This article is a contribution to the conversation on what lies at the crux of the contradiction of South Africa’s progressive constitution and legal framework with reference to sexuality and limited access of the rights these convey for a vast number of people in same-sex relationships. This article locates what lies at the heart of this contradiction as rooted in the (colonial) cultural archive of gender and sexuality that has historically privileged heterosexuality. We continue to see this through neoliberal universalist rights approaches, in which the nongovernmental organizational narrative is deeply imbricated. Organizations like Dutch international human rights funder Hivos that have funded the championing of sexual rights often fail to fully engage with and interrogate this (colonial) cultural archive. This is the customary in its hegemonic form. By deploying an intersectional decolonial approach, this article sheds light on the locus of colonial difference and offers three nuanced infrapolitical narratives of African same-sex intimacies operating at this locus—queering the customary—and this way reimagining African sexuality, thereby offering an epistemic reconstitution.

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