me too poor and not prosperous enough to be an acceptable leader." Of course, the issue goes much further than that, with the use of "wives" as capital and their fathers' obtaining "bride price" for them, the devaluation of girls and women, and so on.

The status of women is inexorably connected to overall economic status and perception of one's personal status. When it improves, everybody gains.

Whenever the practice of polygamy in Africa is discussed with right-wing Christians, their reaction is one of anger, not at the polygamists but at those who mention it, while they have excused it with a nudge-nudge-wink-wink in exchange for votes at General Assembly.

Indeed, polygamy is kind of the "elephant in the room" of the world that respectable Westerners avoid except in their frequent forays into the theme song of Cole Porter's 1934 musical "Anything Goes" which lampooned changing mores, where it's predicted as part of the "slippery slope" ignoring the fact that having to be able to only put up with 1/4 of an abusive husband while his three other wives put up with him the other 3/4 of the time is not a bad deal for women.

Nyarota's candor here is refreshing. He has pointed out the elephant in the room, and we are better for it.

My hope has always been that as Africans are appreciated for what they are rather than what we wish they are, their willingness to accept the humanity of their LGBT Brothers and Sisters will emerge.

George Nixon Shuler more than 3 years ago

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