Meanings of homosexuality, same sex sexuality, and Africanness in two South African townships: an evidence-based approach for rethinking same-sex prejudice

SOURCE: African Studies Review
TITLE AUTHOR(S): V.Sigamoney, M.Epprecht
DEPARTMENT: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9950
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/11222

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The assertion 'homosexuality is un-African' is widely viewed as an expression of homophobia. However, without knowledge of what homosexuality and 'Africanness' mean in a given context, any understanding of how to shift the prejudices associated with this assertion remains limited. Research conducted in 2010 with police, high school learners (students), and a sample of more than one thousand residents from two urban townships in South Africa contributes to this understanding. This article draws on data from the research to explore the significance of cultural translation when considering what constitutes same-sex prejudice and how it may relate to notions of authenticity or 'real Africanness.' While the research provides evidence of same-sex prejudice, there is also evidence of qualified acceptance of same-sex sexuality and of efforts to combat prejudice. Opportunities for change are discussed with reference to the data.