Call for Papers: Chiedza Vol 20 No 2: Sexuality in Africa



An emerging discourse on the African sexual landscape is one that is challenging the above understanding of sexuality. The rise of feminism, campaigns for gender equality, the growing toleration of same-sex relations in some societies and the cultural responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, seem to invite a rethink of sexuality in Africa.

Chiedza, Journal of Arrupe Jesuit University, has for its theme of Volume 20, No.2, December 2018: Sexuality in Africa. In this issue, we intend to find out if the emerging ways of understanding sexuality in Africa today constitute an evolution, a degeneration or a revolution. Which is more valid in the African sexual landscape – sexuality or sexualities? What are the dominant forms of language employed in the understanding of sexuality today? Culture - in its various dimensions: political, economic, social, legal and environmental – always defines correct sexual behaviour in societies that observe the norms of that culture. There is the view that cultures are never fixed; that they constantly transform to accommodate new contexts and contingencies. Should the vibrancy of the process of transformation and the new manifestations of African sexuality be given the attention that they perhaps deserve? Does the “culture” of silence with regards to sexuality conceal how African sexuality is lived out in fact? How has the HIV/AIDS epidemic affected the understanding of sexuality in Africa?

In some cultures, a woman is culturally seen as such only when she is married and able to procreate. Is there a need to re-valorize such an understanding today? How effective are the various feminist discourses in the continent? To what extent is the understanding and practice of sexuality linked to power relations?

African countries such as Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Sudan and Uganda have criminalized homosexual activity with several penalties including the threat of life sentences. The South African constitution, which guarantees gays and lesbians the same rights as any other citizen, is considered by many to be the most “liberal” African constitution. It is believed that to deny same-sex unions would therefore be a denial of a fundamental constitutional right? How valid is such a conclusion? To what extent does the criminalization of homosexual activity deny the basic rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Africans? Is homosexuality an African phenomenon, or is it a “western” reality that is being sold to Africa? Are African countries being held to ransom by powerful countries – through threats of terminating aid to African nations – in order to legalize same-sex activity? What value is there in drawing on African traditional beliefs and practices to judge homosexual activity?

What is the role of the media in shaping the discourse of sexuality in Africa? In the current era of social media, with its breadth and increasing ease of access, how can the various social media platforms contribute to understanding sexuality in Africa? Does the anonymity present in the use of social media allow public opinion to be shaped without those who are shaping it being held responsible for the influence they have on public opinion? What about sex education in schools? How far has it succeeded in shaping “correct” sexual behaviour?

The Catholic Church continues to stand as a moral voice that affirms that sexuality can be given valid expression only in heterosexual marital unions and that such unions be open to the transmission of life. Artificial contraception is therefore forbidden. How far has the Catholic Church in Africa succeeded in promoting this moral position? What is the current understanding and practice of monogamy and polygamy in Africa? Is celibacy contrary to African understanding of sexuality?

These are some of the questions that Chiedza suggests for our reflection. As a Catholic institution, we welcome open, healthy and constructive dialogue on sexuality in Africa in line with the normative teachings of the Catholic Church. Articles should be 4,000 words or less. We also

welcome articles, book reviews, and poems which do not necessarily reflect these topics. All articles are to be sent to: on or before November 11, 2018. Please refer to the Chiedza website: ( for other details, including the Chiedza style sheet.

Thank you.

Emmanuel Ogwu, SJ


For the Chiedza Editorial Board.