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LGBTQ+ people in Central Africa
Transgender people and homoerotic relationships in Angola, Cameroon, DRC and CAR
Jimbandaa (Umbundu/Mbunda/ Ovimbundu)
Records describe these people as a “discreet and powerful caste” in pre-colonial Angolan society… but research indicates that their assigned sex at birth was male and they wore traditional women’s garb, engaged in women’s cultural roles in their societies, and their chosen name, jimbandaa, is a feminine engendering of the word mbándá, which translated means “medicine man.”
Also known as chibadi, chibanda, chibados, , kibamba, quimbanda. See Boy-Wives and Female Husbands (willsworld.org)
Same-sex marriage among the Imbangala
Andrew Battell, an English traveller in the 1590s, wrote this of the Imbangala of Angola: "… they have men in women's apparel, whom they keep among their wives."
Kiembe lexan homoerotic friendships (Bafia)
In 1921, German ethnographer Günther Teonmann quoted a local calling homosexuality a "national custom" among the Bafia people in his book Die Homosexualität bei den Negern Kameruns.
Bian nkû”ma (Bene, Bulu, Fang, Jaunde, Mokuk, Mwele, Ntum and Pangwe)
Amongst Bantu-speaking Pouhain farmers (Bene, Bulu, Fang, Jaunde, Mokuk, Mwele, Ntum and Pangwe) in present-day Gabon and Cameroon, homosexual intercourse was known as bian nkû”ma– a medicine for wealth which was transmitted through sexual activity between men.
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DRC and Central African Republic
Ndongo-techi-la “boy-wives” (Azande)
A warrior who is ready for this would select a boy between the ages of 12-20, go to his parents’ house and request the boy’s hand in marriage. He would have to pay a bride price for the boy which is usually in the form of spears and other items. Once married, the husband would then have to take care of the boy’s parents, who are now his in-laws.
The Zande people also live in South Sudan, where the anthropologist Evans-Pritchard encountered the court of Prince Gangura. His observations are recounted in Homosexuality in “Traditional” Sub-Saharan Africa (studyres.com) :
…many of the young warriors married boys, and a commander might have more than one boy-wife. When a warrior married a boy … he and the boy addressed one another as badiare, ‘my love’ and ‘my lover’... When the boy grew up he joined the company and took a boy-wife in his turn. It was the duty of the husband to give his boy-wife a spear and a shield when he became a warrior. He then took a new boy-wife. Thus, Kuagbiaru, a member and later a commander of one of Prince Gangura’s companies, married three boys in succession.
Not an exhaustive list.