Boy-Wives and Female Husbands

Studies in African Homosexualities
SUNY Press; SUNY Press Open Access
  • erschienen am 1. April 2021
  • |
  • 374 Seiten
E-Book | ePUB mit Adobe-DRM | Systemvoraussetzungen
978-1-4384-8411-2 (ISBN)
Among the many myths created about Africa, the claim that homosexuality and gender diversity are absent or incidental is one of the oldest and most enduring. Historians, anthropologists, and many contemporary Africans alike have denied or overlooked African same-sex patterns or claimed that such patterns were introduced by Europeans or Arabs. In fact, same-sex love and nonbinary genders were and are widespread in Africa. Boy-Wives and Female Husbands documents the presence of this diversity in some fifty societies in every region of the continent south of the Sahara. Essays by scholars from a variety of disciplines explore institutionalized marriages between women, same-sex relations between men and boys in colonial work settings, mixed gender roles in east and west Africa, and the emergence of LGBTQ activism in South Africa, which became the first nation in the world to constitutionally ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Also included are oral histories, folklore, and translations of early ethnographic reports by German and French observers. Boy-Wives and Female Husbands was the first serious study of same-sex sexuality and gender diversity in Africa, and this edition includes a new foreword by Marc Epprecht that underscores the significance of the book for a new generation of African scholars, as well as reflections on the book's genesis by the late Stephen O. Murray.

This book is freely available in an open access edition thanks to the generous support of the Murray Hong Family Trust. Access the book online at the SUNY Open Access Repository at
  • Englisch
  • Albany
  • |
  • USA
State University of New York Press
  • Reflowable
978-1-4384-8411-2 (9781438484112)
weitere Ausgaben werden ermittelt
Figures and Tables

New Foreword
Marc Epprecht

The Genesis of Boy-Wives and Female Husbands
Stephen O. Murray

Preface: "All Very Confusing"

Africa and African Homosexualities: An Introduction

Part I: Horn of Africa, Sudan, and East Africa


"A Feeling within Me": Kamau, a 25-Year-Old Kikuyu
Stephen O. Murray

Occurrences of Contrary-Sex among the Negro Population of Zanzibar (1899)
M. Haberlandt, translated by Bradley Rose

, Mabasha, and Magei: "Homosexuality" on the East African Coast
Deborah P. Amory

Part II: West Africa


A 1958 Visit to a Dakar Boy Brothel
Michael Davidson

Male Lesbians and Other Queer Notions in Hausa
Rudolf P. Gaudio

West African Homoeroticism: West African Men Who Have Sex with Men
Nii Ajen

Part III: Central Africa


Homosexuality among the Negroes of Cameroon and a Pangwe Tale (1921, 1911)
Günther Tessmann, translated by Bradley Rose

Ganga-Ya-Chibanda (1687)
Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi, translated by Will Roscoe

Same-Sex Life among a Few Negro Tribes of Angola (1923)
Kurt Falk, translated by Bradley Rose

Part IV: Southern Africa


Homosexuality among the Natives of Southwest Africa (1925-1926)
Kurt Falk, translated by Bradley Rose and Will Roscoe

"Good God Almighty, What's This!": Homosexual "Crime" in Early Colonial Zimbabwe
Marc Epprecht

"When a Woman Loves a Woman" in Lesotho: Love, Sex, and the (Western) Construction of Homophobia

Sexual Politics in Contemporary Southern Africa
Stephen O. Murray

Part V: Conclusions

Woman-Woman Marriage in Africa
Joseph M. Carrier and Stephen O. Murray

Diversity and Identity: The Challenge of African Homosexualities

Appendix 1: African Groups with Same-Sex Patterns

Appendix 2: Organizations of Homosexuality and Other

Social Structures in Sub-Saharan Africa
Stephen O. Murray


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