by Yaya Mavundla
“I’m proud of the image Mzamo portrayed on Big Brother, it was time for the general public to confront their misconceptions on Gay men #Salute”
– Electro Pop Super Star Toya Delazy
Following on from my previous article “Mzansi reacts on Mzamo ‘Mzamie’ Gcabashe evicted from Big Brother,” I decided earlier this week to take to Twitter and Facebook, and to call a few people, to find out how they felt about the event that shocked the nation on Sunday, 23rd March 2014.
Immediately, I noticed the disappointment of Mzamo’s fans. Qoqo Ncema Mashiyana, who has been voting for Mzamo and couldn’t believe that he had been evicted, had posted a message of disbelief on her wall, praying that bigger things will come his way.
“I can’t come to terms with Mzamo’s eviction really; the house is not the same without him. I hope God has bigger plans for him.”
Bigger doors opened for Mzamo within a blink of an eye. Then, on Monday, the day after Mzamo’s eviction from the Big Brother house things appeared to have unexpectedly taken a turn upwards: “I’ve just begun; do you get what I’m saying? Lol, Thanks Guys” he posted on his Facebook page.
This somewhat cryptic message raised so many questions! On social networks, rumours circulated that Mzamo has been signed by the award-winning producer, Mr. Sipho Sithole to South Africa’s leading Afro-Soul music label, Native Rhythms. Attempts to get Mzamo to comment were unsuccessful as his cell phone was un-attended and he did not reply to any text messages. However, he neither denied nor confirmed the exciting rumours which are tempting to believe, especially with the social media in such a buzz about him at the moment.
I then spoke to Aluta Humbane, a very close friend of Mzamo who studied music with him at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Aluta indicated that he believed the rumours are true but did not disclose any sources.
People back at home are proud.
In Durban, Inanda FM social media assistant Eli Msimango was clear that he is enormously proud of Mzamo: “I’m not so worried that he didn’t get to win the million rand, I mean he has just been signed by Native Rythms which is big. Mzamo is a musician anyway and that is what he needed in his life, a recording deal I would assume. I’m happy and proud of him.”
Nongcebo Nzimande, another friend who knows Mzamo from back in the day at UKZN explained: “When I first met him at UKZN I thought he was crazy, but as I got to know him I fell in love with him. Big Brother was just a stepping stone to his television career, I am proud of him.”
Aluta also went on to elaborate:
“We must not forget to thank the people who supported Mzamo, people like Zanele Muholi, people who love us through and through, we must unite as ‘moffies’ and take over!
Too proud of Mzamo and thankful of bhuti Sipho Sithole who has made it a point to give him a recording deal at Native Rhythms. So we are going to see our Diva representing on a larger scale.”
Another more sobering comment came from Mzamo’s Durban-based friend, Sthembiso Sadere Sasha who feels that homosexuality still remains taboo there: “I think some people are just still homophobic out there, and they wanted him to be evicted because of his sexuality and they ended up not voting for him.”
A well known journalist from the popular newspaper Isolezwe, Bongiwe Zuma didn’t have words to express how she feels about the situation.
“To me, Mzamo is family friend so kudlulele (it’s worse)” she concluded.
Big Brother producers have refused to comment and do not want bad publicity.
I was intensely surprised by the reaction of one member of the show who didn’t want his name to be known because he is not authorised to comment. At first, he was hesitant to speak:
“I really do not want to comment on this situation as we are not allowed to make any comments to anyone about what is happening on Big Brother.”
But he really felt obliged to comment regardless of the “rules” and got a bit carried away:
“I don’t think Mzamo’s eviction was political whatsoever”…
“I don’t think it was about his sexuality at all,” he stated.
Then he went on to compare Mzamo to Lexi and Mandla who were involved in the sex scandal that went viral with pictures showing Mandla’s erect private part:
“Lexi and Mandla have built themselves such a huge following after their sex scandal—it is the same people who are voting for them and keep them on the show including some well-known South African celebrities such as Kuli Roberts.”
I nearly dropped the phone in disbelief! But then, I remembered that “fag hag” Kuli Roberts has always made it clear that her vote goes to Lexi and she constantly tweets “LEXI for the million”. I began to wonder if Mzamo wasn’t “fag” enough to be in Kuli’s good books. Who knows?
The anonymous producer continued “I hate the fact that you are assuming that Mzamo was evicted because he wasn’t drawing enough viewers on Big Brother, it is the public who make such decisions not us.”
When I asked him if Big Brother condones what Lexi and Mandla did on national television and whether he thinks their behaviour will paint a good picture for parents at home who may have otherwise been wishing that their kids might be on the show one day, he responded: “Big Brother can’t be held accountable for what adults get up to, if parents feel their kids will be corrupted on the show, they must not allow them to come to the show.”
When I went on to ask whether they would have shown the scene on screen, and circulated pictures on their social media platforms, if it had been two lesbians or gay people who were having sex? His response was: “I doubt it” but he soon corrected himself: “Actually that’s not what I meant. You are assuming that such would happen? For one thing, we show what will be interesting to our audience and for now, I can’t make comments on assumptions about what might have happened.”
He then said he needed to go, saying there was an emergency that he needed to attend to.
My question about all of this is:
Do South Africans really condone pornography when it involves heterosexuals but continue to regard innocent activities between people of the same sex, such as holding hands and kissing, as somehow disgusting?
If they are voting in the rounds for the Big Brother house, this must be the case. If not, surely Lexi and Mandla would have been evicted instead?
It seems that Western cultural values have taken over and we are portraying our relationships in a disappointing and inaccurate way. If you asked me, homosexuality is far more African than two young people having sex on television for the whole country to watch—before Lobola has even been considered, never mind paid.
We know, at least, that that is what is expected for heterosexual couples in Africa and in the bible.
To interact with me please follow me on twitter and Instagram @YayaRSA or follow @Inkanyiso_Org / @MuholiZanele
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