Book extract | 'You have to be gay to know God'

Siya Khumalo grew up in a Durban township where one sermon could whip up a lynch mob against those considered different. Drawing on personal experience Khumalo explores being LGBTQI+ in South Africa today. He exposes the interrelatedness of religion, politics and sex as the expectations of African cultures mingle with greed and colonial religion.
Siya Khumalo grew up in a Durban township where one sermon could whip up a lynch mob against those considered different. Drawing on personal experience Khumalo explores being LGBTQI+ in South Africa today. He exposes the interrelatedness of religion, politics and sex as the expectations of African cultures mingle with greed and colonial religion.

PROLOGUE

Confession of Faith

At about 5.20pm on 31 December 2012‚ a colleague picked up a steak knife from a cutlery tray. He yelled‚ “Angi-gay‚ mina!”— I’m not gay! — and came at me with it.

I froze‚ the takeaway package rustling in my trembling hands. The kitchen staff erupted like a banshee choir into shrieks that he not hurt me. The bar-lady burst through the two-leaf swing doors to see why our chit-chat had turned to yelling. She saw; the colour drained from her face.

A sound I thought was him moving made me jump — it was the chopsticks my elbow had knocked off the counter‚ bouncing like drumsticks on the floor. I jumped again when I realised that jump could have startled him into stabbing me. My knees wobbled. I had the presence of mind not to reach for the counter for support. “I’m not gay! Don’t you ever think I’m gay. Do you hear me?” he was yelling.

My eyes searched the room’s woks‚ its fridges and its crackling bug-zappers for something I could grab. Nothing.

“Yes‚” I said‚ swallowing the hot gravel in my throat. “You’re not gay.”

-For more on this story‚ please visit Times Select. 

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