Public Religion and the Politics of Homosexuality in Africa: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Public Religion and the Politics of Homosexuality in Africa

1st Edition

Edited by Adriaan van Klinken, Ezra Chitando


278 pages

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Hardback: 9781472445513
pub: 2016-04-28
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Issues of same-sex relationships and gay and lesbian rights are the subject of public and political controversy in many African societies today. Frequently, these controversies receive widespread attention both locally and globally, such as with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. In the international media, these cases tend to be presented as revealing a deeply-rooted homophobia in Africa fuelled by religious and cultural traditions. But so far little energy is expended in understanding these controversies in all their complexity and the critical role religion plays in them. This is the first book with multidisciplinary perspectives on religion and homosexuality in Africa. It presents case studies from across the continent, from Egypt to Zimbabwe and from Senegal to Kenya, and covers religious traditions such as Islam, Christianity and Rastafarianism. The contributors explore the role of religion in the politicisation of homosexuality, investigate local and global mobilisations of power, critically examine dominant religious discourses, and highlight the emergence of counter-discourses. Hence they reveal the crucial yet ambivalent public role of religion in matters of sexuality, social justice and human rights in contemporary Africa.


"This volume succeeds in exposing the politics of religion in Africa. It is an invaluable resource for those seeking to construct an alternative, counter hegemonic narrative about African sexualities—one that resets the logic of its 'common sense' for transformative scholarship."Sylvia Tamale, Makerere University, Uganda

"This timely, scholarly, wide-ranging and deeply empathetic collection, forcefully challenges a range of hurtful stereotypes including: the supposed non-existence of homosexuality in African traditional cultures, the notion that African religions are uniformly intolerant toward sexual diversity, and the un-truth that African intellectuals are not particularly concerned about the oppression of sexual minorities. The wealth of evidence and astute analysis presented here, reveals complex factors underlying the apparent rise of religious and political homophobia in much of Africa in recent decades."Marc Epprecht, Queen's University, Canada

Table of Contents

Introduction: Public Religion, Homophobia and the Politics of Homosexuality in Africa Adriaan van Klinken and Ezra Chitando I The Politicisation of Homosexuality 1. ‘For God and For My Country’: Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches and the Framing of a New Political Discourse in Uganda Barbara Bompani 2. Uniting a Divided Nation? Nigerian Muslim and Christian Responses to the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act Danoye Oguntola-Laguda and Adriaan van Klinken 3. Discourses on Homosexuality in Egypt: When Religion and the State Cooperate Serena Tolino 4. ‘We Will Chop Their heads Off’: Homosexuality versus Religio-political Grandstanding in Zimbabwe Molly Manyonganise 5. ‘Un-natural, ‘un-African’ and ‘un-Islamic’: The Three Pronged Onslaught Undermining Homosexual Freedom in Kenya Hassan J. Ndzovu 6. Côte d’Ivoire and the New Homophobia: The Autochthonous Ethic and the Spirit of Neo-Liberalism Joseph Hellweg II Global and Local Mobilisations 7. An African or Un-African Sexual Identity? Religion, Globalisation and Sexual Politics in sub-Saharan Africa Kapya Kaoma 8. The Extraversion of Homophobia: Global Politics and Sexuality in Uganda Jia Hui Lee 9. Religious Inspiration: Indigenous Mobilisation against LGBTI Rights in Post-conflict Liberia Ashley Currier and Joëlle M. Cruz 10. Islamic Movements against Homosexuality in Senegal: The Fight against AIDS as Catalyst Christophe Broqua 11. One Love or Chanting Down Same-Sex Relations? Queering Zimbabwean Rastafari Perspectives on Homosexuality Fortune Sibanda 12. Narratives of ‘Saints’ and ‘Sinners’ in Uganda: Contemporary (Re)presentations of the 1886 Story of ‘Queer’ Mwanga and Ganda ‘Martyrs’ Prince Karakire Guma III Contestation, Subversion and Resistance 13. Critique and Alternative Imaginations: Homosexuality and Religion in Contemporary Zimbabwean Literature Pauline Mateveke 14. Christianity, Human Rights and LGBTI Advocacy: The Case of Dette Resources Foundation in Zambia Adriaan van Klinken 15. ‘I Was On Fire’: The Challenge of Counter-intimacies within Zimbabwean Christianity Nathanael Homewood 16. Critical Realism and LGBTIQ Rights in Africa Richard McCarty and Jay Breneman Appendix: African LGBTI Manifesto

About the Editors

Adriaan van Klinken is Associate Professor of Religion and African Studies in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science at the University of Leeds (UK). His research focuses on issues of gender, sexuality and public life in contemporary Christianity in Africa. In addition to various articles in academic journals, in 2013 he published the book Transforming Masculinities in African Christianity: Gender Controversies in Times of AIDS (Ashgate).

Ezra Chitando is Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, Classics and Philosophy at the University of Zimbabwe. He also serves as theological consultant for the Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa (EHAIA) of the World Council of Churches. He has widely published on religion in Africa, in recent years

About the Series

Religion in Modern Africa

Religion in Modern Africa publishes innovative research relevant to the diverse and changing religious situation in contemporary Africa. One of the principal aims of the series is to facilitate the dissemination of research by young African scholars. Religion in Modern Africa includes books from a range of disciplines: the academic study of religions, anthropology, sociology and related disciplines in the human and social sciences.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Theology
RELIGION / Sexuality & Gender Studies