#31VoicesForPride #31YearsOfPrideCatalogue Zodwa Shongwe’s Letter

Constitution Hill:

You, who are well informed about the lack of our history, reveal the origins of our being. You, who classify us inhuman, define the species that we are. You who are conversant about the depth of democracies and freedoms that were fought for and supposedly won, define the parameters of our demographics. You, whose voice commands holy authority beyond the echoes of the heavens, show us where to find our daily bread. You, whose utterances insinuate that we are almost un-Afrikan and perhaps less Afrikan, we beg you to tell us where we come from.

We live in a society of addicts who are forever preoccupied with notions of perceived freedoms. Freedoms and democracies that are blurred by selective ignorance. Selective because indeed our existence as homosexuals is public knowledge as illustrated by the continued commentary about our lives and yes, the activation of force in curbing our existence by those who are opinionated and knowledgeable on matters of sexual orientation. I'm tempted to think there is a fourth force in play here. We've had third forces in this country, forces and forces that are designed to deny people the very rights and freedoms that we are so vocal about. These addicts, obsessed with sexually defined powers, continue to harass our sisters and brothers in their struggle for hegemony. The sad and cruel fact is that they operate from a base so strong, that mere utterances have failed to alter their kind of thinking. We live with them, we see them every day, some are our parents, cousins, brothers and sisters, our teachers and preachers, and the list is endless.

These senseless killings must stop! These hate crimes must come to an end! The brutal murder of our dear sisters, Sizakele and Salome should act as a wake-up call for all of us who are constantly confronted with the reality of living in a society that continuously ostracize us. We are lesbians, we are homosexual, and we are attracted to the same, finish n klaar! We need to be vigilant in dealing with the effects of these barbaric acts. We cannot and will not sit back and allow this to continue in our own country. The heterosexual world is contaminated with sexual domination as a weapon for superiority. Heterosexuals, (l am aware of the generalization) are so confined to ukuyifaka nokuyikhipha, that the mere thought of two women's ability to exude sexual pleasure without the interference of the male sexual weapon infuriates and yes insults their masculinity. This results in anger for there is no control on their part. As lesbians we can reach a climax, we enjoy our kind of sex and guess what, we don't need you to refer us to holy scriptures that you yourself fail to abide by, let alone mere understanding. Unlike you, we understand that God is not judgmental. Oh, I almost forgot, you are so in touch with God. God is exclusively yours!

A dear friend once told me "There is no substitute for tolerance". I thought that was so true, but alas, how wrong was my reaction to such a powerful statement! Heterosexuals have found a substitute, it is hatred, it is brutality! As homosexuals, we are scared for sure, we are saddened for we have lost our loved ones, but we remain lesbians and we are here. Perhaps it is time you tell us exactly who we are, maybe, just maybe, we might know where we come from and that will surely provide us with a much awaited and needed historical context! Till then Aluta Continua!!!

Article by Zodwa Shongwe

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