“Africa is a country.”
It seems since African countries started to wrest independence from European colonialists, we have struggled just as hard to redress the indifference with which they dismiss us. To the West, Africa is an amorphous whole, comprised of people whose only distinguishing feature is their dark skin and their perceived ignorance. Our individual cultures and histories are useless to them, our motivations irrelevant. But sometimes across the continent, we act in ways and hold views that validates their point of view. This is especially true when it comes to religion and sexuality in Kenya.
The Kenyan Film Classification Board (the Kenyan equivalent of a film censorship body) is run by Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, who has a master’s degree in communication studies and is on his way to earning himself a PhD. So he is certainly educated by Kenyan and international standards. However, under Mutua’s control, the KFCB has become a draconian censorship body, conflating religious beliefs and biases with government policy. Mutua has become a joke to Kenya, his constituents voting him the most embarrassing government official in a list that included many ignorant and bigoted people. But if that wasn’t enough, Mutua this week, reacted to a video shot in Kenya’s Masai Mara park of lions engaging in homosexual intercourse by suggesting the lions had been ‘corrupted’ by homosexual men who ‘sneak into the park to have sex in view of the lions’.
Ezekiel Mutua suggests that the lions in question should be ‘isolated and studied’ so they can discover where the lions ‘learnt’ homosexual activity because the lions don’t have access to televisions and as such couldn’t have learnt homosexuality from white media.
It is preposterous to imagine that an educated government official would speak so ignorantly about a phenomenon that has been confirmed by science for decades, suggest that ‘demons’ somehow possessed the lions and forced them to engage in homosexual activity. This is a person who makes policies that affect millions of Kenyans, who shows that he doesn’t at least understand that a public statement must be concise and measured so his words might not be misconstrued.
If our educated ministers are out here blaming sexual intercourse between lions on ‘demons’ and the television, how can we protest when others suggest that we are uneducated?