Original Research

African same-sexualities and indigenous knowledge: Creating a space for dialogue within patriarchy

Lindiwe P. Mkasi
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 37, No 2 | a1576 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v37i2.1576 | © 2016 Lindiwe P. Mkasi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 January 2016 | Published: 08 July 2016

About the author(s)

Lindiwe P. Mkasi, Department Religious Studies and Arabic, University of South Africa, South Africa


Current debates on homosexuality claim to give voice to the voiceless but only target the youth whose concern for freedom and rights differ markedly from older, more traditional concerns. Recent debates on same-sexualities are framed in a modern discourse and leave no room for traditional epistemologies. This article argues that knowledge of same-sexualities in African communities requires a far more complex narrative that is inclusive of indigenous knowledge and culture and of the older generations that uphold them. South Africa has gone through many changes and there is a need for new knowledge to face new challenges that come with democracy. The assumption here is that some issues need attention in contemporary societies which have never been properly investigated. One such issue is African same-sexualities. Although there is a need to interrogate the issue of freedom of speech from Western theoretical impositions, same-sexuality research needs to be contextualised and analysed through the eyes of indigenous societies. This could be achieved by creating space for debates between traditional and modern communities.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article addresses African indigenous same-sexualities using indigenous ways of knowing to unpack the practice. The article suggests a different approach on African same-sex practice based on ancestral knowledge found in African traditional religion and in African culture. It will further demonstrate how this practice relates to issues of gender and religion in the South African context. It also disapproves Western discourse on African sexuality based on human rights approaches and transformation that ignore African cultural practice that affirm life.

Keywords: African Traditional religion; gender;same sexualities;Indigenous knowlegde


African Traditional religion; gender;same sexualities;Indigenous knowlegde


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Crossref Citations

1. Ancestors, embodiment and sexual desire
Adriaan Van Klinken, Kwame Edwin Otu
Body and Religion  vol: 1  issue: 1  first page: 70  year: 2017  
doi: 10.1558/bar.33129