Kenya’s education minister Mutula Kilonzo is threatening to ban schoolchildren from reading a book which homophobic campaigners claim contains gay themes.
Kilonzo says the government will review whether The Whale Rider, by gay New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera, is suitable to be taught in secondary schools after angry parents complained the book would ‘corrupt’ children’s minds.
‘It is news to me that such a book was selected. I don’t care how intelligent the writer is, I will get it removed since Kenya is not ready for such a curriculum, at least not under my watch,’ Kilonzo said, reported Kenyan newspaper the Daily Nation.
The book, which became a part of the curriculum in February 2012, tells the story of a 12-year-old Maori girl who wants to become the chief of the tribe, despite her father telling her that role is reserved for men only.
Homophobic campaigners in Kenya claim the text contains several gay references, including its heroine Kahu saying she doesn’t ‘like boys’ and a part where two men share a bed.
Any literature with any element of gayism or lesbianism should not be allowed in our schools,” said Musau Ndunda, secretary general of Kenya National Association of Parents.