Vintage Postcard 1930′s
The postcard is from the 1930′s. It dates back to a time when Europe disregarded ethnic and tribal boundaries to divided Africa up into colonies where land and people were exploited.
More adult oriented postcards from the era that were distributed privately among like minded individuals were more risque than the above card. In their depictions of same-sex behavior, typically shown were African males with huge sexual appendages dominating willing European males. In gay mainstream and general mainstream media, there is a phobia of showing men of African descent romantically involved with one another; and, few are willing to challenge the phobia.
The postcard above is evidently different in what it shows. The card is non-erotic. All the subjects in the card are African. In the midst of largely heterosexual couplings, one gay couple is featured prominently holding hands as they lovingly look at one another without so much as a disapproving glance from the straight couples.
Same-sex relationships in Africa is nothing new as anthropological and ethnographic observations predating European colonialism reveal. There once was a time when same-sex behavior was accepted as part of the larger arc of human expression and not frowned upon. Same-sex behavior could be accepted and even valued in Africa’s many ethnic tribes. Under the intellectual and Judo-Christian influences of a Europe claiming to have only the best interest of the people always in mind, much of this acceptance and valuation disappeared. .
After the colonial powers left, much of Africa chose to keep foreign customs or laws morally frowning or criminalizing same-sex desiring folk. Observed and oral histories that were evidence of a tolerance or an outright full embracing of same-sex desiring behavior became largely denied and forgotten to be replaced by the intolerable homophobia that make for today’s headline news around the world in a now “free” Africa.