SA’s gay reality TV wedding explodes on social media

Given and Nthabi

Given and Nthabi (Mzanzi Magic)

Sunday’s same-sex episode of Our Perfect Wedding has both been praised and condemned on social media, including earning the praise of South Africa’s minister of sport.

The season five finale of the popular but also controversial series featured the wedding between Nthabi and Given in Polokwane, a first for the show.

The couple met earlier this year at a supermarket and then two weeks later decided to tie the knot.

Based on the episode, Nthabi appeared to present as both male and female. Friends and family referred to Nthabi, who wore a white wedding dress in the ceremony, with both male and female pronouns. Nthabi self-described at various times as male, female and as gay.

“I don’t want to do it like other gay guys. I want to show that gay men can wear wedding gowns. I want the whole of Limpopo to talk about it,” said Nthabi before the wedding.

“This is the person I chose to marry and he looks great in this dress,” added Given, who wore a cerise and white suit.

The couple were seen struggling with the drama of the days leading up to the wedding, including the dress fitting, dealing with rejection from some family members and the decision by the pastor to pull out at the last minute.

“A lot of pastors discriminate against us,” said Nthabi. “They think God will condemn them for marrying two men.”

Overall, the couple’s friends and community and Nthabi’s proud mother appeared supportive of the marriage.

“I felt great declaring my love for him in front of those people and he also declared his love for me,” said Given after the emotional ceremony.

The broadcast of the episode saw a flood of comments on social media under the hash tag of #OPW. One woman wrote on Facebook: “We must just get used to gay marriages or weddings bcos they are our brothers or our children, we love them & they need our support.”

Nthabi and Given

Nthabi and Given (Mzanzi Magic)

Others were less positive, with one man describing the ceremony as, “A wedding with the devil’s anointing.” Another commented: “Even the pastor saw that it’s not worth presiding over. What a disgrace.”

One of the most high profile figures to back the couple was none other than Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula.

He tweeted: “South Africa is exemplary when it comes to Human Rights and we watch such shows today #OPW in celebration – we’re progressive.”

Mbalula went on to add that, “A country that allows people to be who they really are and celebrate that publicly is where humanity is,” and, “homophobia has no place in South Africa.”

Nthabi and Given’s wedding will be re-screened on DSTV’s Mzanzi Magic channel (161) on Wednesday 30 December at 18.30. It is also available on DSTV Catch Up until 24 January 2016.

Our Perfect Wedding was recently criticised for featuring a bridegroom who admitted to having had sex with under-age girls, including his bride who was allegedly 14 when he first met her.

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