ZIMBABWE’s Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTIQ+) community has described conversations that arose as a rsult of South Africa socialite Somizi Mhlongo’s invitation to Harare as shameful.
Mhlongo, an openly gay celebrity chef, known by his first name or Somgaga was to feature at the reopening of upmarket Garwe Restaurant in the capital before ruling Zanu PF activists and an apostolic churches’ union successfully challenged his entry into Zimbabwe.
The organisations which include the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ), Treat Zimbabwe, Rise Above Women Organisation (RAWO) and Purple Hand Africa, said organisations that fought Somizi’s appearance misrepresented the views of Zimbabweans as the country actually has a considerable LGBTIQ+ population.
“We do not have a relationship with Somizi Mhlongo or the event organisers but have observed the shameful conversations and conduct around the planned reopening of Garwe Restaurant, where Somizi was invited in his capacity as a celebrity chef,” reads their statement.
“Mhlongo lives an authentic life, openly as a gay man and public figure, who enjoys a following across Africa and even in Zimbabwe.
“The major issue noted is the act by specific organisations to errorneously represent the views of all Zimbabweans; a country that has a sizeable LGBTIQ+ population.”
Somizi’s treatment resulted in massive backlash from South Africans, soe of whom questioned why they were having to deal with Zimbabweans in their country when their own kin and kith are barred from just entering Zimbabwe.
The organisations warned despite negatively interfering in business, recent actions by political parties and some religious groups could justify xenophobia.
“Some political parties and religious groups also seem to forget that other evils such as xenophobia subsequently become justifiable to some when stigma and discrimination are allowed to thrive.
“We encourage all Zimbabweans to assess situations critically separate from the bounds of supposed homogenous ‘morality’ culture and check the quality of news content they consume,” they concluded.