Homosexual History in Africa – Zande Warriors

By OckyDub | Posted Sep 14 2011 | 26 Comments  

I think that some African Americans today have a romanticized vision of ancient Africa.  They think that every man was a king and had his kingdom, every woman was a queen with many servants, the children were all princes, and princesses.  Every one was immortal and lived forever (being sarcastic of course).Many today feel that homosexuality was something that never existed in Africa until the Europeans came and began to colonize and spread their sexual evils amongst other things to the continent’s people.  But as with most things we hear concerning this in the black church or in the barbershops or beauty salons; this is an absolute myth and lie that has been told to further demonize society’s current view of homosexuality and bi-sexuality.So often we overlook ancient and recent history and pretend things didn’t even exist because they don’t fit our present view of what we deem is morally correct or acceptable.  For example there are cave paintings that were created by the San Bushman in Africa 2000 years ago that show men having sex (seems I am not the only one who loves porn).


 While searching the internet for information related to this topic, I came across articles concerning the Zande (Azande) warrior tribe in Sudan and Congo.  These warriors were featured on a show on Spike-TV in 2010 “Deadliest Warrior: Aztec Jaguar vs Zande Warrior”.  It showcased their ferocity, weaponry and fighting skills (clip is below).  Of course what they may not have known is that in the not so distant past, these warriors not only practiced homosexuality and bi-sexuality but actually married boys or young men.


Warriors would select a boy between the ages of 12-20 years of age and go to his parents and request the boys hand in marriage.  The warrior would have to pay a bride price for the boy which would be in the form of spears (which are still valuable today) and other goods.  Once married the warrior referred to the boy’s parents as gbiore and negbiore…”father-in-law and mother-in-law”.  He and the boy addressed one another as badiare “my love or my lover”.  The boy took on house hold responsibilities that included fetching water, building a fire and holding the warrior shield when traveling.  The two slept together at night and the warrior would satisfy his sexual desires between the boy’s thighs.  It was the duty of the warrior husband to give his boy-wife a spear and shield when he became of age.  He was then trained to become a warrior and joined the warrior company.  Once a warrior, he then took on a boy-wife of his own.  This was all documented and later published by English anthropologist E.E. Evans-Pritchard in early 20th century.

This practice was not limited to just the warriors of the Zande people.  If a boy appealed to a Zande prince, the prince would take on the boy as a page or servant.  The prince would also offer the boy’s family compensation.  When or if the prince died the page/s would also be killed to join him in death because they consumed the “prince’s oil” (wow; read between the lines on that one).

There were some men who had female wives but also married boys.  When war broke out, they took their boys with them where they would perform duties at base camp.  If another man had relations with the boy, the husband could sue the other man for adultery.

This is just one of many examples that I have come across during my research.  It is widely believed with the evidence of the current fossil record that the roots of all homosapien life began in Africa.  Homosexuality and Bisexuality are apart of the over all natural dynamics of human sexuality and has existed for thousands of years…IN AFRICA!



About the Author

Octavius is a founder and editor of Cypher Avenue. He's here to help speak for us and show the world that masculine gay / bisexual men of color are not a part of the stereotypical gay normal that is seen and fed to the masses. No...we are a distinct breed, filled with character and pride. Cypher Avenue is here to show the world how we are different.

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26 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. Manhoodis | July 7th, 2013

    Thank you for posting a stimulating article. It moved me with passion to continue to research your findings. What I discovered was interesting points that you fail to mention in your article, giving us all together a different/selective viewpoint. I know there is something on the inside of us that wants America to have a more tolerance, equal expression of different forms of sexuality, but it is what it is.

    I Goggled, “Sexual inversion among the azande” I found a more complete report. According to the accounts, most of the ancient men of Zande did not think of themselves as gay/homosexual, as it is today. This love of boys from the Azande male viewpoint arose from the lack of available women to them. It was a war like atmosphere during this time and women was very few, due to their culture, because most girls were engaged (in a legal sense of married) very young often at birth. The other women were married or sent/sold to royal harems.

