Malawian scholar and social commentator Lyson Sibande's book, Homosexuality in Africa: a Political, Religious, and Cultural Dilemma, has hit the country's bookshops and seeks to address the conflict of values, beliefs and ideals between politics on one hand and religion and culture on the other.
The issue of homosexuality has been a contentious issue in Africa; and, while others have embraced the revolution as a matter of the preservation of democracy and human rights, most Africans reject gay rights because they believe it is against religions and culture of the African people.
"In the book, I provide the history and analysis of homosexuality in Christianity and Islam as recorded in the Bible, Qur'an and Hadith, and examine scholarly literature to determine what African predominant Abrahamic religions of Christianity and Islam really teach about homosexuality and homosexuals," said Sibande.
According to Sibande, the book also looks at the history of homosexuality in African communities before and after Africans made contact with Europeans to determine the reality of the presence of same-sex acts in Africa and their relationship with European colonialism and western democracy.
"The book also analyzes homosexuality and the African culture to determine whether or not Africans naturally have a culture that is intolerant towards same-sex acts. In the final chapters, the book defines human rights to determine whether gay rights are human rights or not, and analyzes the principle of Separation of the Church and the state, religious freedom and the secularism of the state to determine the roles of the Church and government on the issue of gay rights," he said.
The 172-paged book, which has taken Sibande four years to complete, is available at CLAIM Mabuku and Grey Matter bookshops of Lilongwe and Blantyre.
"The purpose of the book is not activism or advocacy in favor or against homosexuality and gay rights but education; the book provides a researched basis for educated opinions and facts on homosexuality and gay rights so that people in Malawi and across the continent can have informed debate on gay rights," said Sibande.