230 Pages
English
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Research on Gender and Sexualities in Africa

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230 Pages
English

Description

This collection comprises a diverse and stimulating collection of essays on questions of gender and sexualities, crafted by both established and younger researchers. The collection includes fascinating insights into topics as varied as the popularity of thong underwear in urban Kenya, the complexity of Tanzanian youth’s negotiation of HIV-cultures, the dialogues between religion and controversial questions in sexualities activism, and the meaning of living as a Zimbabwean girl, who became HIV-positive because her mother had no access to antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy. Some pieces deepen contemporary debates, others initiate new questions. The collection seeks to sustain and invigorate research, policy-making and continentaly-focused thought on difficult, yet compelling, realities.

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Published 20 July 2017
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EAN13 9782869787353
Language English
Document size 5 MB

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Exrait

Research on Gender and Sexualities in Africa
This book is a product of the CODESRIA Gender Institute.
Research on Gender and Sexualities in Africa
Edited by
Jane Bennett Sylvia Tamale
Council for the Development of Social Science Research in AfricaDAKAR
©CODESRIA 2017 Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop, Angle Canal IV BP 3304 Dakar, 18524, Senegal Website : www.codesria.org ISBN: 9782869787124 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without prior permission from CODESRIA.
Typesetting: Alpha Ousmane Dia Cover Design: Ibrahima Fofana
Distributed in Africa by CODESRIA Distributed elsewhere by African Books Collective, Oxford, UK Website: www.africanbookscollective.com
The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) is an independent organisation whose principal objectives are to facilitate research, promote researchbased publishing and create multiple forums geared towards the exchange of views and information among African researchers. All these are aimed at reducing the fragmentation of research in the continent through the creation of thematic research networks that cut across linguistic and regional boundaries.
CODESRIA publishesAfrica Development, the longest standing Africa based social science journal;Afrika Zamani, a journal of history; theAfrican Sociological Review; the African Journal of International Affairs;Africa Review of Booksand theJournal of Higher Education in Africa. The Council also copublishes theAfrica Media Review;Identity, Culture and Politics: An AfroAsian Dialogue;The African Anthropologist, Journal of African Tranformation, Method(e)s: African Review of Social Sciences Methodology,the and Afro Arab Selections for Social Sciences. The results of its research and other activities are also disseminated through its Working Paper Series, Green Book Series, Monograph Series, Book Series, Policy Briefs and the CODESRIA Bulletin. Select CODESRIA publications are also accessible online at www.codesria.org.
CODESRIA would like to express its gratitude to the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the Danish Agency for International Development (DANIDA), the Rockefeller Foundation, the Open Society Foundations (OSFs), TrustAfrica, UNESCO, the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and the Government of Senegal for supporting its research, training and publication programmes.
Contents
Prefacevii ......................................................................................................................................................................................................... Contributorsxiii ......................................................................................................................................................................................
 1.  2.
 3. 4.
 5.
 6.
 7. 8. 9.
‘Fashionable Strategies’: Travels in Gender and Sexuality Studies Jane Bennett1 .......................................................................................................................................................................
Exploring the Contours of African Sexualities: Religion, Law and Power Sylvia Tamale15 .................................................................................................................................................................
The Power of Pleasure: Reconceptualising Sexualities Signe Arnfred43 ..................................................................................................................................................................
Rethinking ‘Sex’ and Secrecy in Precolonial African History: A Focus on Kenya Babere Kerata Chacha65 .......................................................................................................................................... The ‘GString’ as a Space for Sexual and Political Imagination: Rethinking Discourses of Youth, Power and Globalisation in Kenya Valerie Opiyo77 .................................................................................................................................................................. ‘Daddy, Today we have a Match!’ Women’s Agentic Strategies in Initiating Sexual Intercourse in an Urban Ghanaian Community Daniel Yaw Fiaveh89 ...................................................................................................................................................
Construction of Social Identity in the Erotic Juju Songpoetry of Saint Janet Adebayo Mosobalaje105 ............................................................................................................................................
Language, Sex and Power Relations: An Analysis of Shona Sexual Expressions Pauline Mateveke123 ................................................................................................................................................... Feminism: How Women in Uganda are Shaping the Way we Think about Sex and Politics Prince Karakire Guma133 .....................................................................................................................................
10.
11.
HIVPositive Women ‘Virgins’: The Complexities of Discourse on Issues of Sex and Sexuality in Zimbabwe Molly Manyonganise151 ..........................................................................................................................................
Sexual Health Promotion in Tanzania: Narratives on Young People’s Intimate Relationships Claire Coultas161 ............................................................................................................................................................
Index189 .......................................................................................................................................................................................................
Preface
Jane Bennett & Sylvia Tamale