    Due to the wars the men live together. Within their ranks two sections. The young boys were almost like slaves/servants, not co-equal partners. They had to act like women, for they were treated like women, even taking on some of the duties set aside for women only. (Sorry Ladies, no disrespect) Read the article for yourself. It was more out of fear and a basic sexual need for sex and selected companionship, than wanting to be in a loving relationship. The risk was too great for the young men to be caught in an adulterous affair with a woman. If, caught the young men would often be mutilate, cutting off this ears, upper lips, genitals and hands, if not instant death.

    In most cases there was no anal penetrable sex, the older men was satisfied by placing their penis in between the thighs of the young males. The thought of penetrating their boy-wives disgusted the men of Zande according to the report. I agree there was homosexual activity but we cannot in any way think that the Zande men/culture were the blueprint that has contribute to where gay/bi-sexual men are today. That somehow we are to see them as an ancient example for men of color homosexual relationships for us to admire and follow.

    In my opinion, the article expressed a more closely relatable current situation today in unions between young boys, old(er) men love, if there is such a thing? I need not put a title to it for there are those who will judge. Adult male homosexuality as we know it today in my opinion is not applicable to this ancient tribe. As a matter of fact I have not discovered one yet. I am still not convinced, if we need one.

    • Cameron | July 7th, 2013

      While I agree there were some pertinent omissions to the article, it seemed to me that rather than giving us those facts that were missing, you presented several opinions and pointed out details that were implied or could reasonably have been inferred from the post.

      For instance, the author outright stated that the older warrior took satisfaction from thigh frottage from the apprentice, and yet you reiterated that idea like the author had mislead the audience.

      That, if anything, says to me that you also have an agenda you’re trying to promote, which you implicitly accused the author of, ironically, via your comments, such as selective viewpoints, America’s desire for tolerance, etc let alone your assumption that the author suggested the Sanders as this blueprint to be admired. That’s complete opinion & interpretation.

  2. Randy | July 7th, 2013

    That view of the Azande is late in the game when their genetic homosexualness had largely become diluted out of the gene pool due to their inability to bear biological offspring.

    The original clad of Azande that practiced homosexuality was a breakaway clan of actual homosexuals who were probably persecuted by the parental population thus forging their own social group. But due to the eventual extinction of their genes (since they couldn’t bear biological offspring) only a traditional custom remained and the practice of homosexual sex was reduced to thigh rubbing.

  3. Ero11 | July 7th, 2013

    Great article my man…..your writing is tight on this one yo! Surfing for info on the San Bushmen cave paintings is what first directed me to this site.

  4. Ghizlaine | July 7th, 2013

    Wherever in history, countries, societies homosexuality is found, it is unnatural and goes against nature. Yes, it was recorded from Biblical times (my first thought: Sodom and Gomorrah). The African warriors’ practice of rubbing thighs does not in my mind constitute homosexuality. Let’s take a heterosexual male with an extended prison term who engages in male on male sexual contact. Does that make him a homosexual? Particularly if this current practice was absent from his prior prison term life. This simply is a case of desperate times calling for desperate measures. A question: If homosexuality is normal why is there a constant need to justify, clarify, defend, and promote. In fact most people are quite unconcerned with what consenting adults want to do in/with their private lives. A challenge: If the “facts” are going to be presented as such. Please present them within their context.

    • Coshamo | July 7th, 2013

      Ghizilaine, you would not be trying to speak for entire continent of Africa as to the practice of homosexuality. Homosexuality is just as normal as heterosexuality. It does not need to be justified. IT IS AN ISNESS! I AM, BECAUSE I AM. You cannot make me go away and claim that I am an anomaly i.e. not normal. I am normal in every respect. You have been whitenized to the point where you deny your cultural heritage and history. Homosexuality existed within every corner of Africa.

      The information being stated by MANHOODIS in the rebuttal about the Azande people lacks key points of research, most notably: Arabs practiced castration, mutilation, and enslavement of Black African males to keep them from having sex with the women in the harems aka whore houses. These Black Africa males were known as enuchs (without balls/genitals) and Arabs had sex with these Black males at will. It is all there for the reading and asking @ MANHOODIS.

