The Daily Sun newspaper has been accused of plumbing new depths by publishing a report in which a man has blamed a ‘gay tokoloshe’ for his poor sex life with his wife.
Last Friday’s edition of the newspaper featured an article titled Terror of the Gay Tokoloshe.
A tokoloshe is a mythical African dwarf-like creature or evil spirit that causes trouble for people and often appears at night.
In the article, 51-year-old Issac Malope from Mpumalanga claims that for the last 15 years he has been raped nightly in bed by the tokoloshe.
“Every night he comes between me and my wife and rapes me over and over. When he leaves, I no longer have energy for my wife and even if I try to get an erection, nothing happens,” Malope was quoted as saying.
He explained that he has spent over R200,000 on sangomas and healers in an effort to solve the problem, but to no avail.
“I am appealing to anyone who can help to save my marriage,” Malope said. His dutiful wife, Constance Mazibuko, added: “I know it’s not his fault and as his wife I have to support him.”
The article was accompanied by an offensive illustration of a short bearded creature sporting limp wrists, a mini-skirt, painted nails and high heels.
Xander Flemming, the Health Manager at OUT LGBT Well-being in Pretoria, said that the report was troubling.
“You have to respect African culture, but from a psychological perspective the story suggests that there is some pathology here,” he said.
Flemming noted that virility is hugely significant for most men and that Malope’s claims could be a way of explaining a sexual dysfunction of some kind. He questioned why the newspaper had not referred the man to a medical professional or asked for a medical perspective.
Flemming also warned of the stereotyping implicit in the report and the accompanying picture.
“Here we see homosexuality represented as an evil spirit and the cartoon draws on all kinds of stereotypes. With so many LGBT Africans under siege, this only serves to reinforce negative perceptions of gays and lesbians,” he said.
The Daily Sun is the biggest daily newspaper in South Africa, largely targeting working class people around the major urban centres. It has been credited with breaking through to this previously ignored growing audience with accessible but often outrageous news.