Homosexuality in African schools
All African cultures forbid homosexuality as far as am conceder as can be seen in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible or even on the people of the Prophet Luth according to the Koran.According to a recent study, however, homosexuality can be found even in learning institutions in Africa.Homosexual activities are occurring between male students at the boarding schools across the continent and despite the continent living in denial, those subscribing to that type of sexuality is doubling every year.In Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, it happens between senior students and junior students. The leaders of the schools know about the practice, but they ignore it.Even parents of the said teenagers are living in denial. Another common sex practice is boarding schools us the penetration between the legs, instead of anal sex and is largely accepted as an “”emergency door”” for male students and in parts of Nigeria, the school administrators have decided to allow the practice among students and was tolerated, especially among students who had reached marriageable age, but were still studying in the boarding schools.The big questions is: Will Africa, as a continent that abhors homosexuality, be able to advance its knowledge, skills and intellectual capacity, while simultaneously preserving its values and being selective in absorbing “”western”” values as homosexuality is always described in Africa?What is the role of education here?Hold your breath! The study unveiled that only 2 percent of respondents learned about sexuality from schools, while majority learned from friends and pornographic materials widely available online and in the streets.This fact shows that there is a pressing need to include sex education in school curriculums to minimise the risks of irresponsible sexual activities and to counter the misguided information the students receive from other sources.
Unfortunately, efforts to include sex education at schools seem to have always hit the wall as a conservative way of thinking still lingers in Africans conscience. Interestingly, not only in Africa, developed countries are also encountering similar obstacles. There are four influential ideologies that have shaped the thinking of sex education all over the world including Africa and that includes progressive, traditionalist, radical Freudian and libertarian ideologies. The traditionalists strictly separate mind from body and the mind is to preserve the holiness, while the body tends to corrupt. It subscribes to traditional Christian teachings that curse adultery, sodomy and homosexuality. Progressives claim to be modern, although still refer to traditional ideologies and subscribe to less reproachful and more healing approaches. On the other hand. radical Freudian ideologists believes that sexuality had to become less repressed and more egalitarian, in which homosexuality is somewhat understood. Libertarian (ContadorHarrison is one of them) ideology rejects a narrow view that understands sexuality primarily in terms of ‘normality’ and champions for individual sexual rights.While many would hope that Africa would not embrace the last two ideologies, the combination of the first two somehow reflects the competing forces in Africans thinking of sexuality. Already it is clearly seen how religious and cultural values have penetrated into all spheres of our life.The study proves beyond reasonable doubt that homosexuality was a reality in African society, including in learning and religious institutions, although many continues to deny it.It found a former student of a preacher is now living with HIV/AIDS after his homosexuality activities in Kenya’s city of Mombasa and Tanga in Tanzania and is now under treatment.
His parents who are preachers in a local church in Mombasa Kenya have isolated him and branded him a devil that will be defeated by holy spirit. Despite the efforts by several African governments to have counseling teams prepare methods for increasing awareness of HIV/AIDS for men who have sex with men, including holding information campaigns, Lesbian and Gay community whether young or old live in fear and are seen as rotten eggs of the society.Gang rape cases are on the increase across the continent.The awareness of the need of safe sex in schools was important because the number of teenagers who are having sex with men was large and was not only gays and transvestites but also bisexuals. Besides injectable drug users,gays and lesbian teenagers in schools are also prone to HIV/AIDS. These children could be gays, transvestites, or even husbands.Homosexuality is also found in African traditional cultures, tradition where some transvestites become leaders of traditional rituals who have power to inaugurate traditional kings like the Bukusu King among the Bukusu community in north west Kenya.The transvestite in Swaziland and Namibia are considered a representative of God who is believed to be genderless and to this date maintains their spiritual and physical power by having sexual relations with young men.Now we can all see how modern ideology is also competing to influence the way Africans perceive sexuality, such as the much-debated safe sex campaigns in the media. Sex education is unfortunately something that is inevitable.But how do African countries pursue sex education? Certainly, a scientific explanation of biological aspects of human sexuality and reproduction can serve as an effective foundation, as biology is taught at all secondary schools in Africa.However, in a continent where religiosity has deep roots, this is not enough.
Moralists who always live in denial believes that appreciation of religious values should be imparted to make African students aware of how great oracles is in creating their marvelous system of reproduction and most them especially Catholic church leaders argue that sex education should be a single isolated subject.Foolishly, some say inserting sexuality in pertinent subjects could be more profoundly affecting.I subscribe to experts who have long argued that the younger the better for students. During my elementary school level,I vividly recall how a simple picture of a pregnant mother was useful to explain about where “”we are all from””. At higher levels like secondary schools where teenager’s hormones are pumping at super sonic speed, issues of homosexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, abortion, teenage pregnancy and single parents should be discussed and the social consequences and wide-ranging perspectives can be explored in a candid manner.To African students, for example, a basic understanding regarding the relationship between husband and wife and its sexually related issues need to be introduced.These issues need to be thoroughly debated by educators in Africa and scholars of all faiths across the continent including rape. Nevertheless, getting a common understanding might be problematic unless all parties “”take off their shirts”” and faithfully make the interests of school going generation the top priority.Therefore, the political will of African government is still needed to facilitate the push toward sex education in formal education, as well as the collective will of civil society to urge the media to touch on homosexuality in a more educational way.The harder Africans suppress homosexuality, the more eager youngsters in schools are to explore the sexuality in their own way.Unless African countries candidly embrace their curiosity in a pedagogically responsible manner, the continent’s youngsters may depart from African values and subscribe to their own “”wild”” interpretation of sexuality including homosexuality.