As part of its central commitment to the initiation and support of sophisticated knowledges generated within the African context and capable of complex and strategic engagement with the economic, political, and social challenges we face, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) has long acknowledged the importance of the politics of gender and sexuality to new research. In 1991, an extraordinary conference on the ways in which gender analysis transforms the disciplines of economics, history, agriculture, psychology and education, resulted inEngendering Social Sciences in Africa, edited by Ayesha Imam, Amina Mama, and Fatou Sow. The collection, published in 1997, remains one of the most valuable theoretical contributions to feminist research on the continent, and CODESRIA has continued to engage with African feminist and genderfocused scholarship ever since. One of CODESRIA’s strategies in this regard has been the commissioning and hosting of annual residential programmes – Gender Institutes – aimed at strengthening the scholarship and analytical skills of young researchers. The Institutes are thematised, and for the two consecutive ones in 2012 and 2013, CODESRIA chose to create a programme which would address not only the power of gender analysis within fields ranging from media studies to health and violence. Both institutes further examined the meaning of sexualities as they complicate, deepen, and enrich the options for innovative and analytically rigorous research. ‘African Sexualities’ was the chosen theme for both the 2012 and 2013 Gender Institutes. It was the first time since the inauguration of the Gender Institute in 1994 that the exciting theme of sexuality was receiving serious attention at the Council, and this had a number of implications. Firstly, the theoretical value of addressing sexualities as ‘African’ entailed careful consideration. As Desiree Lewis points out, there is a longstanding colonial scholarship on ‘African sexualities,’ where questions of ritual, sociocultural practice and family dynamics have been interpolated into discourses on hygiene, ‘otherness,’ and health (Lewis 2011: 201
viii
Research on Gender and Sexualities in Africa
202). Such discourses have in the twentieth century been integrated into many developmental approaches to the wellbeing of people in diverse continental contexts. Moreover, policy discussions on the prevention of HIV have been particularly complicit in imagining Africanbased people as sexually ‘different,’ in some homogenised way, from those in other parts of the globe. ‘Behavioural change’ thus became the silver bullet intervention for HIV prevention. Notions of hypersexuality, men’s indifference to the health of their women sexual partners, abusive sexual practices helpful to ‘curing AIDS,’ and a delight in ‘risky sexual behaviour’ have, among other things, dominated the sociomedical landscape concerning the subSaharan African understandings of the shape of the epidemic (Campbell 2009). To posit, therefore, that in 20122013, new continental scholarship needed to reimagine the question of sexualities entailed a rigorous analysis of historical and contemporary discourses on Africanbased embodiment, political and social systems, and languages was something novel and interesting. This was not the only theoretical challenge to the conceptualisation of the Institute on ‘African Sexualities.’ Jane Bennett’s chapter in this collection takes up the way in which much work concerning gender on the continent has been dismissive of engagement with sexualities, locating an interest in sexualities as merely ‘fashionable’ or – worse? – ‘Western’. Such challenges, usually ignorant of the theoretical frameworks of such giants as Franz Fanon or Nawal el Saadawi, demand that curricula on ‘African sexualities’ ensure grounding in aspects of debates within the broad trajectory of pre21st century African scholarship. And a third theoretical challenge to shaping the Institute’s programme on ‘African Sexualities’ came from the sheer breadth of the field. It would have been possible to focus on questions of law, policy, history, psychology, media, culture, education, economics, religion, geography and environmental studies, development, medical humanities, adinfinitum. The decision to focus two Gender Institutes on the same theme was a response to this challenge. The 2012 programme chose to focus on questions of law and policy, media, and social movement building (political studies, if you like), while the 2013 programme prioritised questions of history, language and culture, and development. While this by no means covered the spectrum of what could be explored through the theme of ‘African Sexualities,’ the range at least allowed for a wide range of young researchers to participate. The theoretical challenges of designing the Gender Institute’s programme are complex, but perhaps less so than the challenges of ensuring that the opportunity to participate is offered as widely as possible to young continental researchers. Given that very few universities take gender and sexuality seriously within their range of degree programmes, finding brave young writers interested in the question of ‘African Sexualities’ was not easy. Beyond the need to ensure that both French and English researchers could access the programmes (the need to accommodate speakers of Portuguese, Arabic, and other languages remains
Preface
ix
on CODESRIA’s agenda), lies the reality that it is usually only in development studies or health, that young researchers are likely to encounter theoretical debate on sexualities. Overall, while over 200 young researchers applied to the Gender Institutes of 2012 and 2013, only a handful – despite obvious enthusiasm and intellectual acumen – were at a point in their doctoral, or postdoctoral research, to participate in what the Institutes could offer in three weeks of each Institute. As directors of the Gender Institutes, we had the privilege of engaging, in 2012, with 16 intelligent young participants from 10 African countries, and in 2013, with 15, from nine countries. In both years, participants came from higher institutions in Anglophone and Francophone countries, and were both men and women at different levels of their careers. In 2012, Professor Sylvia Tamale, the director, was assisted by three highly experienced resource persons, while in 2013, 1 Professor Jane Bennett was privileged to work with three more assistants. The Institutes were dynamic, and sometimes difficult, spaces. The terrain of sexualities studies is renowned for the epistemological, transdisciplinary, and often ‘personal’ demands made on researchers who must sometimes be prepared to abandon deeply entrenched assumptions about human ‘being’ and social organisation. It is impossible, for example, to explore the links between globalisation, tourism, and sexuality if one holds immutable prejudices about sex work, and impossible to understand links between political power, social change, and sexualities if one has been persuaded that ‘polygamy is wrong’ or ‘young women who desire sexual pleasure, openly, are immoral.’ Finding the language to explore new theoretical concepts without discouraging participants or causing unproductive debate, is a balancing act of patience, exploration, discipline, and an overarching commitment to the longterm value of the task. The 31 young researchers engaged in the two Institutes went to work with aplomb, imagination, and dignity, and we rehearse here only one example of their collective courage. In one of the Institutes, one young man from Côte d’Ivoire arrived, full of energy, with an interesting research agenda on questions of violence, gender, and sexuality in his own environment. In an early session where participants were introducing themselves, he spoke of his anxiety about a young son. He felt his fouryear old showed strong signs of femininity, and he was deeply distressed about what such ‘gender nonconformity’ meant. He explained he had scolded and even once beaten the boy, but was now at his wits’ end. He asked the other participants for guidance, and many gave advice: ‘Wait. It may just be a phase;’ ‘Maybe he is just copying his older sister, whom he admires;’ ‘You musn’t scold him; he will become afraid of you, and if this is a problem, he needs to be able to speak to you freely.’ Three weeks later, as participants left to return to their home countries, the Director of the Institute received an sms from this participant. It read, ‘Thanks to all the participants. I want to tell you that at the airport, I bought a doll for my son.’