Sunday, April 9, 2023

America's Cultural Wars: Frontline Africa


America’s Cultural Wars.

Poor gay Ugandans, we are victims, collateral damage, in an ideological war that we know very little about. That war explains quite a bit of the homophobia current in the country Uganda, and on the continent, Africa.

American Cultural Wars.
I don’t remember when I first heard the term. I am no expert on what precisely it means, and never having lived on that continent, I can only surmise from being a conspicuous consumer of information.

I know on one side are proselytizing ideologues. The ideas that concern them above everything else are: being anti-abortion, being anti-LGBTQ+, and anti-contraception. Am probably missing other identifying characteristics. Outside the US, their watch words are ‘traditional’, ‘family’, ‘sovereignty’, possibly more.

On the other, so called progressives; asserting a woman’s right to decisions about her body, and affirmation for LGBTQ+ individuals. Anything else?

Major battleground is America. But, the world is huge. And the whole world is rich and ripe for ideologues of any shape and shade.

The African Frontline, of the American cultural wars.
An apt, very apt summary of what is apparent.
In the US, Kuchus are kuchus, as they have been world over, present, visibly so; not only tolerated but embraced. Apparently one major political party embraces them more than the other, but both major political parties do.
Whatever Americans complain about their education system, it has produced a populace which can examine and fleck off haters. Some issues like who your neighbour beds in his house are hardly world shaking, even when a ‘missionary’ on your doorstep tries to prove to you otherwise.

Africa has a huge, ballooning population. A very young, uneducated population, in the throes of cultural change, flowing off the continent in waves. But, there are a lot of Africans. And the population growth is exponential. [Odd, but I believe the Cultural warriors on the right, though anti-contraception, are also most likely anti-immigration...!!]
Largely uneducated, responsive to a brand of Christianity that we call ‘balokole’ in Uganda; Pentecostalism- fundamentalist, basic, relying on charismatic leaders of all shades.

Uganda, and Africa in general is experiencing a re-emergence of this fundamentalism in religion.
And, our preachers have been making regular trips to America. They speak in quasi ‘American South’ accents, the word ‘god’ not spoken with the usual Ugandan –oo- sound, but the American South –aaa- sound, on our TVs.
They go to America to fundraise, and bring in the cash in the mighty dollars, that our poorest find so alluring.

Battle ground Uganda.
The Anti-Homosexuality bill was passed in parliament. It was passed on 21st March 2023. Within seven days, the American Cultural warriors had organised a party to celebrate. Invited people from all over Africa; members of parliament-  because on the African frontline, Uganda is just one battle field.
Yeah, they needed to counter the thinking that the war is won. And they needed the President to be convinced, to sign the law, of course. They did that, apparently, though it was foregone conclusion. That is when he called on Africa to ‘savethe world from homosexuality’. They were very convincing, the ‘Family Watch International’ Their leader, Ms Sharon Slater even met with the Uganda’s First Lady, and Mrs Museveni tweeted about it, sounding pleased! 

Next battle ground-
The rest of Africa; Ghana has such a bill in its parliament. Not seen as ‘urgent’ as the Ugandan one, but, not a bad idea to urge them on. US Vice President Kamara Harris has been in Africa, so, why not send out a word to those countries that she visited, to shore up opposition a little bit? And it is always a good thing to re-empasize the message. One of the Kenyan MPs who attended the meeting in Uganda has already filed a bill, in Kenya’s parliament. 


In Tanzania, NGOs are being accused of ‘promoting homosexuality’ in a ‘spontaneous report detailing a ‘Tanzania without homosexuality’. Ms Slater must be very pleased, with her trip to darkest Africa. From America with love indeed!!

The message?
Abortion is not such a good message in Africa. It is illegal on most of the continent. Old colonial laws. Concern is not that much. But, sometimes American messaging slips out. And the Catholic church is responsive on that topic.
Homosexuality resonates. Homosexuality is ‘un-African’, it is a matter of ‘African Culture’, a matter of preserving ‘traditional family’. Homosexuality destroys ‘the family’.

Most resonant;
Homosexuals are ‘recruiting’. They are recruiting your children. It is a clear and present danger, and you have to act now.

And, a kick back to ‘home, US’ politics, since the current federal government is not of their party persuasion; the US government is ‘promoting homosexuality’ in the guise of human rights. As we want to kill off our homosexuals, they are ‘blackmailing’, and assaulting ‘African sovereignty’. Kamala Harris’ trip was taken as proof [ahem, nothing to do with countering China and Russia!]

Frankly, we could do without that kind of love. But, Frontline Africa in the American Cultural Wars is moving, at quite a pace.



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