AP National Writer (AP) -- Africa's gays are looking for their own Nelson Mandela -- someone who will rescue them from violence and a raft of laws that criminalize gay sex.

In other words, precisely what Mandela could not do, despite his efforts. Mandela became a hero to the global gay-rights movement for helping make South Africa a pioneer in outlawing anti-gay discrimination.

Yet activists say the laws have neither quelled violence against gays and lesbians in Mandela's homeland nor induced nations elsewhere in Africa to abandon their harsh statutes against homosexuality.

Indeed, government-encouraged intolerance of gay sex and gay-rights activism is pervasive across the continent. According to human rights groups, more than two-thirds of African countries outlaw consensual same-sex acts, and discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender people is commonplace.