The 'Unsaying' of Indigenous Homosexualities in Zimbabwe: Mapping a Blindspot in an African Masculinity


Epprecht, Marc. 1998. "The 'Unsaying' of Indigenous Homosexualities in Zimbabwe: Mapping a Blindspot in an African Masculinity." Journal of Southern African Studies 24 (4): 631-51.

Author: Marc Epprecht


Many black Zimbabweans believe that homosexuality was introduced to the country by white settlers and is now mainly propagated by 'the West'. The denial of indigenous homosexual behaviours and identities is often so strong that critics have been quick with accusations of homophobia. Yet those critics unfairly impose a rather crude and ultimately unhelpful analysis. Without denying that violent forms of homophobia do exist in Zimbabwe, the invisibility of indigenous homosexualities has more complex origins. This article examines the many, overlapping discourses that are constructed into the dominant ideology of masculinity and that contrive to 'unsay' indigenous male-to-male sexualities. It seeks in that way to gain insight into the overdetermination of assertively masculinist behaviour among Zimbabwean men today. It also draws lessons for researchers on the importance of interrogating the silences around masculinity.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Men, Indigenous, LGBTQ, Sexuality Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zimbabwe

Year: 1998

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