The standard explanation offered by Africans opposed to gay rights is that homosexuality is alien to their culture and was introduced to Africa by European colonialists. A good deal of African-American homophobia relies on the same justification. But late 19th-century records on Africa and African oral history show that homosexual practices existed in pre-colonial Africa. One case in point are the Azande people in the north-east of modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where it was acceptable for kings, princes and soldiers to take young male lovers.
Further evidence for the existence of homosexuality is that pre-colonial African ethnic groups ascribed tribal classifications to gay people. While some of these categorisations had negative associations, many had neutral connotations. Certain tribes in pre-colonial Burkina Faso and South Africa regarded lesbians as astrologers and traditional healers. A number of tribal groups in Cameroon and Gabon believed homosexuality had a medicinal effect. In pre-colonial Benin, homosexuality was viewed as a boyhood phase that males passed through and eventually grew out of.