By Steeves Winner
“I am a homosexual, I am attracted to men and I feel good about that. I am like that and I have always been like that.”
With those words, 22-year-old Ekassi explained himself to the chief and other elders in his remote Cameroonian village.
Ekassi (a pseudonym) had always been seen as different from other villagers. His way of talking and especially his swaying often provoked comments.
Very active in cultural movements, Ekassi began a romantic relationship with one of his acquaintances in a discreet manner. The relationship lasted for just a blink of the eye, but the village’s guardians of tradition learned about it in September and summoned him before them.
That was when he acknowledged his sexual orientation without fear or jitters,.
But the chief and elders decided otherwise. They concluded that Ekassi was the victim of witchcraft. Otherwise, why would a man go against tradition and religion by loving another man, they said.
He must have been bewitched and wasn’t even aware of what he was saying, they reasoned.
To try to break the spell that they believed Ekassi was suffering from, they took him to the river that flows by the village. There he was subjected to an exorcism for homosexuality, consisting of purification rites, incantations and ritual dances aimed at freeing him from the homosexual spirit that they believed had had entered into him.
A few days later, Ekassi decided to leave the village for a new environment where he could feel safe. Ekassi has kept his new location a secret for his own safety.
Steeves Winner, the author of this article, is a Cameroonian journalist who writes under a pseudonym. Contact him at [email protected].
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