'God has never made a mistake': Lukhanyo Kwenene talks about his family

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Jafta and Kwenene, with their sons Brian and Benny
Jafta and Kwenene, with their sons Brian and Benny

Lukhanyo Kwenene's family is close knit, loving and happy and - unusually for South Africa - made up of four guys.

"It's myself, my handsome man and our two boys," he tells Parent24.

The Cradock-born dad and his fiancé Brilliant Jafta, who is from Senekal, are raising sons Brian and Benny. The boys are 16 and 12 years old, and the family lives in Kempton Park in Gauteng.  

The couple's meet-cute is also unconventional - Kwenene says he received a call one day from Jafta, who was a stranger then.

Jafta apologised for the unsolicited call, but said he'd seen a photo of Kwenene on a mutual friends phone, and with his son Brian's approval, had decided to reach out. 

The couple met, chaperoned by Brian, and within days found themselves living together, happily, through the sudden Covid-19 lockdown.

Gay dads raising sons in South Africa

It wasn't long before Jafta realised how much Kwenene loved kids.

"He told me all about the sad life experienced by his son Brian, and what he went through as a child," Kwenene tells us, adding that he was being raised by Jafta's mother.  

"The granny was really struggling to provide for the boy, as we all know how teenagers can be demanding," he says.

"The story indeed touched me so deeply, and that’s how I realized that me and my partner can do better, and bring back his son to a good life he deserves." 

"So we made the decision, and through talking to my fiancé's mother (our boy's grandmother) she allowed us legally to adopt him. We now both play role of a father figure to him," he explained.  

Kwenene and Jafta are formally fostering their second son Benny, who is technically Kwenene's nephew, through the Department of Social Development.

"My sister left him when he was three, and my mother wasn't able to care for him, due to her age. So we decided to take care of him," he explains.  

A beautiful family

"This is how my family came together to be as beautiful as it is today," the proud dad says, "and it is so amazing how the boys are now behaving like a real siblings, respecting and loving each other." 

He stresses that he and his fiancé are good parents who spend quality time with their kids, and provide the best education for them. 

"We are an open book to our kids," he adds, "they can come to us and ask anything they want to know, especially about our sexuality, and we educate them." 

Kwenene tells Parent24 that he also thanks their own parents for supporting and believing in their relationship, to become the best it can be.

"To my beautiful best partner I have, I also give so much of thanks for understanding parenthood at his young age, and through all his support our life is so beautiful and we enjoy every second of our lives together with our boys." 

"We would love to adopt a new born baby girl. So that we can both going through the real challenge of waking up in the middle of the night changing nappies and all that stuff," he reveals. 

Gay dads raising sons in South Africa

It's possible 

Kwenene says that when people learn about his family they are "so happy and proud" and curious to know more. "It is so amazing and the love we receiving is exceptional," he says.

People most often ask him how his family come together and how they got their kids, but what he wishes most that people knew about his family is that it’s possible for two gay men to start their own family and live a happy life.

It's not all rosy, though, and the couple have received unkind comments, mostly via social media. He tells Parent24 that they protect their kids by inviting them to be fluent thinkers, by asking them to respond to questions that have many right answers.

"Incorporate these questions into the interests children are involved with and the situations they are in (like having two dads). For instance, if children are having a discussion about our relationship, it is all matters of being open and answer the way they will understand, and be able to ask more," he says.

"And for doing that, it will really make them more comfortable, to be able to handle similar issues in their future."   

Encouragement 

Kwenene offers encouragement to other families like his, saying they must be who they are and never let anyone be discouraged from having the family they want, regardless of their sexuality.

To other gay couples hoping to start a family he says "It’s possible to start a family and live happily after. Living in a closet has never being easy. And all that I can add to this is: learn to be yourself and never pretend to be someone you're not just to please other people." 

"God has never made a mistake with anybody’s life," he adds. 

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