The expression Choko belongs to the Tanzanian street slang called “lugha ya mitaani” (languages of the city’s neighborhoods) and it is used to refer to bottom homosexual men. The origin of the term and its relationship with homosexuality seems confusing and various possibilities are pointed out.
Some derive it, without further ado, from the French word “chocolat”, perhaps because of the youthfulness of the so-called and the color of their skin. Others point to the Swahili word “choco”, which means oven. Its sexual connotation would derive from the form of such ovens, similar to that of the butt.
However, the theory that stands out is that the term “choko” would be nothing more than the abbreviation or shortening of the Tanzanian word “chokolaa” or “chokoraa”, which derives from the Kenyan Sheng slang “chokora”, all of them used to refer to street or homeless boys.
Although in principle there was not too much relationship between this term and homosexual behavior, we have found several studies that indicate that homosexual practices (including anal penetration) among street boys were the norm (at least in the geographical scope of the study ) and not transactional sex as one might think. They were a complex pattern of affective and sexual relationships framed within a model called “kunyenga”, that we could translate as “comfortable sex”. Boys distinguish this from the so-called “real sex ” being this one heterosexual sex.
Also very striking is the fact that the “kunyenga” is justified as an alternative to homosexuality since there seems to be a belief, fostered by the church, that jerking off causes or is a sign of a homosexual deviation. Therefore, and to avoid this tremendous danger of being carried away by the demon of homosexuality hiding behind masturbation, there was no better way to let some steam off than playing fake sex with a good friend or fellow of misery.
With that being said, and without more information available, we will leave it to the readers to decide which is the most likely origin of the term “choko” to name homosexual men in Swahili.