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Code of Fear - Homophobia in Cameroon

March 27, 2024

In Cameroon, homosexuality is a criminal offense. In 2013, the journalist and gay rights activist Eric Lembembe was murdered. A filmmaker who knew him sets out to explore the roots of homophobia in his home nation.


Eric Lembembe was tortured and murdered because he was gay. His killing was not an isolated case. The straight Cameroonian filmmaker Appolain Siewe was a friend of Lembembe. Upon reading about the murder in 2018, he travels back to his homeland from Europe. Raised himself in a climate of homophobia, Siewe begins to uncover and question the taboos and hatred towards gay people in his native country. Shocked at Lembembe’s murder, he sets out to understand how difficult life is for the LGBTQI community in Cameroon. And he confronts members of his own family, including his father. The father breaks off contact with his son, claiming his film is bringing shame on the family. What are the reasons behind this homophobia? Why is it still illegal to be gay in many African countries? What part does colonialism play in all of this? What role is played by Christianity? Siewe’s own personal experiences, poignant encounters with activists who continue to campaign for their rights despite the risks, and his conversations with Cameroonian scientists, sociologists and human rights activists offer a comprehensive insight into the issues at stake in Cameroon.

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About the show

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Exciting stories, a wide variety of topics, fascinating pictures: every day, half or three-quarters of an hour of carefully researched background reports from the worlds of politics, business, science, culture, nature, history, lifestyle and sport.