There has been a lot of hype and media attention including international media about the “Traditional African Gay Wedding” that happened between myself, Cameron Modisane and Thoba Sithole over the weekend in KwaDukuza, KZN.
Here are the eNews inserts that have been doing the rounds:
During the wedding: http://www.news24.com/Multimedia/South-Africa/African-gay-wedding-a-first-20130408
Interview questions on why my partner and I have decided to be open about our marriage:
1. Why did you decide to be so open about your relationship and marriage?
Cameron: “We see no reason to hide in darkness as if there is something to be ashamed about. At the same time we hope to inspire people out there who are still struggling to come to terms with their sexuality and live their lives to please other people and according to other people’s expectations. Our marriage is largely symbolic and a sign that black gay men can commit and build family as well through a happily and loving marriage.”
Thoba: “This is who we are and we are just tired of people judging with no understanding that we are people and entitled to living life to the fullest.”
2. Do you think there are enough openly gay role models of colour in South Africa? And why is that a problem?
Cameron: “Sadly we do not have enough role models of colour who are open and proud of their sexuality. At the same time we don’t have enough couples of colour that are openly gay who have stood the test of time.
People are still ashamed of the sexual status because the vast majority of the black community is not accepting of being a homosexual. They see it as largely being a “Western trend” that is in fashion lately which they hardly understand.”
Thoba: “Sadly they are not enough, people of colour still see being gay as a curse and rather a disgrace. So most gay people are not open about who they are.”
3. Do you consider yourselves role models and, if so, why is that?
Cameron: “The term role model generally means any "person who serves as an example, whose behaviour is emulated by others”. If our action of getting married, being bold and proud about is emulated by more members of the LGBTI community who are black, then so be it. If people are inspired by our love and actions and want to do the same to follow in our footsteps then we don’t mind being labelled as “role models” in the LGBTI community.
Thoba: “I’m just being me, I really am not sure if I’m a role model as I’m just doing me.”
4. How do you think ordinary gays and lesbians can help increase the level of acceptance towards them in South Africa?
Cameron: “The greatest challenge that we faced with in the LGBTI community is that most of us live in fear and shame because we feel that we cannot live our lives openly without being judged.
More and more members of this community who hold positions of influence need to come so that people become aware that being a homosexual is not some disorder or curse from God. The more we come out and “straight” people will begin to understand the LGBTI community which has largely been marginalized for centuries.”
Thoba: “I believe that hiding who we are is what makes people judge us even more and make not accept us for who we are. If we can just live life openly then in time people will get used to the idea that gay and lesbian people are part of society and we are here to stay.
5. What do you think of the claim that being gay is un-African – how you respond? Do you feel un-African?
Cameron: We grew up in a township and homosexual people have always been around us even though they were ridiculed by members of the community. While it is continually claimed that homosexuality is un-African, studies by historians and anthropologists have found same-sex relationships to have been in existence in pre-colonial Africa. In pre-colonial African societies same-sex relationships were often constituted through informal rites of passage.
I feel that Colonialism did not introduce same-sex relationships to Africa. Pre-colonial Africa contained a range of approaches to sexual behaviour, including many which permitted same-sex relationships to exist without violating social norms. What colonialism introduced was a binary model of sexuality, and systems of jurisprudence that identified and regulated sexual behaviour to conform to the norms of the coloniser. Most Africans need to stop making excuses for their own fears but embrace that same-sex relations have been happening in Africa since time immemorial”
6. Why is it important for you to have children?
Both: It is important that we have children as want to have a build a family together. Family is important to us and that is the number one reason why we want to have children. We also want our children to grow up in an environment where they are loved greatly by both parents who appreciate them.
7. Why did you decide to have a traditional African wedding ceremony?
Both: We did it as sign to show that you can be gay and still be a proud African that respects tradition and culture. The Tswana and Zulu have a rich cultural background and we wanted to celebrate that and furthermore show that it is possible to have a traditional gay wedding ceremony and still receive support from our respective families.
8. How do you plan to inspire other young gay black couples?
Both: We hope to inspire other black African gay couples to embrace who they are and be proud of their sexuality.
We have a blog http://sithole-modisane.blogspot.com/ and hope that people will read about our love story and understand what being gay and being in a same-sex relationship is about.