By Hoad N.W.
There were few book-length engagements with the query of sexuality in Africa, not to mention African homosexuality. African Intimacies at the same time responds to the general public debate at the “Africanness” of homosexuality and interrogates the meaningfulness of the phrases “sexuality” and “homosexuality” outdoors Euro-American discourse. Speculating on cultural practices interpreted through missionaries as sodomy and resistance to colonialism, Neville Hoad starts through studying the 1886 Bugandan martyrs incident—the execution of thirty males within the royal courtroom. Then, in a sequence of shut readings, he addresses questions of race, intercourse, and globalization within the 1965 Wole Soyinka novel The Interpreters, examines the emblematic 1998 Lambeth convention of Anglican bishops, considers the imperial legacy in depictions of the HIV/AIDS concern, and divulges how South African author Phaswane Mpe’s modern novel Welcome to Our Hillbrow problematizes notions of African identification and cosmopolitanism. Hoad’s evaluate of the historic valence of homosexuality in Africa indicates how the class has served a key position in a bigger tale, one within which sexuality has been made in response to a imaginative and prescient of white Western fact, restricting an knowing of intimacy which may think an African universalism. Neville Hoad is assistant professor of English on the college of Texas, Austin.
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Additional resources for African Intimacies: Race, Homosexuality, and Globalization
27 Although the executions can be seen as politically generative, the acts that lead up to them cannot. In addition, the possibility exists of connections between the Mwanga episode in 1885–86 and the Wilde scandal ten years later. While I have not found any pictures or drawings of Mwanga in the British press, it is reasonable to speculate on how his physical appearance may have been imagined. Blind to its own highly elaborate ornamentation, middle-class British masculinity would probably imagine the costume of the kabaka—a leopard skin cloak, ostrich feather plumes, and naked chest28—as both hypervirilized (connotating despotism, hunting prowess, and naked animal strength) and paradoxically feminine in the perceived elaborateness of the display.
The novel’s careful staging of its representational work (conscienceraising, rather than consciousness-raising), sugar-coated by the seductions of narrative suspense, may allow its readers to begin ethical work that in turn may become political. However, the limits of the novel’s political vision, and perhaps the vision of any novel, become clearer in the narrative’s failure, or refusal, or constitutive inability to imagine a collective resistance to the forces of globalized capital, symbolized by the ruthless pharmaceuticals, which are also embodied in the figure of Lorbeer.
8 AFRICAN SODOMY IN THE MISSIONARY POSITION 3 In the interest of a cautious and self-conscious nativism, I attempt to imagine accounts from perspectives that are not represented in the sources and are difficult to adduce from them even by carefully reading against the grain of the missionary and colonial administrative accounts. For example, what might renegade converts have written about their king’s propensity to sodomize (if this is actually what he did) youths at court? How might those who converted to Christianity (either in its Protestant or Roman Catholic guise, thus acquiring literacy and some proficiency in English or French) but then lapsed and fought on the side of the king in the expulsion of the missions recount events?
African Intimacies: Race, Homosexuality, and Globalization by Hoad N.W.