Being Gay Is Totally African Says Traditional Healers


Not all parts of African nations have come to terms in accepting the LGBTI because of the popular believe that its inhuman and anti African.

But traditional rulers have come up to say that being gay is a thing that has long been in the African culture.

A 24-year-old traditional healer Zipho Mzayiya, revealed this while speaking to GroundUp during a community dialogue run by the Ubomi Luvuyo LGBTI Traditional Healers Forum in Khayelitsha on Saturday

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Mzayiya said while participating in the dialogue that had a slogan “Nam Ndingumntu”, meaning I am also a person – that he had been gay even before his acceptance to be a traditional healer

“From an early age I told myself I am going to be me. People will see who I am just by looking at me and I wouldn’t have to tell anyone. People call me names in the community and in my family. They have for as long as I can remember but I don’t care. I always tell myself it will pass and I have become immune to it.”

“Being initiated to become a traditional healer is not fun and games. It is hard. No one would do it for fun,” he said

Mzayiya‚ who wore black lipstick‚ said: “As a traditional healer people do not trust that I can do the job. My sexuality has nothing to do with my ability to be a traditional healer. Some people do not want to have a ‘moffie’ as their healer‚” said Mzayiya.

The “Nam Ndingumntu” forum was initiated to create a safe space for gay and lesbian traditional healers according to Gay rights activist Funeka Soldaat who claimed to have become an activist because she saw how gay and lesbian people were treated in society.

“The excuses that were made was that it was not African and not Christian‚ and that black people were not allowed to do it‚”

“Everyone looked at the Constitution and challenged the laws. There were churches for gay and lesbian people but there was nothing for traditional healers‚” said Soldaat.

I Didn’t Choose Myself

There also, Reverend Emma Kejoe, a pastor and a traditional healer said she has been met with judgment in both her jobs. At age 46 she has been told by the church she has been going to for most of her life to step down.

“They say I am too involved in gay and lesbian issues. In tradition we are sidelined. Many question how we can be lesbian and traditional healers at the same time. They said I was shaming the church.”

“They forget that I did not choose any of these things. I didn’t choose to become a lesbian just like how I did not choose to have a calling. This is not an easy life because everyone judges you because of your sexuality. Even when clients come to me‚ when they hear that I am lesbian they act differently‚” said Kejoe.

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The forum was launched in May last year and currently has 25 members from different communities around Cape Town. The forum co-ordinator Thuli Mbete said it was engaging people both gay and straight.

“We want to be able to unite as one without discrimination. Being gay or lesbian doesn’t make any of us different from those that are straight‚” said Mbete.

She says they are trying to get the word out about the forum so they can have members nationally.

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