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Pissing in the fountains of tolerance

ONCE upon a time, in a faraway African land called Buganda, a young king grew increasingly angry over the fact that his country was being plagued by Christian missionaries.

They were doing what missionaries do best: pissing in the fountains of tolerance, thereby defiling a sophisticated local culture. Furthermore, the dismayed king saw them cramming his subjects’ heads with all manner of crap about God, Jesus Christ and the angels, and inducing guilt about their sexuality.

So although gay, King Mwanga II Basammula Ekkere was not happy.

King Mwanga II of Buganda

King Mwanga II of Buganda

He resisted the evangelists, and also spurned the attention of Muslims, because to convert to Islam would mean that he would have to have his penis mutilated. He had a horror of circumcision, so told the Muslims to bugger off, and take their barbaric act with them.

But the Christian missionaries were the real object of his wrath. He found their horror of homosexuality particularly annoying, especially as they had managed to penetrate his palace and convert some of his courtiers. These, in turn, warned his pages that being gay was a sin and ordered them to avoid sex with the king.

So Mwanga did a bad, but perfectly understandable thing. He retaliated by having a number of missionaries killed, as well as those converts among his courtiers who denounced his homosexuality; and on October 29, 1885, he had the English Archbishop, James Hannington, knifed to death.

Hannington, from Westpierpoint in Sussex, had gone to Buganda to support the “persecuted” missionaries.

The meddling fool really should have seen it coming.

The British were well pissed-off over Hannington’s death, and had the king overthrown as a prelude to claiming Buganda (now Uganda) as a colony.

Christian history, of course, comprehensively blackens Mwanga’s name: Mwanga, it claims, was a predatory paedophile, a lustful monster who preyed on his people. Those he killed are now “martyrs”.

Mwanga was described by a travelling missionary in 1888 as markedly different from his father, Mutesa:

A man with a weak-looking mouth, and a rather silly sort of laugh and smile; he raises his eyebrows very high, and twitches them in surprise, or in giving assent to a statement. He looked a young and frivolous sort of man, very weak and easily led; passionate and, if provoked, petulant. He looked as if he would be easily frightened, and possessed of very little courage or self-control.

In his fascinating essay entitled The Flames of Namugongo: Postcoloniality Meets Queer on African Soil? Kenneth Hamilton writes:

One wonders how this seeming feminization and demonization of the Kabaka (king), combined with that prevalent nineteenth century ‘myth of the black rapist’, which had arisen most poignantly during the lynching times in the United States, intensifies the sodomitical discourse here. Sodomy can now be linked with lynching and rape through the penis of the black male predator. That it was a ‘black dick’ that ‘raped’ and murdered the ‘divine boys’ makes the scene at the Mwanga’s court as hot as a lynching scene.

Mwanga remains a huge embarrassment to Uganda, a country which claims that homosexuality has always been alien to the African nature, and what there is of it now has been imported from the West. They even banned the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain in Kampala.

Which neatly brings us to reason we decided to focus today on King Mwanga: a footnote to a report in The Times of August 8 which said:

Africans are largely conservative about issues of sexuality. Homosexual relationships are illegal in most parts of the continent. In Uganda, sodomy attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The continent now finds itself struggling with an increase in homosexual behaviour, which is seen by many Africans as an alien cultural imposition perpetuated by rich Westerners targeting vulnerable youths. Indigenous African communities often shun and vilify homosexuals.

Opposition to homosexuality has united African political leaders, atheists and clerics determined to defeat what is seen as cultural imperialism. The disagreement within the Anglican Communion looks set only to deepen further.

Not surprisingly, Stephen “Birdshit” Green, the loopy evangelist, who somehow can’t get bum-sex off his mind, simply had to get his two-penny’s-worth in as well. In a deranged press release he scribbled following Brighton Gay Pride’s ‘Around the World’-themed festivities last weekend, he burbled:

The participants were, as usual, overwhelmingly white. Perhaps the funniest example of the lack of any real ‘around the world’ involvement was the ‘Free Zimbabwe’ float, which had not one African participant.

Homosexuality, of course, is completely beyond the pale in African culture – as it was in ours until fairly recently.

For all the repression of homosexuality in Uganda, the country has a burgeoning gay rights movement. You can learn more about it here.

7 responses to “Pissing in the fountains of tolerance”

  1. David Jensen says:

    Most Americans generally have a very low opinion of atheism and it is not surprising that this article on atheism published on an American website: atheism

  2. What an eye-opening piece of journalism, Barry, to those of us sadly lacking a knowledge of African history. It’s to be hoped this gets emailed to Akinola and co. – not that they’d take any of it seriously, preferring to believe the stories sent back by the missionaries to the reality of what was found there: life as it has always been, in all its sexual diversity

  3. Stuart W says:

    Stephen Green rarely fails to put a smile on my face. Adamant that his every ‘witnessing’, petty grievance and thought-of-the-day is deserving of media coverage, how disappointing when he goes all the way to Brighton and nothing really happens besides rain! Solution: drag that pretend high horse about Gay Pride racism back out.

  4. Tom Rees says:

    “So Mwanga did a bad, but perfectly understandable thing. He retaliated by having a number of missionaries killed…”

    Heh, come on some sense of equity here. It is not perfectly understandable to kill people just because they say things about your lifestyle that really piss you off!

    I suspect, however, that Mwanga knew what the British track reord was, and knew that the missionaries were a prelude to invasion and colonisation.

  5. vincent says:

    Today is the feast of the Ugandan Martyrs….as both Gay and Christian we need to see the facts as they are. Martyrdom is sad and unacceptable even when provoked by conservative Christianity. Not all Christians are that way and many are gay also. vincent in Mexico

  6. […] You can read our more accurate account of Mwanga’s actions against the foreign Christian interlopers here. […]

  7. Chuck C says:

    @David Jensen: if you honestly think Conservapedia is representative of American thought, you’re nearly as bigoted as the creeps trying to pass that bill. That thing run by Phyllis Schlafly’s even more insane son, for Pete’s sake.