      There are many more stories that are rather vivid and convincing of how young Black African males practice homosexuality during and throughout puberty which most times continued into adulthood. Additionally, these relationships were not only encouraged, but was looked upon as a normal part of the growing and development process of young pubescent MALES and FEMALES! If you do the research on this subject you will find this homosexual cultural continuity repeated throughout all of Africa.

      As an aside, have any of you watched the documentary, “The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan”? it is well worth the time and effort and you will find similarities in the exact same thing that is being stated in this article. It is available on Netflix the last time I checked and it is a PBS documentary and you may be able to watch the entire documentary on PBS, or if nothing else, you can view snippets and pieces on YOUTUBE. It is a fascinating documentary on and about homosexual practice deep with a MUSLIM culture. That’s right I said it, GAY MUSLIMS. Go see it for yourself. The film/documentary speaks for itself. The exact same thing being discussed in this article… TO A FAULT.

    • Ocky | July 7th, 2013

      No amount of facts can change the mind of fools when their mind is already made up.

      A better question is why are you on a gay website?

      • Coshamo | July 7th, 2013

        It’s ok Ocky I just let them be who they be. They are always lurking around in the dark crevices trying to decide on who they want to be. They need to make up their minds. When they do we will be here waiting on them. LOL

    • David T Essex | February 4th, 2017

      Context. Something you have zero of.

  5. TT | July 7th, 2013

    What is disturbing, none of u seem concerned or even a bit disgusted that these were underage boys in a lot of cases, children, molestation etc. spin it how u want. but that’s what it is…

    • Ocky | July 7th, 2013

      (sigh) there isn’t any spin.

      Older men having relations with younger males AND FEMALES has existed throughout history and still continues until this day.

      Throughout the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and India; young girls and boys get married or have unions as young as 12 and 13.

      This is ancient, not so ancient, and recent history, that exist. Not highlighting it or not talking about it serves what purpose?

      Just because you are or I do not personally conduct ourselves this way or agree with the practice doesn’t mean I will automatically judge others religions, cultures and traditions that date back thousands of years.

      I am sure you are a bible thumper and I am sure you don’t discuss in church on Sunday how all you heroes in the bible had young multiple girl wives, but yet you worship them anyway.

  6. Gbazamangi | November 15th, 2013

    My friend your presentation is 100% wrong. The 1st picture is for warriors. The 2nd is for witchdoctor. Probably the indigenous Azande of your homeland do, but not those of whom I am a descendant. Before our king was killed by Colonial army, which we fought and captured prison of wars, we used to amputate the whole testicles, penis, ears and lips in case you slept with a wife of somebody. We used to marry a girl immediately after her birth after being declared by midwife that it is a baby girl., regardless to your age. The man has so many wives, then why struggling with little boys’ anuses? The word homosexual is not in Azande vocabulary. The word “Badia” has 2 meanings, especially in ancient time, and is being differentiate by pronunciation. Ba’dia, means my “friend”. It also means my “client”. “Badia” means secret affairs between a man and woman. The woman may be a wife, divorcee, widow or single. Because, of its association with love affairs, this word is sparingly used today, with stressed accent. My friend, if it happens that a Zande man tortured you, that is that Zande man’s affairs with you., not all Azande men. Yes, Azande are everywhere today. Anyone may be bankrupted and you seduced him, then surrendered yourself to him. That is no his problem. He just played with rectum to earn his living. He may be guilty if he unsafely engaged you. Please, don’t fool people on web with baseless information.

    • Ocky Williams | November 16th, 2013

      The lesson here folks…homosexuality is a thing invented by whites to destroy Africa. Gbazamangi…whether you like or not, your mindset and thinking is on the wrong side of history (past and future).

      • David T Essex | February 4th, 2017

        Jesus Christ you’re a Fucking idiot or a goddamm troll. Get the fuck off my planet.

  7. minus | January 16th, 2014

    These warriors are what we have so far, they still engaged. there are clips on youtube where you can see them interact with each other.

