By Linda_Villarosa September 22, 2012 Huffington Post Those of us who are black and gay approach Africa with deeply conflicted feelings. On a recent trip to Zambia, along with my point-and-shoot and anti-malaria medication, I packed equal parts pride and shame, curiosity and fear. Homosexuality is illegal in nearly 40 African countries, and in the
Zambia was occupied by the British as a protectorate of Northern Rhodesia towards the end of the nineteenth century. On 24 October 1964, it gained independence with the new name of Zambia. Zambia’s economy has been traditionally dominated by the copper mining industry; however the government has recently been pursuing an economic diversification program. During the 1970s, the country began sliding into a poverty from which it has not recovered. The growing population strains the economic growth and HIV/AIDS is widespread. The average per capita income is $395, placing Zambia as one of the world’s poorest countries. Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia and there is no recognition of legal rights for same-sex couples. Section 157 applies to “any act of gross indecency” committed between males, “whether in public or in private”, and classifies such acts as felonies punishable by imprisonment for five years. The law also includes lesbian homosexuality.
In loving memory of Zambian lesbian activist Buumba Sikumba (BMJ) who was interviewed by me for the GlobalGayz story on gay life in Zambia in 2008. She passed away in September 2009 after an illness. She was a full spirit with a passion for life and for human rights. A bigger-than-life figure she was also