South Africa enters pride month as the only country in Africa that allows same sex marriages.
Although Africa is known for its culture and diversity, majority of its countries still find themselves under the shackles of discriminating the LGBTQI+ community.
Africa has 54 countries however only 22 countries have legalized same sex relations. The countries that criminalized same sex relations have also put in place extreme laws against these relations. To name a few, countries such as Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia have the life imprisonment penalty for being caught in same sex relations or acts.
According to BBC, countries such as Brunei, Iran and Nigeria have placed the death penalty law for individuals who are involved in sexual acts with the same sex. To name a few other African countries that have criminalized the LGBTQI+ community we have Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, ESwatini, Ghana, Malawi, Somalia, Libya and a lot more.
However, through the movements and marches from the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), there have been countries that have decriminalized same sex relations.
South Africa’s neighboring country Botswana and Angola have banned discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community.
A member of the pride community Mpho Maotwe says that she believes that no country should decide how a person lives their lives. “Being gay does not increase nor decrease the economic value of the country so countries that criminalized the LGBTQI community should focus on more important matters than a person’s sexuality”, she said.
Pride month means liberation and freedom to the LGBTQI+ community, freedom to live, freedom to be bare and freedom to show off colour to the world and accepting who they are. A known symbol of the LGBTQI+ community is the rainbow flag that was designed in 1978 by the late Gilbert Baker who was a known activist and artist.
Many are calling on African countries to step into the new world and break out of the shackles of discriminating the LGBTQI+ community.
By Lineo Khabele