Sunday, September 6, 2009


It will come as no surprise to observers of Swaziland to hear that ‘traditional authorities’ and the church have condemned in the strongest terms the news that two lesbian women have announced they are to marry.

There is a possibility that the ‘traditional authorities’ will try to stop the marriage going ahead.

Timothy Velabo Mtsetfwa, the acting ‘traditional prime minister’ told the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, ‘This is really worrying as we have never heard of such in the country. It is the first of its kind and we are not taking it lightly.’

Mtsetfwa refused to elaborate on his veiled threat not to take the couple’s decision to marry ‘lightly’. When the Times asked him if anything would be done to the couple, Mtsetfwa said it would be difficult for now to state if the matter would be taken up or not.

The fact that the couple’s decision is private and nothing whatsoever to do with the Swazi state was lost on Mtsetfwa.

As I have written before homosexuality is demonised by the media and those in power in Swaziland so again it is no surprise that Mtsetfwa went on to condemn the two women in very ugly terms.

He was joined in his condemnation by Bishop Steven Masilela, President of the Swaziland Conference of Churches (SCC).

Masilela, who clearly doesn’t get out enough, said, ‘It is shocking that there would be people who would have the guts of informing the whole nation that they are lesbians.’

Of course, in Swaziland gays and lesbians cannot legally marry so the proposed ‘wedding’ is purely symbolic, but that hasn’t stopped Masilela getting the church involved.

‘As a church, it shows that we have failed to transform our values. I believe we should have been the ones making sure that people understand what a sin is,” he told the Times.

So with the ‘traditional authorities’ and the church ganging up on them, we can expect a few more fireworks before the wedding takes place in six months time.

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