What Missionaries Imported to Africa
I have lived all my life in Africa, Uganda to be specific, but I must say, on many occasions I travel to other parts of Africa, I travel to Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. I find that the citizens of these countries are warm, welcoming and friendly in most scenarios, until the moment when they detect your GLBT rights stand and approval. It becomes even worse when you are atheist. Usually atheists are not targeted in the mainstream yet I have been pushed into the wall and doors shut on me, for no particular reason but being atheist. I approve GLBT rights and am willing to walk an extra mile for them. I envision an African continent getting back to its roots of loving everybody, its roots of protecting your neighbour.
This is our African way that missionaries have taken away from us. Sometimes people in developed countries do not really understand this, but let me say it loud and clear, homosexuality has always been part of our societies, and it wasn’t a big deal until when these religious fanatics started pushing their noses in our continent. Homosexuality is not new in Uganda and on the African continent. Like everywhere, it has existed forever. Homophobia, however, is new. It didn’t start in Africa. It was strategically imported from the US and Europe. The goal of the missionaries, who carried this disease with them, was to have homophobia spread. They have been more successful in Africa than they have been anywhere else. It is now lethal.
The real import to Africa was not homosexuality but homophobia. You understand the importance of combating and preventing the spread of diseases like Ebola from the African continent to yours. You come to our continent to enlist our help in doing so. I’m here to enlist your help to combat and prevent the further spread of the disease of homophobia from your continent to ours.
To understand this problem, you need to speak to Africans in the USA. During my previous visits to the US, I met two Africans: one from Uganda and another from Eritrea, another failing state on this planet. Out of curiosity, I asked this Ugandan who now married an American man, what are her views on GLBT people, she spat down to prove how distasteful it is even to think of them as human beings before she jumped on their usual song of that’s not “African”. I keep on wondering, when do we determine that this is not African and this is?
Now to get back to the man from Eritrea, we were on the metro and we both smiled and talked warmly. We had some disagreements on whether he will go back to Africa or not, he has been in the US since 1996.He affirmed that he will never ever go back to Africa, he will die here. I asked him if he misses Africa, he said no, I asked him if he had a wife, kids be it in Africa or in here in the USA, in his affirmation, he replied no. Well we jumped on the metro. Like all men in Africa, we find it easy to hug and pat each other’s backs with no worry, now this is not possible in Africa anymore because people would suspect that you are gay, hence attracting mob justice. I extend my arms to the shoulders of the Eritriean to assure him that Africa will get better and that we shouldn’t stay for life in the US since Africa needs us more than the US does. Before I even explained to him what I think, he pushed my arms away and explained to me that US is fucked up and that if people on metro see us, they will suspect us to be homosexuals, I told him to get serious because I really don’t care how people on the metro feel. I assured him that we do this in Africa all the time, he said its ok in Africa, which is now too dangerous for GLBT people but he felt it was un-OK in the US?
He went on to tell me that now he is being Americanised, what does that mean or reflect? Do people in the US approve equality in law while in the public eye they continue being homophobic? I didn’t question him much on what he meant, but in his tone I observed the influence of Orthodox Tewahedo. I cannot imagine how these religious fanatics have destroyed with impunity all our African hospitality and warmth, from Capetown, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt, from Mombasa, Kenya to Accra, Ghana.
Oh how I wish atheists could come in and fill the vacuum, but indicators from Uganda and Kenya show that atheists are the next target of state-sponsored hatred. We must be prepared for the outcomes especially when the most hated group of our society join forces with their enemy to persecute atheists.
About the Author
In 2009, Mpagi founded the Atheist Association of Uganda, an organization created to challenge religious superstition and prejudice, promote the scientific method, and uphold the constitutional separation of church and state in Ugandan society. In September 2015, he started SERHA (Stop Exportation of Religious Homophobia to Africa). He is openly atheist but NOT anti-theists.