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POST-COLONIAL HISTORIES OF SEXUALITY: THE POLITICAL INVENTION OF A LIBIDINAL AFRICAN STRAIGHT

Abstract
ABSTRACT

This study addresses the problem of sexuality and ideology in relation to (pan)-Africanist doctrines that have been instrumental in the effort of post-colonial African elites to constitute an exclusive African sexual selfhood. The focus is on their efforts to ‘Africanize’ the sexuality of the masses in a global context that dramatizes the uncontrolled flow of sexual desires, and favours the emergence of new forms of sexual expressions and practices that destabilize the post-colonial sexual order. The leading question informing this study is how a hegemonic heterosexual identity has come to be internalized in post-colonial Africa, and how both men and women have come to believe that to be ‘good’ citizens or ‘real’ Africans they have to become repressed subjects who not only limit their sexuality solely to heterosexual desires, but also have a natural aversion to other forms of sexuality such as same-sex relations. My main argument is that in most African countries, and specifically in Cameroon, both the edification of a phallocratico-patriarchal society and the political invention of the sublimated Muntu, the so-called libidinal African straight, went along with the suppression, annihilation or negation of gays and lesbians, generally misrepresented as deracinated Africans and dangerous ‘witch-others’.

RESUMÉ

Cette étude traite du problème de la sexualité et de l'idéologie dans le contexte des doctrines pan-africanistes dont le rôle a été instrumental dans les efforts déployés par les élites africaines postcoloniales pour constituer une individualité sexuelle africaine exclusive. Elle met l'accent sur les efforts déployés pour « africaniser » la sexualité des masses dans un contexte mondial qui semble dramatiser le flux incontrôlé de désirs sexuels, et de favoriser l’émergence de nouvelles formes d'expression et de pratiques sexuelles qui déstabilisent l'ordre sexuel postcolonial. La question centrale qui informe cette étude est celle de comprendre comment une identité hétérosexuelle hégémonique est arrivée à être internalisée en Afrique postcoloniale, et comment les hommes comme les femmes en sont arrivés à croire que pour devenir de « bons » citoyens ou de « vrais » Africains, ils doivent devenir des sujets réprimés qui non seulement limitent leur sexualité aux seuls désirs hétérosexuels, mais aussi ont une aversion naturelle pour d'autres formes de sexualité comme les relations homosexuelles. Le principal argument de cet article est que dans la plupart des pays africains, et notamment au Cameroun, l’édification d'une société phallocratico-patriarcale et l'invention politique du Muntu sublimé, le soi-disant hétérosexuel libidinal africain, s'est accompagnée d'une suppression, annihilation ou négation des gays et des lesbiennes, généralement faussement représentés comme des africains déracinés et de dangereux « sorciers étrangers ».

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Africa
  • ISSN: 0001-9720
  • EISSN: 1750-0184
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