Nigerian authors blast Ugandan anti-gay law as ‘un-African’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Two leading Nigerian authors, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Jackie Kay have spoken about their concern over the new anti-gay law in Uganda.

Ms Adichie, who wrote a piece for the Scoop, a Nigerian paper, called the law “un-African”.

She described it as going “against the values of tolerance and ‘live and let live'” that she feel Africa stands for.

Ms Adichie’s piece begins with her description of what it was like growing up with a gay friend. She talks about the bullying and taunting that he suffered.

In her article, the author goes on to say that the law is “popular among Nigerians.”

She said that this could be because many Nigerians “believe the bible condemns homosexuality.” She speaks of the bible as a guide to life, and not “a basis for the laws we pass”.

Nigeria gave presidential approval to its own draconian anti-gay law, further criminalising homosexuality and banning same-sex marriages last month.

Meanwhile Jackie Kay, a Scottish-Nigerian poet spoke to the Guardian newspaper about the Ugandan law saying: “It is dangerous for any country to legalise a witch-hunt of an already oppressed minority; it will lead to an unprecedented hysterical homophobia that will set the clock back in the fearful past.”

She went on to compare what is happening in Uganda to Nazi Germany, and spoke of her fears about people “fleeing for safety”. Ms Kay, who is herself gay called the law “horrifying”.

She concluded by saying: “Now, with this law, I feel as if my footsteps are being wiped out, and those of my fellow gay Nigerians. On what path are we supposed to walk? On what road?”

International commendation of Uganda shows no signing of abating following Monday’s decision of President Yoweri Museveni to sign the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law.

Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands have become the first three countries to cut their aid to Uganda.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry compared the “flat-out morally wrong” and “atrocious” homophobic law to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany or apartheid in South Africa.