By Chumua Jerry Geh
In Africa, homosexuality is considered as a taboo. Being a homosexual is not only considered as a sacrilege by tradition, it is also punishable by law. Cases are bound that many young boys and girls have been harassed, tortured and some are even alleged to have disappeared under mysterious circumstance. A pathetic example happened in September 2010, when Nontsikelelo Tyatyeka a young 21 year old lesbian disappeared in Nyanga Township, Cape Town. Her body was found in the trash a year later. The circumstances of her death were horrific. While Lesbians and gays suffer injustice from the population, the laws in some African countries are also very hard.
In Cameroon, Section 347 of the Penal Code states: "whoever has sexual relationships with a person of the same sex shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years and a fine from 20.000 FCFA to 200.000 FCFA". Beside that, it is a common phenomenon to hear that somebody has been harassed and more to that suspended from moving with anybody or banished from the village because he/she identified herself/himself as a lesbian or gay person.
In November 2011, two young men were sentenced to five years simply for being gay in Cameroon. Human Rights activist Me Alice Nkom, is quoted to have said that "violence against gay people in Cameroon has skyrocketed to unprecedented level". The situation she added is quickly becoming a crisis. Many young Cameroonians have suffered for practicing homosexuality.
One of the latest victims wanted by police for practicing lesbianism we gathered is a certain Lang Emerencia Wai. She is alleged to have encouraged her schoolmates and youths in the practice of lesbianism. Close family sources hinted that the police have launched a search for her. Her parents, we gathered have been placed under duress by police. The fact that she also disappeared from her parent’s home further complicate the situation. More so, her former principal is also alleged to have informed the police that her activities in the school campus made students not to concentrate in their studies, which has made many parents to look at her as a dangerous element.
Even though her where about is unknown, a close family friend hinted that they are afraid because most of her friends practicing lesbianism were arrested and it is alleged that one died. Lang’s case is just one in a million of others that have caught between the law, tradition and Human Rights in Africa.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa