Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Dispatches: Africa’s Last Taboo
Saw the above titled programme, on the 30th July and it was well worth it. The documentary was an eye opener. The general theme was about how some Africans are in denial about the existence of homosexuality in the continent.
What struck a chord with me was when the journalist interviewed a gay sex worker on his clients.
The sex worker says he is offered more money to sleep without a condom. He also agreed that he was hiv positive but needed the money to survive as he is ostracised from soceity and forced to live in near isolation...
((sorry to divert but a lot of us are not any different in this love for money, I have asked a lot of African professionals what their life goals are or where they see themselves as reaching self actualisation. Well their answers are 100% tied to material needs. So hey we are not any better than this guy.))
Anway six things immediately became clear:
1. He lived in squalid conditions with his 6 yr old baby sister, he needs the money badly and no amount of advice, preaching, sanctiminous and patronising camera crew will meet his need to survive.
2. He has been ostracis...ed yet still get as much as 4 clients in one night. Meaning more gay men but still in the closet! This reflects the leevl of denial in that country.
3. In the process of denial, his clients, apparently get married to women to present a facade of a family as dictated by their community..and of course must have unprotected sex with them to have children.
4. These same gay men in the closet with a family would be deeply unhappy with their lot and might display certain aggressive and bizarre behaviour in their homes or workplace. They would definitely be depressed about being forced to go in secret to sex workers to meet their sexual needs. (Those same sex workers that have been isolated from soceity with no medical aid nor other means of livelihood and so will do anything to survive including sleeping without a condom even while being hiv positive)
5. Ignorance is still rife in many places as one can hear an African say there is nothing like hiv so he/she doesnt need a condom or he is 'protected' by charms. etc etc
6. These gay men in the closet have the added burden of creating a persona that goes through the rituals which usual represents the main character traits of a paternal society. Behvaiour like being overtly sexual, macho, chauvinistic, and parts of those ritual is too be seen as promiscous, and oversexed. Naturally their alternate personas will sleep around, or keep several mistresses and if infected will definitely pass on the virus to other families ..ad infinituum.
It is time for Africa to face the truth and stop this denial...