Sunday 1 May 2011

Out in Africa, in Church.

For a man to be both both married, and an active churchgoer, should be unremarkable.   That Mooketsi Sedimo's marital status and church participation is different, is because his spouse is a man, and he and his husband live in Africa - in Botswana.  We are all familiar with depressing headlines about the homophobic hysteria in some African countries, but too easily overlook the more encouraging stories that also come out of the continent.

Botswana does not have the constitutional protections available to the LGBT community in neighbouring South Africa, and there is substantial popular suspicion directed against gay men and lesbians, just as there is in many other countries. However, as has been amply demonstrated for prejudice of all kinds, in all places, familiarity does not breed contempt, but understanding and acceptance. Instead of trying to escape prejudice by hiding in a closet, Sedimo adopted the unusual tactic (for Botswana) of simply coming out openly, even to his pastor. This he did in completely unambiguous terms, by explaining that he had married a man, in South Africa.
Sedimo is in a same sex marriage, having wedded his partner in South Africa early this year. "I let my pastor know, as well as my family members. My pastor explained the matter to the church later. What is pleasing is that the church decided to accept me and not to judge me, because judgement is for the Lord," says the soft spoken and cigarette liking man.

Sedimo is an active and talented member of the church band, which probably has a lot to do with the acceptance he has received.