Local media personality Somizi Mhlongo has responded to calls to have him banned from entering Zimbabwe because of his sexuality.
Mhlongo was meant to make an appearance at the reopening of a famous restaurant in Zimbabwe’s capital.
However, things went sour after the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe and Zanu-PF Youth League wrote to the President’s Office voicing its disapproval and (urging it) to stop Mhlongo from coming to the country.
“Somizi is a homosexual, hence according to our people’s driven constitution, Zimbabwe doesn’t tolerate homosexuality.
“It is therefore our question, if we allow Somizi to come to our land, spiritually we would have disturbed a lot, and physically we would have openly accepted homosexuality in Zimbabwe hence affecting our children.
“This move will also affect our revolutionary party Zanu-PF by disturbing the 5 million votes win needed in the next 2023 harmonised elections for it is publicly known that our party strongly stands against homosexuality,” said the council.
UNWELCOME: The Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe asks President Mnangagwa to intervene and stop South African celebrity Somizi Mhlongo from travelling to Zimbabwe to appear as a guest chef at Garwe Restaurant. Churches say "strongly against" - because Somizi is gay pic.twitter.com/coM9JQXqJo— ZimLive (@zimlive) November 3, 2021
Like most parts of Africa, homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe, and the LGBTQAI+ community faces legal and societal challenges.
Zanu-PF Youth League announced Mhlongo will no longer visit Zimbabwe for the event. In a statement, Zanu-PF acting deputy secretary for youth affairs Tendai Chirau said he had engaged the restaurant owners to stop the former Idols SA judge’s visit.
“The scheduled reopening of Garwe restaurant in Harare is a welcome development in the food industry sector.
“I have engaged the owner of the outlet, Ms Mandi, expressing our concerns and those by different societal groups over the invitation of one of the highly controversial guest (a declared ngito).
“I am glad to announce that the owner took heed of the great concerns and elected to remove the said ngito (gay person) from the guest list and never to associate themselves with the said character again,” Chirau said.
Following this, Mhlongo responded by posting a video on Instagram and expressing how he felt.
He said their decision would not affect him but that didn’t make it okay. He also said that their decision would not change whether or not someone is queer.
“This is not the first time this has happened to me. I’m OK with it but I’m not OK with it at the same time.
“I will not stop speaking on behalf of the voiceless and on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. I will advocate for that and if it means I should die for it, so be it. But it is sad, very sad and I hope things get better.
“What you are doing — being homophobic — is no different with anyone who is xenophobic and racist,” Somizi said.