A Gay Zulu Wedding and the Danger of a Single LGBT African Story
Male and Married: The Gay Zulu Wedding and the Danger of a Single LGBT African Story
In case you missed it, a few weeks ago, two gay black South African men tied the knot at their 200-guest traditional wedding in KwaDukuza, the first of its kind in the old Zulu capital.
Love birds Tshepo Modisane and Thoba Sithole, both proudly Zulu and Tswana, have made their union a part of South Africa’s history by deciding to go public with their gay African traditional wedding ceremony, with a few twists:
In place of the customary lobolo (bride price or dowry), via which the husband customarily offer’s the wife’s family money and/or gifts, they’ve decided to opt for gender parity and, instead, offer gifts to each of their families in thanks for raising them. They also plan to use the hyphenated version of both their last names, Sithole-Modisane, and are planning to start a family soon using a surrogate (though this report says they’ll be adopting.)
In the video report (below), the couple shares, “It’s against this idea that being gay is unAfrican… Being gay is as African as being black. We are a part of our culture. Thoba is Zulu and I’m Tswana. We’re rooted in our culture and very excited about it.”
On paper, South Africa boasts the friendliest constitution, which protects its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) citizens from discrimination based on race, gender and sexual orientation. Yet, the country’s struggle to shift cultural attitudes towards acceptance for this marginalized group of people, especially in rural areas and townships, remains.
According to this Human Rights Watch report, “Black lesbians and transgender men in South African townships and rural areas face an overwhelming climate of discrimination and violence despite protections promised them in the country’s constitution.” It’s no wonder, then, that the mere optics of the “first gay traditional African wedding,” warrant its celebration as a historical milestone for gay Africans everywhere.
Denis Nzioka, founder and editor of Identity Kenya, a news organization covering sexual and gender minorities in Kenya, remarked in an interview, “The gay Zulu wedding was epic, if not pioneering. Having seen the video and photos and customs I was amazed at how the two mixed their love and celebrated it in an ‘African’ way.” And in response to what’s become a slogan amongst anti-gay African leaders, “Homophobia is unAfrican,” Nzioka insists that “the fact that two African men can fall in love and wed, despite a homophobic society that frowns on same-sex relationships counters what many Africans [have been] saying’.”
The video of the wedding can be viewed here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZLB9Y7lPw8
soulrevision: [For more on social justice, follow me on instagram: soulrevision] A Tale of Two Mothers In American in a “Post Racial Society” Left: Catalina Clouser - Got high, drove for 12 miles with her 2 month old baby on the roof of her car before realizing her child was not in the vehicle. The baby fell off and was found in the middle of the highway, still in its car seat and miraculously unharmed. Catalina pled guilty to child abuse and DUI, she avoided jail time and was sentenced to probation. Right: Shanesha Taylor - A homeless mother, left her two kids (2 years old and 6 months) in the car while she went on a job interview for 45 minutes because she had no one to watch them. Shanesha was arrested and charged with a felony and had her kids removed from her care. Both of these women live in Arizona Read more here: http://bit.ly/1eAfPIf
[For more on social justice, follow me on Instagram: soulrevision]
America has a real problem with manufacturing fear for political interests. These tactics led by the NYPD fed into the racial/religious profiling & hate crimes that took place in the aftermath of 9/11. Our response to tragedy says a great deal about who we are as a nation.