Opinion: Did Theo’s gay rumours hit too close to home?


Mafikizolo-stars-shocking-interview-about-the-pain-of-being-called-gayAt the beginning of this week I came across a news article reporting that Afro Pop star Theo Kgosinkwe had recently opened up about the pain caused by rumours surrounding his sexuality to TMG Entertainment. He stated that “it nearly broke him”.

The article fails to contextualise the circumstances in which this shocking view could have made final print. It is not clear whether this was a full interview seeking to cover the singer’s illustrious career, or if it was aimed at highlighting some of the most disturbing experiences the singer has had in dealing with the tabloids in his personal and professional capacities.

Despite the problematic content contained in the article, it came as a concern to learn that Theo had considered leaving the music industry because of these “rumours”. It is important to note that if he had left the industry it would have resulted in him abandoning Mafikizolo’s phenomenal comeback; robbing the continent of a refreshing fusion of African sound and cheating people out of the loving memories created in time with their tune Khona.

The never-taken decision to “leave” the music industry got me thinking about how spaces in which we work and co-exist end up serving as mediums to either perpetuate truths or falsehoods regarding the collusion between human nature and nurture.

Theo presents the action of “leaving” as an option to separate one’s self from a problematic space that fabricates distressing myths about the character of one of its major contributors. It suggests that once he had left that particular space, his visibility would rapidly wane and the subject of his sexuality would no longer be under scrutiny, as if homosexuality is a “habit” nurtured by the music industry. I found this argument to be a blatant misrepresentation of a space that has continuously rewarded him with admirable social standing for his impressive talents.

In the article, Theo said that his Christian beliefs were his saving grace in dealing with the rumours. This is an insidious representation of Christianity as the centre space of healing and a tool to avert the looming disaster of his brokenness. A condition of brokenness caused by the tragedy of having been “accused” of homosexuality; an identity which is supposedly improper and unnatural, as compared to the proper identity of heterosexuality which gay people “choose” to be unidentified with. This perpetuates the myth that homosexuality is a learned adaptation.

Even if the article misrepresented his views, this country of ours is a constitutional democracy where the rights of all citizens are protected, irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation or class. How many opinion pieces must be written to emphasise this fact? How many human rights violations must we bear witness to before all citizens abide by this?

Sexuality is fundamentally complex. It emanates from an unseen space of one’s innermost feelings and is not influenced by what society exposes us to. In my own personal experience, Christianity trained me to cooperate in the suppression of my feelings for other men and helped to shape the voice of shame I relied on for self talk. I only managed to establish a healthy relationship with my feelings for other men after unsubscribing to Christianity.

I am aware of many men who live juxtaposed lives that sadly contradict their own true feelings. They further make the mistake of assuming more acceptable appearances of heterosexual lives; largely identifiable through a wife and children. What I know is unavoidable is the daily murmur of their own true feelings when no one is around.

If Theo indeed said the quoted words in that interview, it seems to me that the real victim is not all the gay men who have been disrespected. The real victim could be his own true self locked away behind religious dogma. I say this because it is impossible to understand how someone could “nearly” be “broken” by an accusation they know to be false, unless the accusation has hit close to home.

If Theo said those words, I cannot help but feel for him. I personally know the levels of noise that play themselves daily in one’s head when one is held captive by denial. The only way to silence those noises would be for Theo to gather up the courage to confront what “nearly broke him” from a space somewhere deep inside of him.

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