  8. tshepo | March 5th, 2014

    Gay was not and has never been a white thing. Its not a choice that people make. You are born gay. There has always been gays even before white people came to Africa. Any sexual pleasure with same sex is homosexuality whether there is penetration or not. There is a lot of gays I know from Zimbabwe or Uganda but still marry women because they are expected to and can not be themselves. I am black gay and proud of it.

    Do you worry about what someone on the next table in a restaurant is ordering? Dont worry what we do behind closed doors.

    • blacklace | April 14th, 2014

      As a person I could care less about what ‘homosexuals’ do, in the US, Africa or any where else, but as a mother I have an issue with it, its hard enough being a parent these days, trying teaching our children what’s Biblically right and wrong, without having to explain extra sh^t to them like why is that boy kissing that one… I have three sons and I’ll be damned if any of them bring a man to my house talking about this is my partner. Gods word was very clear when he said that they’d BURN in their lust for one another, he wasn’t talking about a man and a women, but men upon men and women upon women. Now if your a nonbeliever I guess you have and worst problem than being gay. NOTE: WE ALL SIN, as is our nautre, its all about CHOICE, he gave us one, its up to us to make the right ones. FYI your not BORN gay just like drug addicts and murders aren’t Born that way they made that choice and so did you.

      • icStupidPeople | April 24th, 2014

        As a mother, why don’t you try teaching your children tolerance blacklace! That’s what God truly said, that only HE had the right to judge, YOU do not.
        & as for your sons bringing home a man, well obviously you can’t tolerate that when you have such a literal view of the bible, you need to keep doing your duty with your husband until you create 3 daughters for your 3 sons to marry & propagate from – just like the bible says Adam & Eve’s children did to populate the world

      • alton
        NYCforEVER | April 24th, 2014

        The more interesting question, Blacklace, is why are you on a Gay Webpage pushing your religious beliefs? How did you happen across Cypher Avenue, and what is the real anger behind your conviction? News flash, you bein’ “DAAAMNED” to have one of your sons bring a man home as a partner is not gonna stop it from happening, IF it’s even going to happen. As far as burning in hell for this supposed “SIN”, that remains to be seen. NONE of us walking this earth know what is gonna go down after we die, UNTIL after we’re dead. Our beliefs are means by which we cope with the “Way of the World”. Like it or not, not YOU nor any other religious zealot knows anymore about the “afterlife” (if there even is one) than what I know about it according to MY religious beliefs, or anyone else theirs. You and all these other über religious people are stressing yourselves trying to “control” something you have absolutely NO control over, and you end up hurting those people that you’re trying to exert this feigned control over, all as per a book written by, followed by, and defended (to the DEATH of mind you, MANY cultures throughout history) by people that until pretty recently, didn’t give two shits about you (or me) and viewed our ancestors as nothing more than expendable property. But I supposed that was all in “GOD’s plan” to teach us “Pagans” a lesson for not knowing anything about HIM until the white “saviors” came along and dragged us savages out the jungles, huh…

      • alton
        NYCforEVER | April 24th, 2014

        ONe more thing, people ARE born with drug addictions. Have you never seen the unfortunate cases of “Crack Babies” (yes I hate that term, but that’s what they were/are referred to as). That may not a be the greatest example since those kids are born with traces of the drug their mother’s ingest but, people ARE born with inclinations to thievery, and people ARE born with murderous tendencies. All these attribute tend to manifest in early childhood and progressively get worse as one ages. Homosexuality is no different a genetic mark than the aforementioned. It most times manifests in childhood and becomes more prevalent with age. Societal standards determine whether or not these people end up “DL” as people LOVE to say. Homosexuality exists to a degree in all “upper” lifeforms. It doesn’t contribute to the continuance of a bloodline, but neither does a women being born sterile, or a man being born impotent/ with faulty-useless sperm. These are all part of our genetic coding, just like people can be born with genes that make them geniuses, there are people born with genes that make them gay, that make them excellent builders, mathematicians, murderers, rapists, warmongers, etc etc. It’s called, LIFE. Roll with it. Don’t come with that “I don;’t have a prob w/ homosexuals, BUT…”, because that just means you DO have a prob with it. You just choose not to voice on it until chance would happen that it hits home (one of your sons)

      • GOD Wyeil nega | March 14th, 2016

        You are a disgusting homophobic bithc, YOUR god is NOT fuciking real,

        you god is far more evil than you think, I tell you, god allows slavery, abuse of women, and kills men women and children.

