Text by Maureen Majola
Photos by Ts’episo Mahooe
A group of femme lesbians from Mpumalanga but currently residing in joburg decided to come together and form a group that will tackle issues that are faced by same sex couples and individuals on a daily basis. Their aim is to speak about issues that we don’t normally speak about as homosexuals and find ways to have healthy lasting relationships. The event took place on the 5th of October 2019 in Witbank at Klipfontein Dam. People came out wearing their denim and white clothes, looking fresh like the bright spring sunshine.
The turn up in numbers wasn’t that good due to a number of other events that were happening like Pretoria pride, which is about an 1h30 minutes away from Witbank. This event happened a week after soweto pride which means some people spent a lot of money to attend and participate at Soweto pride therefore couldn’t make it to the event.
The day continued despite the number of people who attended and one of the speakers not showing up because of that. I was also one of the speakers to tackle a few topics. The topics were as follows:
- Dealing with family estrangement
- Marriage in our time (Cohabitation)
- Intimate partner violence
- How can you rebuild trust
- Blended families
- Behaviour change (what makes things to change in a relationship)
- Challenges we face as women dating women.
We were not able to discuss all the topics since one of the speakers didn’t show up. We first tackled number 6 and 7 as an open discussion. During that discussion a lot came up from the two topics that led us to discussing them a bit longer than we thought.
The group spoke about how when we enter into a relationship we want to impress the new person in our lives that once we have won them over we stop doing the little things we used to do to impress them. They expressed how that particular change plays a negative role in a relationship and how one party will start feeling like they were sold dreams and that everything they based their relationship on a lie. We came up with a solution that we should enter into a relationship when they are ready to do so and when there is no need to mask yourself to impress the next person.
We spoke about how one needs to be emotionally, spiritually and mentally ready to start a new relationship because most of us are broken, hurt and are in deep pain because of our Sexuality. We have had to go through so much because of our Sexuality and the families we come from. Being a black woman, raised in a black society under cultural norms and beliefs also plays a huge role in breaking us and keeping us trapped inside ourselves. We are a community of broken people who are continuously breaking each other because of our past experiences and that has to stop with our generation.
The discussion led us to discussing cohabitation and how most of us end up living with our partners due to family estrangement. In these set up we often find ourselves compromising who we are and what we believe because we are seeking family and shelter. We are seeking for a place to belong and a place to call home even if the environment is toxic and abusive. Most of us end up staying in toxic relationships because we have nowhere else to go and sometimes we leave that one toxic relationship only to enter into another one.
From all the discussions we had I discovered how much we need healing and how the teachings of our parents of burying our issues and sweeping them under the carpet has affected us as the 21st century generation and how we need to move away from that and start living our lives according to our own values and standards. We ought to let go of all our pain and fix ourselves for ourselves so that when we enter into a relationship we are complete and fill people and we are ready to love the next person because we love ourselves first.
We spoke about how the church still plays a role in keeping us trapped and running from who we are because we try so hard to please our Christian families that we end up in marriages that we know won’t work and we compromise ourselves for them. Some mentioned how they can’t even attend church due to their sexual orientation and we told them how we have found a home in Victory Ministries Church International which is an all inclusive church that allows us to worship God in our own skin and how we are not judged for who we date but we were given the opportunity to serve God and participate in any church proceedings.
And we mentioned that there are many more churches like this one, that they can attend and feel welcomed and have the ability to express their love for God without judgement. In conclusion I expressed how we all broken people trying to heal other broken people and that we enter into relationships we need to know that we will be carrying double the burden if we don’t deal with our own burdens thoroughly and heal before we get into new relationships to avoid bleeding on innocent people. We need to be gentle with ourselves and our friends. We have been through the most as a minority. We need to heal and move on.
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