By Hoad N.W.
There were few book-length engagements with the query of sexuality in Africa, not to mention African homosexuality. African Intimacies at the same time responds to the general public debate at the “Africanness” of homosexuality and interrogates the meaningfulness of the phrases “sexuality” and “homosexuality” open air Euro-American discourse. Speculating on cultural practices interpreted by way of missionaries as sodomy and resistance to colonialism, Neville Hoad starts through examining the 1886 Bugandan martyrs incident—the execution of thirty males within the royal court docket. Then, in a chain of shut readings, he addresses questions of race, intercourse, and globalization within the 1965 Wole Soyinka novel The Interpreters, examines the emblematic 1998 Lambeth convention of Anglican bishops, considers the imperial legacy in depictions of the HIV/AIDS trouble, and divulges how South African author Phaswane Mpe’s modern novel Welcome to Our Hillbrow problematizes notions of African identification and cosmopolitanism. Hoad’s review of the ancient valence of homosexuality in Africa exhibits how the class has served a key function in a bigger tale, one during which sexuality has been made in accordance with a imaginative and prescient of white Western fact, restricting an knowing of intimacy which may think an African universalism. Neville Hoad is assistant professor of English on the college of Texas, Austin.
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Additional info for African Intimacies: Race, Homosexuality, and Globalization
51 FRAME 4: “AFRICAN” “SODOMY” AS PRIMARY ANTICOLONIAL RESISTANCE Most accounts make it clear why the missionaries would target the pages at the royal court for their most strenuous conversion efforts. These pages were the “sons” of ruling families from all over the kingdom of Buganda. David Apter writes Mwanga was oppressed by an increasingly stifling pattern of control by the missionaries. In addition to giving advice, they now controlled the selection of pages to the court of the king (these pages made up the main group from which chiefs were selected).
Indeed, they may have served as a test of loyalty to Mwanga and to the institution of the kabaka. ’”56 Even if not a recodification of older practices, “unnatural vice” may have functioned as a spontaneous attempt to consolidate the threatened autocratic authority of the kabaka, a figure at the center of client patronage whose authority was so profoundly invested in his person that he could hardly be said to have had a “personal life” in a recognizably Western modern sense of the term. Kabakas “were Buganda, a corporal reflection of the country’s body politic.
I would also speculate that elements of displaced antisemitism, connected in a pre-Zionist era with the anti-Arab sentiments noted earlier, may be located in the missionary accounts of Mwanga. Within the long discursive life of European antisemitism, the first persecutors of Christians are not the Romans but the Jews. 50 The sexuality of the Jewish male body is equally a source of anxiety, with circumcision regarded as a quasi-sexual practice and an indication of racial difference. It has further been argued that the feminizing of the Jewish male body as a result of a number of social vectors (circumcision being only the most obvious marker) implicitly induces sets of homoerotic anxieties.