        GOD is not real, and all this were done by humans.

        You DARE impose your sense
        of right and wrong based on the bible.

        You are a disgusting arrogant bitch, go eat your own period!

        Woman you don’t deserve these children

        • Harus shus | July 30th, 2016

          You should calm down a bit son
          You don’t have to get so personal
          At the end of the day men and women are opposites
          North Pole and South Pole for example
          We all know how magnets work
          I feel it is the same when we take a partner
          No offence but I feel the gay and lesbian world are forcing shit together which are naturally meant to repel
          There’s no life in it only death you can’t reproduce so you adopt

          • GOD_Wyeil_Nega | September 21st, 2016

            You dare tell me that gays are forcing the ISSUE,

            MALE AND FEMALES ARE not fucking MAGNETS you stupid bitch, magnets literally appliy force to repell each other in same poles.
            Animals which humans are do not exert a force of any kind.

            You anaology is a sad and pathetic excuse to impose your shit on us all, this is why i hate you humans, your arrogance is DISGUSTING.

            I AM NOT AFFECT YOU.


  9. Dusted and Digusted | July 13th, 2014

    Lies. E.E. Evans-Pritchard is a known racist.

  10. Alexander | July 30th, 2016

    Homophobic racist. None of what you pointed out was on consensual hence who cares.

  11. Lola | October 18th, 2016

    I have yet to come across an actual homosexual culture in Africa or ancient Africa. But we can certainly find one in Greece, and a very defined one.

    People will continue to try to justify this abhorrent behavior in order to assuage their feelings of inadequacy and guilt.

    Of course homosexuality is normal. And so are club feet, heart murmurs, cleft palates, addictive personalities that predispose some to alcoholism, drug use, and nicotine, there are Siamese twins, and people born with all manner of deformities and defects. Homosexuality is just as normal as those defects. I don’t care what year we’re in: homosexuality is COUNTERPRODUCTIVE to the very vital human endeavor of procreating. It doesn’t matter if we have over-population or people can adopt- a healthy organism made up of living cells does not discriminate in that way – the sole mandate of such an organism (healthy) is to SURVIVE, to advance the race (human), to multiply. Even single-cell organisms are subject to this elemental mechanism.

    Anal/rectal sex is repulsive and always will be. Whether it is heterosexual or homosexual. There are certain acts we have become accustomed and acclimated to that are not biologically healthy.

    I’m an atheist and the mother of a gay man in his 20s. I neither hate gay people (quite the opposite, adore my boy – he’s a great human being – and also love and respect my two gay cousins – a male and a female). It doesn’t change the way I feel about homosexuality. I think it should be treated as a disorder. My son also has body dimorphia (although he is gorgeous), ADHD, and anxiety. I believe homosexuality is a disorder but there is probably also “something in the water”. We live in a world full of plastics that function as hormone disruptors and GMO soybeans that do the same. We live in a world where atrazine exists. No one can tell me that all those beautiful Atlanta African American men are not being subject to something strange. The fact that the CDC also resides in Atlanta is concerning. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2842049/

    I sympathize with people who are born homosexual. And I think they deserve all the rights any other citizen of the world deserves. But I think it should not be normalized and celebrated and accepted as a wonderful “normal” thing.

    The Bonobo monkeys exhibit SOME homosexual behavior but later mate with the opposite sex. Monkeys also throw feces, and I’ve seen a few dogs eat vomit and feces. Some animals eat their young. “Normal” is not healthy or does not always make sense. Alcoholism is normal but people who have this disease are TREATED. We don’t celebrate it and normalize it. Same with obesity. Although we have an emerging culture of celebrating obesity I think it is dangerous. There may be a few odd folks who are meant to be obese but the alarming rate of obese people is a result of an enabling culture, not biology. (I am an overweight women). One may have a PREDISPOSITION to obesity but no one is actually born obese. This society is an enabling society and homosexuality is being enabled ad nauseam.

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