It seems that being seen as gay was a horrific life-changing trauma for Theo Kgosinkwe from Mafikizolo, one of the country’s most iconic groups.
While some straight celebrities shrug off or even embrace rumours about their sexuality as a way to show their progressive views, Kgosinkwe explains in a new interview that he needed to turn to God to deal with the devastating stigma.
Speaking to TMG Entertainment, the singer said: “It nearly broke me. It used to affect me really badly and at one stage I thought maybe I should even leave the industry.”
Kgosinkwe, 42, was also deeply concerned about the impact of the rumours on his children, stating: “I didn’t want my kids to go through all of that but luckily they are young and unfazed by it.”
Finally, he said that God was his saving grace. “My Christian roots grounded me,” he explained. “I remembered that Jesus too was accused with unfounded accusations and that he could get me through this. It was in my hope that I gained my strength. As long as I know who I am.”
His words, and the tone-deaf article, suggest that there is little worse than being tainted with the label of being gay. They perpetuate the idea of homosexuality as shameful, unnatural and incompatible with Christianity.
As a public figure, Kgosinkwe’s interview is likely to further terrify young gay South Africans who might be struggling with their sexuality.
Perhaps he’s not aware that LGBTI youth have a far higher incidence of suicide and self harm than other youngsters, in large part thanks to attitudes like his. Perhaps he’s not heard of the almost monthly murders of LGBTI South Africans who are killed for not conforming to the norm…
Instead of embracing his loyal gay fans, showing us that sexuality and labels don’t matter and using his celebrity to enlighten our society, the star has lost an important opportunity to do good. Kgosinkwe’s out of touch and troubling views take us all even deeper into the closet.