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9 Jun 2010

Love fails to conquer all as Malawi 'gay' couple separate

Steven Monjeza leaves Tiwonge Chimbalanga for a woman a week after the couple were freed from jail in Malawi.

The Guardian of UK which has been following the case closely reported on Jun 8:

They became an international cause celebre after being sentenced to 14 years in prison under Malawi's draconian laws against homosexuality.

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (right) on the front page of The Nation newspaper on Dec 28, 2009. Caption reads: "Steven and his 'bride' Tiwonge during 
their chinhowswe [engagement ceremony]"

But today the story of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, the first same sex couple to seek marriage in Malawi, took a further twist when it emerged that they had separated and one of the men now has a female partner.

[Although the couple has been charged for having a gay relationship and media reports have correspondingly described the couple as 'gay,' it has emerged that Tiwonge Chimbalanga, one half of the couple, identifies as a woman and has lived as one all her life.]

Outrage over their convictions for gross indecency and unnatural acts last month gave way to relief when the country's president, Bingu wa Mutharika, freed them on "humanitarian grounds".

Steven Monjeza and Dorothy Gulo (right)

Their separation was called as a "tragedy" by one campaigner who blamed it on homophobic threats and abuse. Monjeza, 26, has begun a relationship with Dorothy Gulo, a 24-year-old from Blantyre. 

Monjeza, who faced family hostility towards his previous relationship with Chimbalanga, said he no longer wanted to be associated with homosexuality. 

"I have had enough," he said. "I was forced into the whole drama and I regret the whole episode. I want to live a normal life ... not a life where I would be watched by everyone, booed and teased."

Chimbalanga, 20, said Monjeza had found a female lover "to hurt" him. "But I am not worried. You cannot force love, and nobody forced him when we did our symbolic wedding in December."

He insisted that he did not resent Monjeza's decision. "I will also marry because there are lots of good men around. I will remain a gay," he told the Guardian.

Malawi's Nation newspaper, which broke the story of their traditional engagement ceremony in Blantyre last December, quoted Steven Monjeza as saying that he no longer wanted to be associated with what he called "gay trash" as he had found real love in Gulo.

Gulo, 24, reportedly described Monjeza as "a real man capable of doing to women what other men ably do in bed."

"I have tried him on two occasions and he proved to me he can live with a woman. I was impressed with him when my curiosity got the better of me and here I am. My only worry is what Chimbalanga would do if he found out." She was quoted as saying.

Said Monjeza: "We were pardoned but I know the law can bounce back on us if we are not careful. Although I claimed that I still love Tiwo, I did not mean it. I have never had sex with him as was revealed in court. That is why the medical examination failed to establish any anal penetration. I was coerced into the whole thing."

Monjeza also claimed he was bundled into a car by unidentified men and taken to Lilongwe for a press conference last week.


Reader's Comments

1. 2010-06-09 15:46  
Seems like he has no choice but to fake it in order to stay alive. It's really sad that this 3rd grade 3rd world sham is now being played out to satisfy a primitive nation's appetite for an "acceptable" closure.

I admire the courage but also worry for Tiwonge. "She" may end up dead down the road if "she" does not leave her hostile environment. The media sensationalizing the whole ordeal does not help. One can only hope for a safe conclusion to this atrocity. Safe journeys to both. :P
2. 2010-06-09 16:07  
This is a really sad turn of events, but I understand completely why Monjeza chose to do what he did. It would be a very difficult life to live if he was under constant public harassment, scrutiny, and humiliation. While he has veered into a hopefully more peaceful and "normal" life, a big question remains with Tiwonge. Now what will happen with her? I'm not sure, but I hope she finds happiness.

On a side note, I thought this was oddly similar to the story of the two homosexual male penguins who tried to incubate an egg together, only to have one of the penguins leave the relationship to shack up with a female... :(
3. 2010-06-11 11:08  
I am now in Northern Michigan at my parent's estate and was able to get my lesbian nannies visas so I could have excellent child care while back home

Anyway, I think I will walk next door and talk to Madonna's step mother Joan and her dad to see if she can adopt this older gay couple and take them to live with her in her London mansion

I mean she already adopted David from there, so she might want to give it a try

4. 2010-06-11 15:05  
people survive the best way they know how..sad stuff huh! he will no doubt 'assimilate' back into the wider intolerant culture' while the other his/her risks are much higher and lets wish gets out.
5. 2010-06-12 17:07  
Jammyboi...u REALLY don't know what you are talking about do you!

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