Members of the LGBTQI Community in Ghana
It is June again and that means here in Hong Kong it is Pride month. Whenever this month rolls around we brace ourselves for the conversations that are going to be had within our communities, and in specific the African community. The argument that often heard when on this topic is that pride/ queerness/ homosexuality/ etc is ‘not African’.
We would like to think of this within a specific African context, that of Zimbabwe. Records of court cases pertaining to homosexual acts in Zimbabwe suggest a high level of tolerance towards homosexual acts as long as these acts were carried out in private. This deviates from the idea of openly expressing homosexuality as is advocated for by many of the LGBTQI communities today. Hence, though same sex sexual relations have always existed in Zimbabwean communities, the concept of an openly queer identity has not necessarily had the same prevalence (Epprecht, 2005). For the Shona and the Ndebele ethnic groups, who make up the majority of the Zimbabwean population marriage was traditionally used as a form of social stability (Chemhuru, 2012). The producing of children was valued as a form of wealth and to extend the lineage. In line with this, many examples of homosexuality in pre-colonial and colonial Zimbabwe involved subjects who still adhered to traditional notions of marriage despite them practicing homosexual sex (Epprecht, 1998).