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Is it different to be a homosexual in Africa?


After hearing about the uprising of Xenophobia in South Africa in the last months, I thought about other minorities in Africa. When I came across a friend of my fathers, who lived in Morocco and South Africa, I thought this was a great opportunity to talk about this subject. As I know he is a homosexual I wanted to know more about how he is dealing with this situation and how people treat him. Moreover, it seemed appropriate to talk about his living situation and what he doing for a living and how people might deal with the situation differently as we might expect them to. Due to personal reasons and his job, the interviewee did not want to be mentioned by name, this is why I refer to him as “he”. When we started talking he was very friendly and open about this topic. I asked him in general what he is doing for a living and he said, that he was working as a Hotel Manager in Marrakech and now works in another Hotel in South Africa. When I asked about his tasks he just responded: “it is same as in every other country, it is nothing too interesting, but I really got to like my job and function”. It is more like a job to him the people working in the Hotel are his family and they know about his homosexuality and do not judge him. In his opinion this is due to their education. “ When I started working in the Hotels it was very different to Europe, as here the people know how important this job is to survive”, he said and continued that the people value their opportunities more than they do in Europe. In Africa, they do not have anything; in Europe we have everything and do not appreciate it. The people here are happy, they appreciate every little thing you do for them and they work very hard to get out of their vicious circle, he said. “This is what keeps me going as well”, he said and underlines,” these people use every chance and opportunity they get to make their life better”. Going on with our talk, he also explained that he never occurred anything negative, because of his homosexuality and I got curious about that. I actually thought he would have find himself treated differently, but he did not. “ I just tried not to show it too much and respect their values and view in these countries”, he replied. It is not easy when you always have in some way to hide the real you. “We hid that we are a couple”, he said and I directly knew how this must be like. Never showing the affection you have towards another person, but he rejected. “ We got used to hiding our true selves, which did not make it easier to live here, but it worked and we did not actually feel bad about that”, he said and continued with his story. “We just really got used to that and never thought about doing it differently as we do not feel the urge to show everyone, that we affections for one another”. We just try to mind our own business more or less, he said and adds, “we never encountered any insults from people in both countries, although homosexual relationships are against the law in Morocco, it was difficult for him to accept these circumstances. However, when he moved to South Africa it became easier as here the law does not forbid any kind of relations between people of the same sex. Today he lives in South Africa and has no problems concerning his homosexuality. He lived with his partner for over 20 years in some way people must have noticed that he is homosexual and does not intend to change anything about that. He never had a situation where he was attacked for being homosexual and therefore keeps on living his life like he always did. “If they realized what is going on, most of the people just turned away and ignored it”, he said. For him it is not important to show his affections to everyone, it is just important his partner knows and this is what counts the most. by Naomi Böcker

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