With reports from hundreds of sub-Saharan African locales of male-male sexual relations and from about fifty of female-female sexual relations, it is clear that same-sex sexual relations existed in traditional African societies, though varying in forms and in the degree of public acceptance
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A social role for individuals who crossed or mixed male and female characteristics was one of the most widely distributed institutions of native North America.
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The wedding kiss.
Congratulations to Tshepo Cameron Modisane and Thoba Calvin Sithole, who were married on April 6, 2013 in what is believed to be one of the first traditional Zulu same-sex weddings since South Africa legalized same-sex marriage in November 2006. The couple were married in the town of KwaDukuza in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
In February, the couple was profiled in South Africa's gay online magazine, Mamba Online. In the profile by Roberto Igual, the couple, both 27-years-old, express gratitude to their supportive families.
Modisane proposed to Sithole in June 2012. They quickly agreed to do things the African way, "respecting the traditions and customs associated with marriage." They decided to have a traditional Zulu ceremony to be followed by a traditional Western wedding later in the year. (Modisane is Tswana and Sithole is Zulu).
The men's relationship and wedding have become something of a cause célèbre in KZN, where a local newspaper featured their nuptials on the front page.
Modisane told Igual that one of the reasons he and Sithole have chosen to be so open is that they "hope to inspire people out there who are still struggling to come to terms with their sexuality."
"We see no reason to hide in darkness as if there is something to be ashamed about. Our marriage is largely symbolic and a sign that black gay men can commit and build family through a happy and loving marriage," he said.
Sithole added, "This is who we are and we are just tired of people judging with no understanding. We are people and entitled to live life to the fullest."
Both men scoffed at the widely held belief that being gay is un-African and that homosexuality was imported into Africa by Western colonialists.
"We grew up in a township and homosexual people have always been around us even though they were ridiculed by members of the community," said Modisane, who added that discrimination, through colonial laws and attitudes, is what was imported to Africa.
"Studies by historians and anthropologists have found same-sex relationships to have been in existence in pre-colonial Africa," he pointed out. "Most Africans need to stop making excuses for their own fears and embrace that same-sex relations have been happening in Africa since time immemorial."
Igual describes Modisane and Sithole as members "of a new generation of young gay Africans who are determined to claim an equal space in their communities."
South African television news channel ENCA reported sympathetically on the wedding. In the video Modisane says "Being gay is as African as being black."
Hat tip to Towleroad.com