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South Africa: Gay couple marries in traditional Zulu ceremony

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — “Being gay is as African as being black,” says Tshepo Cameron Modisane, who married Thoba Sithole in a same-sex ceremony according to Zulu rites in KwaDukuza, South Africa — described as the area’s first traditional African gay marriage.

The couple, who were married in front of 200-strong gathering, say their families support them.

“Sadly, we do not have enough role models of colour who are open and
proud of their sexuality,” Modisane told South Africa’s News24. “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,” he adds, noting that they see it as “largely being a ‘Western trend’ that is in fashion lately which they hardly understand.”

He says there were a “range of approaches to sexual behaviour” in pre-colonial Africa. “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.”

Modisane is an audit manager at Chartered Accountants and Registered Auditors, while Sithole is an IT systems engineer.

For more about Modisane and Sithole, check out their blog.

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