By Melanie Nathan, July 24, 2017.
The importance in showcasing love stories and the relationship evolution to marriage, illustrating how couples avail themselves of tradition and of the laws that equally pertain to all, is critical to an LGBT movement in Africa- where homophobia is rampant through the lies that have perpetuated misunderstanding. This outward expression must apply to that which is dramatically needed in the one country that provides equality. South Africans must come out with their stories, however not only as as a torch bearer for other South Africans, but also as one for all LGBTI people on the Continent, to reach other countries where equality has not only been denied, but where relationships have been criminalized.
To this end I applaud those who have the courage to come out with stories illustrating that all human relationships can be expressed with societal as well as legal equality. Gay couples too can express similar trajectories to heterosexual couples. While not all LGBTQI people desire or choose binary realms – they have the option for their relationships where society and law sets the basis for tolerance and acceptance. And this is important to express publicly in countries like South Africa where the extensive homophobia seems to defy the Constitutional equality that ought to prevail for sexual orientation and gender identity. And the hope would be that South Africans would be providing the standard for the rest of the Continent.
Over 30 African countries still criminalize homosexuality through old Colonial penal codes – and more recently some have added or promoted harsher criminalizing legislation, such as Nigeria and Uganda. One would hope through telling the stories that demystify and negate the lie that homosexuality is only about the sex act, in the one country on the Continent where those stories should be safe to tell, by virtue of legal protection, that those stories would spread and be told in the countries where people seem to be more confused by the earlier and continued Colonialist imposition.
Indeed to suggest and overtly portray homosexuality as “unAfrican” is simply not true when Africans are quite capable of authentically expressing their love and entering into the relationships that embrace authentic selves, in the same fashion as any human anywhere. For African love to be imposed upon through messaging that same-sex love is “unAfrican” perpetuates the lie by the early Colonialists and more recent Colonial Evangelicals. It is Africa itself that must unravel this and restore humanity to all love – and what better than the influence of the one country that has attained full equality for all.
And so it is with this that I commend the publication in South Africa, Mamba Online, and the courageous couple for this important beautiful love story: “ A GAY AFRICAN LOVE STORY”
On a continent where homosexuality is often seen as foreign and unnatural Tshepo Cameron Modisane and Thoba Calvin Sithole are loudly proclaiming their love for each other. Meet this proudly gay and engaged-to-marry couple who’re determined to live and love freely.
The now 27-year-old men first met and became friends while studying in Durban but lost touch after Tshepo returned to Joburg. Thoba, who is originally from KZN, later moved to Gauteng in 2011. ……
………“The great step that we took in our relationship as a gay couple was introducing each other to our families. We are so blessed to have supportive families who care about us. Even though we are gay they still love us.”
The relationship strengthened and, one Friday evening at home in June last year, Tshepo proposed to Thoba. He accepted and the couple decided to do things the African way; respecting the traditions and customs associated with marriage.
“We communicated our intentions to get married to both our families as we wanted to have a traditional African ceremony and also have a traditional Western ‘fairytale white wedding,’” explains Thoba.
And so it is my hope that more South Africans will come out with their stories and that more bloggers and media will find ways to convey these stories to enhance the full African journey – where hopefully all of Africa will restore life and society to pre-Colonial truth – where all love is admittedly African.
By Melanie Nathan
African Human Rights Coalition