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Posts tagged ‘Africa’

Hey Homophobes. Nigeria, Uganda, good job.

Originally appeared on my News24 blog. I am, as are many other people, shocked and disgusted by the anti-gay legislation that was passed in Nigeria. Reading blogs, and especially the disheartening comments section, I am dumbfounded by how nonsensical they are, and how gay people are being used as scapegoats for political agendas. I wrote this blog post before the laws passed in Nigeria, but it still feels appropriate for what is happening there.

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Hey homophobes, I have a question for you, why does your logic make sense, but mine doesn’t?

I wrote an open letter to gay people on my personal blog  this week, inspired by the LGBTIQA awareness week at my Uni, and then read a great piece by a fellow Voices24 comrade Kamela Mahlakwane, who, as a heterosexual male, questioned homophobia and affirming that it is not a choice. There is not all that much to add, but I thought I’d try anyway. A friend wanted to forward Kamela’s article to his mother hoping she would see the light. Unfortunately for him, the beliefs around homosexuality prevent him from being open with her.

I use gay as the collective term for LGBTIQA, as this acronym appears to be forgotten. It stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Intersex, Questioning and Asexual. You see, people forget that there are other parts of the acronym. Just as we are all meant to be equal in this country, the LGBTIQA community also strives for equality.

I do, however, want to focus on some of my favourite clichés, because like I asked, if you can do it, why can’t I?

My favourite is “Adam and Steve” – God did not make them. He made Adam and Eve, dammit. He also did not make Madam and Eve. One request that I always ask of homophobes is to at least be creative in their endeavours. We know this. It’s in the Bible, we’ve read it.

Biology also cannot be the be all and end all of an argument. I’ve always been surprised by the argument that homosexuality is wrong because two people of the same sex cannot reproduce and it’s biologically incorrect. Again, thank you for that gem of an observation. Gay people have been managing just fine. And if this argument is true, it must then disqualify women who partake in anal and oral sex, as well as people who cannot reproduce. This is not fair to them either, yet they are often left out of the discriminatory lashings.

Another point of consternation is the amount of time that homophobes spend on hating gays. Now I won’t delve into the internalised homosexual urges debate, because that would be too obvious. I often ask, to blank faces, are there not better things to do with your time? I can’t help but comment when I see ignorance and this happened when I asked someone on an online forum if there was not anything better to focus on? War, rape, corruption, racism come to mind, yet gay people are the subject of hate. I can’t help but think that this is a deflection of sorts, or a convenient scapegoat for repressed hate.

Just as women are often advised that no woman can steal your man, because he was not yours to steal in the first place, so it is true that someone cannot be made gay. There is no straight conversion therapy, believe it or not. If your partner left you to be with someone of the same sex, then it was not meant to be and they were most likely gay to begin with. This is a hard truth to accept and leads to pent-up anger within the individual who was dumped. Is it really fair to take out this anger on a community who probably would sympathise with you?

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Black man, you’ve fought for liberation and freedom. Woman, you have the right to vote and freedom of movement. Even if you are a white, able bodied, heterosexual male, you have faced obstacles and opposition from others for being who you are. Maybe your father didn’t want you to play on a sports team, or your boss disapproved of a decision you took. The point is that, whether you believe that homosexuality is a choice or not, you get to change your lives and make better decisions. Gay people do not.

Homophobes do not realise that Pride marches and activist activities only happen as a reaction to hate. Think about it, if there were no people telling those gays how terrible they were and that they do not deserve rights, then they wouldn’t be “flaunting it” in your faces, as I’ve heard it. Awareness weeks, Pride marches and other such commemorations happen not because gay people enjoy being the centre of attention for that day, week or headline, but because gay people, even in the most liberal of cities or countries, are still targeted for being gay.

It does not get better for many people, so before you make the choice to hate, think about how going out of your way to do this adds to your life, and what you’re taking away from someone else.

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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So Long, Solange, I Thank You.

I recently made a joke that I thought was rather worthy of the laugh I got from my friends. I said that South African artists (musicians) are so ahead of their time that they were making videos with cellphone camera quality before cellphones even had cameras.

Come on!! Well I thought it was good.

What reignited this genius bit of comedy was the latest music video by Solange Knowles. The sister of Beyonce, she always seems to have to prove herself, as little sister lore goes. She recently visited South Africa for a fashion shoot and to film the video. And wow wow wow is all I have to say. The song, “Losing You” is so cute, but sad and has an eerie quality about it. She has never sounded better. The video, on the other hand, is stunning. Simple dance moves, retro fashion and displaying the South African township in a positive way. Well, the whole thing seems a bit of a throwback with the fashion from an era by gone and she even dances the jitter bug.  It’s just a thing of happiness and despite criticism that she took advantage of our townships and people and just breezed out without showing enough gratitude (really, people? The world owes us nothing) she produced a quality film.

This may seem like an oxymoron, but many people in eKasi (the location) simply see this as their homes and many do not like the ultra-violent perceptions which mainstream media represents. To them, it is what it is, life.

This video did the exact opposite, without going to an ideal. Many of you will disagree with me, but it is after all, a music video. Entertainment, right?

It reminded me of Janet Jackson’s “Got It Til It’s Gone” featuring Q-Tip with that awesome Joni Mitchell sample. That one, also filmed in South Africa, seemed darker in its depiction of a modern day Sophiatown-looking set. I also loved this one as there were only brief allusions to Apartheid and the rest of it seemed jovial, if a little gritty and far dirtier than Solange’s pop tribute to Mzansi. Jackson’s video does offer native implications which many may seem as offensive, but I thought it also captured an artful depiction of South Africa for the music video format. That is, short and meant to tell a story while still being entertaining. That was the story that she, and her tea chose to tell. The people are also depicted as happy while under oppression and simply living their lives. What people make of it is up to them, but I thought that it was also a good video, shot in our country, however by an international artist.

So the question: Why can’t we depict ourselves so splendidly like these international stars do? Simple shots, very few cutaways and not too many effects. Surely a big budget and grand idea should not stand in the way of our local artists showing off what they can do.

Check it out and let’s debate it. Big names from around the world (and Africa!) come here to take advantage of our natural beauty, so why can’t we?

We are too scared of being African and too scared of defining what this even means. It means being conscious and not being regurgitating what you have seen on American and European screens. The danger with creating art and trying to be something is going to the other extreme and getting stuck in the trap of being too hard on ourselves. So let’s take a cue from Solange and take it easy and just be.

After all, is everything in life not a throwback?

 

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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