Legal and Political Framing of Homophobia in two Namibian Newspapers since Independence: An Appraisal Theoretic Analytical Approach


  • Collen Sabao



Namibia, Homophobia, Framing, Political, Legal, Appraisal, Newspapers


The most abhorred population group in Africa (and by extension in Namibia) is the LGBTQI community. Non-heterosexuality is largely condemned in most African countries for political, religious, cultural and legal reasons. Couched within Appraisal Theory, the paper examines how linguistic resources are exploited in manners that evince how homophobia is politically and legally framed in two Namibian daily newspapers – The Namibian and New Era. For example, while the world has reacted to the realities of the departure from the traditional binary definitional parameters of sexualities and sexual identities, Namibia still remains largely homophobic, together with at least 47 other African countries still criminalising homosexuality. In 2001, for example, a video documentary quotes the then President of Namibia, Dr Sam Nujoma, expressing the sentiments that “Lesbians and homosexualism, these we condemn – we reject them. In Namibia there will be no lesbian, no homosexualism” (Blecher, 2001). In August 2005, Minister of Home Affairs, Theopolina Mushelenga, publicly denounced the human rights of Namibian gays and lesbians and also asserted that “homosexuals were responsible for the HIV and AIDS pandemic” (Lorway, 2006, p. 436). Homosexuality has generally, thus, been regarded as an uncultural, unAfrican, uncommon and unacceptable phenomenon in Africa, including Namibia. In Namibia, as in other African countries, the penalty for homosexual behaviour is imprisonment. Many Namibian political leaders have publicly expressed that homosexual rights go against the legal, religious and cultural values of the country. There are political and legal imports to the rejection of homosexual behaviour patterns in Namibia as evinced in news reporting cultures. Homosexuality in Namibian political and legal discourses is largely imagined as either an ‘unAfrican’ behaviour or attributed to western influences on Africa. Linguistic expression by many Namibian politicians also evince a revulsion of homosexuality.


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How to Cite

Sabao, C. (2023). Legal and Political Framing of Homophobia in two Namibian Newspapers since Independence: An Appraisal Theoretic Analytical Approach. HERMES - Journal of Language and Communication in Business, (63), 35–48.



THEMATIC SECTION: Evaluation, argumentation and narrative(s) in conflicting contexts