The kiss that caused all the trouble
Television viewers in Angola are outraged over a gay kiss that aired during an episode of popular telenovela Jikulumessu.
The Jamaican Observer reports that the kiss between two men was broadcast late last month after the evening news.
According to the BBC, the scene led to a public uproar and the suspension of the soap’s broadcast due to “technical reasons”.
The company behind the soap, Semba Productions, on Tuesday explained that the show “addresses various socially sensitive issues, with particular emphasis on youth violence, crime, corruption, polygamy, homosexuality and prostitution in order to draw attention to their existence and encourage a healthy debate about them.”
It added that. “This debate aims to encourage dialogue in society about tolerance and respect for all social groups, as enshrined in the Constitution.”
The company nevertheless issued an apology “to those who felt offended” and said it would make “corrections in the presentation of sensitive content”.
Jikulumessu’s creator, Jose Paulino dos Santos (who is the son of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, was critical of the response by state television to the kiss.
In a Facebook post, dos Santos, who is also known by his stage name Coréon Dú, said he was “saddened by the act of censorship” that led to the show’s suspension but also committed himself to acknowledging the “sensitivity” of viewers.
While Angolan television has featured gay and lesbian characters before, specifically in dos Santo’s other series, Windeck, this is believed to be the first time a same-sex kiss was broadcast in the country.
Homosexuality is not technically illegal in Angola but could be prosecuted as an “offence against public morality” or an “act against nature.”
In 2010, the Angolan government refused to receive Israeli ambassador Isi Yanouka because he is openly gay. Transgender singer and dancers Titica is a popular music star in Angola and in 2013 was made a UNAIDS goodwill ambassador.