Journal of Theology for Southern Africa: Special Issue on Sexuality in Africa
In July 2016, the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s highly reputable and peer-reviewed academic Journal of Theology in Southern Africa (JTSA) published its special issue on Sexuality in Africa edited by PRA senior researcher, Dr. Kapya Kaoma and Dr. Michael Adee of the Global Equality Project. The issue covers various sexual rights issues—from lived experiences of sexual minorities to reproductive health and sexual rights to HIV/AIDS to traditional African sexual education to the influence of the US Right in African politics. All authors but one self-identify as practicing Christians –Anglican, Catholic, Evangelical, and Pentecostal.
The Journal project follows PRA’s 2009 groundbreaking report—Globalizing the Culture Wars. Aside from tracing the genesis of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays Bill” to the U.S., the report warned that “U.S. scholars and activists are not the ones to lead the struggle for LGBT rights in Africa.” Western involvement in African sexual politics, the report argued, “only inflames more bigotry against LGBT persons. The study of sexuality in Africa, by Africans for Africans could help correct misconceptions about homosexuality, including the notion that it is a western import. It would also help in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.”
In 2012, PRA published its second report, Colonizing African Values. In 2014, Dr. Kaoma’s American Culture Warriors in Africa was published. These publications amplified the plight of sexual minorities and women in Africa amidst the growing U.S. Christian Right influence and invited U.S. citizens to hold the U.S. Christian Right accountable for exporting culture wars to Africa. But PRA has also provided support to African scholars to develop contextual relevant scholarship through academic consultations on human sexuality.
During the first African Scholar’s Consultation in August 2014, African scholars released The KwaZulu-Natal Declaration on August 31, 2014, which called on all African scholars and academic institutions:
- To take full responsibility to reflect and produce credible scholarship on human sexuality,
- To conduct research that gives momentum to African local institutions, the Church, and indigenous knowledge and practices to further the understanding of human sexuality,
- To incorporate issues regarding human sexuality in the development of knowledge,
- To guide the public in understanding sexual diversity.
In line with the declaration, African scholars committed to produce a volume on human sexuality. Dedicated to all fallen sexual minorities on the continent, the publication of the “Sexuality in Africa” special issue coincided with the July 2016 second African scholars’ Consultation, and the July 2016 international UNAIDS Conference. “We are receiving many positive responses to the volume. Thanks for your work on this,” Professor Gerald West, the general editor of the Journal wrote about the special issue. Against the U.S. Christian Right’s claim that sexual rights and comprehensive sexuality education are foreign to the continent, scholars argue otherwise. Aside from exploring sexuality from African traditions and the bible, scholars address the growing influence of the U.S. Christian Right groups in African sexual politics. Introducing the issue, Dr. Kaoma writes, “The history of Africa is the story of ubuntu, solidarity, life-giving dialogue and hope. But it is also a story of rejection; discrimination and hate-killings” This special issue is another way we can fight and discredit the U.S. Christian Right bigotry on the continent.
Dr. Kapya Kaoma also contributed articles to the journal including:
- “Unmasking the Colonial Silence: Sexuality in Africa in the Post-Colonial Context”
- “The Good Samaritan and Sexual Minorities in Africa: Christianity, the U.S. Right, and the Dialogical Ethics of Ubuntu”