A culture is not so unique and different that it shares nothing with the world outside it. However, that it shares something with the others is no reason to universalise it over others – Collins Airhihenbuwa.
The perception of reality or the reaction of an individual to events stems from many factors. The holistic appreciation of one’s past and origin may give further insights into his actions. Africans though dispersed into countless civilisations have a unifying factor in how they understand reality; what scholars have called the African worldview. This mentality is certainly the trigger for the bashing of the continent for its unbending resistance to gay unions.
Usually when two different cultures confront each other, there is a shock. There is either a dilution (cultural imperialism) or diffusion (merger). The superior in this case does not necessarily mean that which has more interior wealth; rather it’s the civilisation of the ‘master’ who condescends to liberate the ‘servant’ from barbarity. It matters nothing if the identity of the servant is more superior in content, with the force of arms, threats of blackmail and the butt of intimidation, the master must submit the other to servitude.
Essentially the African worldview, explains core cultural values and themes, and the common African responses to the requirements of social life and external cultural influences. Life in community is emphasised, about doing it together. An individual’s identity is formed within the community. The proverb that it takes a community to raise a child, finds it deepest meaning in this context. Secondly the African perception of reality is populated by two groups; the living and the dead. This explains the continent’s love for life, for children and which might sound anachronistic to the West. Almost all civilisations in the continent believe in a Supreme deity. Although the apparent diversity of gods may negate this, nonetheless, there is always the entrenched creed of a mighty God, who leaves the daily intricacies of man to the lesser gods. Other characteristics are: the relationship amongst people (human relationships supersede other things), the emphasis on events and not time and lastly life is not lived in segments. In all these, the acceptance of same sex unions as a way of life can certainly not find an ally.
The Pew Research Centre’s Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted a public opinion surveys in 19 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Their findings are rather illuminating. Africans are highly religious (80%) more than the United States (57%), which is among the most religious of the advanced industrial countries. In addition, an overwhelming majority disapprove of homosexual relationships. On social issues, Christians and Muslims alike express very strong opposition to abortion, prostitution, suicide and homosexuality, with nine-in-ten or more in many countries calling these practices morally wrong.
Yet Uncle Sam, oblivious of the above, is leading the crusade to bend the ‘country’ of Africa into acceptance of gay unions. Lest this may sound like a conspiracy theory, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has made it top priority of America’s diplomacy in Africa. What is baffling is why the gay agenda has suddenly assumed the hype it now enjoys.
US seem to be losing out on all fronts. The economic recession is just only receding and in its wake has shown that the US and Europe’s grip on global economics was not infallible. As such their hard power is trying to brave extinction. Beijing on the other hand, gazumps Africa with “billion-dollar oil and banking deals while India’s plans are now on hold”. With a bald policy these Asians have practically griped the continent and are giving America a run for relevance.
On the other hand, the West knows that its commitment to democracy and freedom will ever remain appealing. This certainly dulls up whatever incursion that China will ever make into the continent. The Pew Research validates this claim; Africans want democracy to thrive, the clamour for fair elections has never soared so high. Obviously, the patently corrupt and inept oligarchies that dominate governments in the continent are not finding it funny. Armed by this conviction, the gay agenda has been inserted into the huge bundle of rights. As such, aids to the continent are precariously switched on and off to drive down this point.
Unfortunately, this high handedness on the gay drama smirks of hypocritical conquest of the mind. On both sides of the divide this plays out with African laws treating gays punitively and American purse strings is causing our leaders to act without thinking. The California Supreme Court outlawed gay unions in the very heart of liberal America. Asides the idealistic idolatry of mutual consent between two adults in expressing their sexuality is not universally accepted when polygamy is concerned. The Mormons are the butt of ridicule for their bigamist tendencies. Pray, what went wrong with Uncle Sam’s love for tolerance and religious liberty?
Or do same sex unions fall outside Mr Obama’s two speeches in Africa? In Cairo, he promised an engagement based on “mutual interest and mutual respect” and in Accra he vowed to “see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – as partners with America on behalf of the future that we want for all our children. That partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility…” (emphasis mine). Any consistency or is it Barack ‘the enigmatic’ Obama periled by trying to please everyone?
The global agenda of eliminating any form of discrimination against gays has flung open a vast sphere of public life to the totalitarian might of the state. Most Western governments now seek to regulate the policies of schools, the practice of businesses, private conviction of individuals and even the preaching and teachings of religious bodies. While Europe has succeeded in this dictatorship of intolerance and America is moving close to it, Africa will not succumb.
The ranting against African’s perceived rigidity to the true meaning of marriage as between a man and woman only can beep from now till eternity. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. We may be the last frontier of humanity, just as the first human being is said to have originated from Africa. And no matter the threats from Washington to London, Vancouver to Paris, Mama Africa will stand her grounds and resist this abomination.