Mhambi has been redeployed.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Polygamous Lesbians - the African way?

Can you be Gay and African? Is cultural identity or sexuality something you are born with or something you learn?

The wedding invitation.

The BBC reports a facinating case of Aunty Maiduguri. A Nigerian lesbian who married four women last weekend in Kano State. Like in much of Africa Lesbianism is illegal under Nigeria's national penal code. Although not illegal in South Africa, South African lesbians have been known to be subjected to so-called corrective rape. Rape that is supposed to cure to errant women of lesbianism.

Even mainstream commentators like Sehlare Makgetlaneng, head of the southern Africa desk at the Africa Institute of South Africa, a Pretoria-based think-tank claimed that being gay is not African.

But Aunty Maiduguri did something which is claimed to be un-African in a way which is also at times claimed to be very African, namely polygamy. In the process she has not only provided further evidence that Africans are often gay, but also posed some interesting questions.

Must her polygamy trouble the feminists or those that strive for equal rights for women? If her lesbianism is natural and not culturally specific, what is her polygamy? Is their anything specific to lesbian sexuality that makes polygamy attractive or has she learnt polygamy from African custom?

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