Portuguese shocked by African Sexuality

Discussion in 'Race, Religion, Science and Politics' started by OckyDub, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. OckyDub

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    In leading the exploration and colonization of Africa, the Portuguese became the first Europeans to realize that African sexuality and gender diverged in surprising and, to them, shocking ways from their own. In the early seventeenth century, their efforts to conquer the Ndongo kingdom of the Mbundu (Umbundu) were stymied by the inspired leadership of a warrior woman named Nzinga (c. 1581-1663). Nzinga had become ngola, or king, by succeeding her brother, which was not unusual in a matrilineal society like the Mbundu’s. Less typical was the fact that she had ordered her nephew’s death to prevent him from claiming his father’s title. Nzinga proceeded to organize a guerilla army and personally led her warriors into battle. She successfully outmaneuvered the Portuguese for nearly four decades.

    In the late 1640s, a Dutch military attache observed firsthand what must have struck him as the strange organization of her court. As ngola, Nzinga was not “queen” but “king” of her people. She ruled dressed as a man, surrounded by a harem of young men who dressed as women and were her “wives.” Wherever she appeared, her subjects fell to their knees and kissed the ground. Nzinga managed to preserved Ndongo independence. It was not until the early twentieth century that the Portuguese finally broke Mbundu resistance.

    Other early reports from Angola make it clear that Nzinga’s behavior was not some personal idiosyncrasy but was based on beliefs that recognized gender as situational and symbolic as much as a personal, innate characteristic of the individual. A result of these beliefs was the presence of an alternative gender role among groups in the Kongo and Ndonga kingdoms. According to Andrew Battel, an English prisoner of the Portuguese in the 1580s, natives of the Dombe area were “beastly in their living, for they have men in women’s apparel, whom they keep among their wives”.

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  2. Cyrus-Brooks

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    The revisionist history types in African countries now and in the black community in America go into spasms of denial whwm you point out that African empires and tribes had a very different concept of gender and sexuality before the poisonous mythologies of Christianity and Islam were introduced.
     
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