In late 2018, Dar es Salaam’s regional commissioner, Paul Makonda, issued a chilling directive. "Give me their names," he said of gay residents of Tanzania’s largest city. "My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them next Monday." The threat to round up members of the city’s LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual/transgender, intersex and queer/ questioning) community, in a country where same-sex acts between men are punishable by a life sentence, left gay Tanzanians fearing for their lives. In SA — where discrimination based on sexual orientation has been banned since 1996 and same-sex marriage legal since 2006 — it was a disquieting reminder that life for gays and other sexual minorities remains legally and socially far more difficult — and often far more dangerous — in much of the rest of Africa. There are some signs of progress. Last month, Angola decriminalised homosexual sex, erasing the "vices against nature" provision from its penal code — a hangover from Portu...

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