#Watch Binyavanga’s brilliant YouTube documentary calling out the BS behind “African” homophobia

We’ve been looking forward to this one. When our friends at the Guardian and BBC (and plenty of other outlets) finally reported on Binyavanga Wainaina’s wonderful essay yesterday, we learned that he had a documentary up his sleeve as well. And here it is, in six witty, moving, thoughtful, hilarious, essential, truthful parts — “We Must Free Our Imaginations,” or as he called it on Twitter last night, “What I Have to Say About Being Gay”. There are too many highlights to quote all of them here (like the bit about “the politician” who promises to dig a well but chooses to fight lesbianism instead, and yes, he gets to Nigeria’s new homophobic law). Add your favorites to the comments. Share it widely, share it well.



Elliot Ross

Elliot Ross is senior editor at Africa is a Country. He tweets at @africasacountry and @futbolsacountry

  1. “To make a business requires imagination (…) When you make your child fear things outside their window, things they can’t see. You have trapped your child, you have trapped your child to be enable to imagine”

  2. Young Africans are finally waking up… FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY. religion has pimped us for long…It’s about time we give it back to the slave masters. We don’t need anything that does not empower us as Black people!

    Great docu Wainaina!

  3. Binyavanga you made me laugh for the first time at the sheer stupidity of what i witness in Kenya daily from the pulpits through to politics and all else. This lack of self-analysis has been slowly driving me up the wall and kila mtu payukaring what some self appointed so and so says about an issue. Jameni, where did we park our brains? Then the idea of questioning issues being equated to arrogance and if that is challenged, simply abuse the person with a different opinion, better still jail them.. and oh you forgot to mention, the Pentecostals have got a new one to bind their ‘clientele’ , its known as ‘generational curses’! Jameni, nimechoka na haya mambo. As an Anglican christian i constantly wonder where it is written that being a christian= suspend all levels of thought? Thank you for putting it so succinctly. Yaani photo copy= lack of imagination. and indeed imagination iko mashinani kwa wingi..

  4. I love the part about how to breed fear is to trap our children’s imagination. that just resonated with me…

  5. I really hate the idea that his entire thought process has been summed up into his view on African homophones when what he is saying is more broader. I totally resonate with his thinking. African homophobia is a symptom of a bigger problem. We’re still colonized. Brother and sisters. Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.

  6. I like to rationality that Binyavanga is putting into this. The imprisoning nature of current day religion, the ennui when people live a life the way it is supposed to be rather than what we want it to be, the lack of imagination that really holds us back from creativeness and innovation. But am just wondering how the hell is Gayism a form creativeness or better imagination. Arguing that we have better things/vices to fight and leave the LG..sh*%t alone is very satirical. Furthermore what the hell is ‘coming out’!! anyway

    1. Perhaps Binyavanga isn’t saying being gay (or anything) is intrinsically creative, but being authentic to one’s own self and continent is. If we allow anyone to define what is African, be it gayness or who is our “leader”, our mind is colonized and we cut ourselves off from our “collective conscious creativity” (for lack of a better word).

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