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At the height of Nyayoism, KANU hawk Kamotho said that pictures of Moi should be hung in our bedrooms. That's how reactionary politics had invaded our intimate lives.

My generation was sexually repressed, which is linked to the way we are also politically and socially stunted.
This sexual repression came in the promotion of the purity movement among educated, Christian youths of the 80s and 90s. The sexual purity movement targetted educated Kenyans (hence its prevalence in schools) and was an overt political project.
The purity movement was vicious and traumatizing. It made youths sit on their sexual lives. A certain book "I kissed dating goodbye" taught against any form of intimacy before marriage. It was circulated and used in Kenyan church circles.
Sexual purity traumatized a generation of women and stunted a generation of men. Kenyans report of chewed gum being passed around in church meetings on relationships as an illustration of what happens to women when they have sex.
A biblical story of the violent rape of Tamar was used to tell us why we must not have sex before marriage.

Such stories led to women experiencing sex as trauma even after they got married and sex was supposedly legit. And that had health implications for decades to come.
Men we're no better served. They couldn't express intimate feelings, they had no idea about foreplay and other preludes to sexual intimacy. A joke we used to tell was that when a "born again" man proposes marriage, he can't ask "will you marry me?" He quotes Amos 3:3.
The sexual purity movement targetted educated Kenyans (hence its prevalence in schools) and was an overt political project of youth expected to join the Kenyan elites. It came from Southern white evangelicalism as a package called "family values."
Apart from sexual purity, "family values" also included focus on nuclear family and homeschooling.

As Rev. Hartgrove said, the family values movement was backlash against the civil rights movement in the US.…
The civil rights movement implied that blacks could run for public office and their kids could attend public schools. The Brown vs. Board of Education court case in the US Supreme Court had ruled that seperate schools for whites and blacks were unconstitutional.
This racial equality was unacceptable to white supremacy, but they could not say openly because racism was making a global laughing stock of the USA. At the height of the independence struggles and the cold war, the strongest propaganda against the US referred to its racism.
White pathology had to hide its racism better, so it approached the evangelicals with the idea of "family values." "Family values" was racism and white pathology without mentioning race.
So "parents first" was a way of saying that white parents had a right to prevent their kids from mingling with black children.

That's the roots of the "parents first" jargon that we repeat here.…
What I don't understand (or what frightens me) is why we keep importing racist ideologies, the worst of the United States, into our churches and schools. From 1920s, any time GoK wants to suppress people, it imports racist ideologies for public policy. Even CBC is racist.
Family values was useful to GoK in the late 80s and early 90s when it was defuding schools due to corruption and pressure from World Bank . This was now the time that my generation was starting to get married and have children.
To prevent us from asking questions about public services, we were preached to "family values" of purity before marriage and raising kids in "godly" schools or homeschooling instead.

Of course, the clergy couldn't see the connection between neoliberal politics and sexual purity.
Because of their bad theological education, Kenyan clergy wouldn't study the connection between politics and theology. They couldn't see the strange coincidence that while GoK was privatizating social services, the church was preaching homeschooling and Christian education.
But clergy have always been deliberately naive. It was the same naivete of the missionaries who thought that their idea of "salvation" had no link to the colonial ideology of "civiliation."

On the other hand, black theology was not naive.
People like James Cone were unapologetic that theology IS about life outside the Bible, not the Bible alone. Just as white supremacy and colonial/racist theology are linked, so must black liberation be linked to a black liberation theology.
But have you ever heard black or liberation theology preached at a Kenyan pulpit, or taught in a Kenyan bible class?

The pain that we suffered under the purity theology was not a side effect of evangelicalism. It was a deliberate goal.
Making my generation of educated Kenyans fight against ourselves and the people we love, so intimately in ways we cannot publicly express, was politics of control.

My generation is not only sexually repressed; we are also politically and socially stunted. They're all connected.
That's why Kenyan Christian speak in rigid and lifeless metaphors even when they are supposed to be expressive, vulnerable and intimate. It is why we talk about "not judging" when we need to talk about the impact of actions by people in leadership.
All this passive aggression and avoidance of intimacy, vulnerability and truth were re-enforced in our sexual lives. That's why no matter what I say about oppression in politics and education, Kenyans can't hear. The oppression has already made a home in their sexual lives.
But exposing the church here does not exonerate the eugenics agenda that has captured reproductive health. Of course, Gates or whoever is not going to say "you Africans are too many." He will sponsor reproductive health in the name of concern for African women or poverty.
There are other interests that have poisoned public conversations about sex, like the toxic wars between neoliberal feminists and #boychild activists. BOTH sides suppress men. One side says men are trash, the other side agrees and says it's the feminists' fault.
Then there's the war on how many genders can be named and on identities based on whom we sleep with. In that conversation, Africans are always on the wrong side of "progressive" politics, and nobody talks about culture wars like homonationalism.
What we need is an explicitly African politics of sex. We must be deliberate in talking about expressions of love, beauty and intimacy based on African esthetics and metaphors, African arts (song, dance and poetry), and acknowledge our history of oppression and liberation.
The Negritude and black arts movement provided great expressions of politically conscious African sexuality. When the Negritude poets praised black women, they were praising not only women but Africa and affirming their own manhood as AFRICAN men.
And yes, that I've walked into a trap about by biases but I don't care. We can't be everything to everyone. Whoever can do better is welcome to do so.

The point is that whatever politics we want in our education, our faith, our governance must also be in our intimate lives.
When you see people nitpiking details on sexuality/gender with little (or very neoliberal things) to say about other facets of our lives, that that's usually a good sign that they are toxic.
I'll end this thread with the letter which Patrice Lumumba (of CONGO, please) wrote to his wife. I consider it one of Africa's best love letters in recent times.…
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