The Politics of African “Moral” Dress

Gīkūyū Centre for Cultural Studies

Early this year the Ugandan parliament passed what they called an Anti-pornography bill which was soon after enacted into law. The legislation was envisaged to curb the perceived decaying moral standards of the conservative East African Nation. The law criminalizes “….. the showing of sexual parts of a person such as breasts, thighs, buttocks or sexual genitalia.” Simon Lokodo, Uganda’s Ethics and Integrity Minister and the main figure behind the Bill, clarified : “Any attire which exposes intimate parts of the human body, especially areas that are of erotic function, are outlawed. Anything above the knee is outlawed. If a woman wears a miniskirt, we will arrest her.” Since the law was passed a number women wearing mini skirts have been physically attacked and assaulted in the streets of the capital, Kampala by self appointed moral vigilantes. Here in Kenya and in South Africa women being assaulted and stripped in…

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