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.

chapter |16 pages


Public religion, homophobia and the politics of homosexuality in Africa

part I|94 pages

The politicisation of homosexuality

chapter 1|16 pages

‘For god and for my country’

Pentecostal-Charismatic churches and the framing of a new political discourse in Uganda

chapter 3|14 pages

Discourses on homosexuality in Egypt

When religion and the state cooperate

chapter 4|15 pages

‘We will chop their heads off’

Homosexuality versus religio-political grandstanding in Zimbabwe

chapter 5|14 pages

‘Un-natural’, ‘un-African’ and ‘un-Islamic’

The three pronged onslaught undermining homosexual freedom in Kenya

chapter 6|19 pages

Côte d'Ivoire and the new homophobia

The autochthonous ethic and the spirit of neoliberalism

part II|100 pages

Global and local mobilisations

chapter 7|17 pages

An African or un-African sexual identity?

Religion, globalisation and sexual politics in sub-Saharan Africa

chapter 8|16 pages

The extraversion of homophobia

Global politics and sexuality in Uganda

chapter 9|17 pages

Religious inspiration

Indigenous mobilisation against LGBTI rights in post-conflict Liberia

chapter 10|17 pages

Islamic movements against homosexuality in Senegal

The fight against AIDS as catalyst

chapter 12|14 pages

Narratives of ‘saints’ and ‘sinners’ in Uganda

Contemporary (re)presentations of the 1886 story of Mwanga and Ganda ‘martyrs'

part III|62 pages

Contestation, subversion and resistance

chapter 13|16 pages

Critique and alternative imaginations

Homosexuality and religion in contemporary Zimbabwean literature

chapter 14|14 pages

Christianity, human rights and LGBTI advocacy

The case of Dette Resources Foundation in Zambia

chapter 15|17 pages

‘I was on fire’

The challenge of counter-intimacies within Zimbabwean Christianity