South 2 North

'Making love a crime'

A recent study reveals that 38 countries in Africa have laws criminalising consensual same-sex conduct.

Last Modified: 06 Jul 2013 09:12
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No subject is off limits in the first ever global talk show hosted from Africa in which Redi Tlhabi talks frankly to inspiring and intriguing personalities from across the world.

This week on South2North Redi takes a look at unconventional love in Africa.

A recent study by Amnesty International called, Africa: Making Love a Crime, revealed that 38 countries in Africa alone have criminal sanctions against consensual same-sex conduct and that in the last decade violence against people perceived to be in same-sex unions has steadily increased. 

Widney Brown, who heads up Amnesty International’s Law and Policy Programme, explains that when groups come forward to demand rights there is often a violent backlash.

“What we’re seeing now is as people step forward and say, ‘I want to claim my rights, I want to have the equal protection of the law, I don’t want to hide who I am', that you often get a backlash. It’s not unique to this group of people. Anytime a group of people steps up and says ‘We’re claiming our rights, we’re demanding equality’, oftentimes the response is brutal,” says Brown.

Redi then speaks to Clare Byarugaba from the Ugandan Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law. She argues that the violence experienced in Uganda against homosexual people has been imported from Western evangelists who have influenced religious leaders and politicans.

“The common knowledge or propaganda that homosexuality is a Western import is completely wrong. It’s rather that homophobia is imported to Uganda for example. Because Ugandans are generally tolerant people, they have so many other issues to deal with,” explains Byarugaba.

South African MP Prince Patekile Holomisa also joins the conversation to discuss the views represented by the Congress of Traditional Leaders in South Africa. Redi asks him why traditional leaders are against homosexuality.

“Of course it is unconventional, it goes against the understood natural order of human behaviour, because it is expected it will be people of opposite sex who will have sexual relations with each other, because there is a purpose for sexual relations to build families, to have children,” says Holomisa.

Holomisa however does not deny that homosexuality is present in African culture. He says: “Homosexuality has always been there, but it has never been promoted. It’s promotion that seems to be something that comes from the West.” 


South2North can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1930; Saturday: 1430; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 0830.


Al Jazeera
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