CP-Africa.com had earlier posted a news story here about the Presidential pardon granted to the Malawi gay couple late last month.
In a dramatic turn of events, the couple Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga are reported by the U.K. Guardian to have separated.
Concerning the split, Steven Monjeza is reported to have said: “I have had enough. 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.” Monjeza previously faced hostility from his family about his relationship with Chimbalanga and said that he was no longer interested in associating with him homo sexually.
At the same time, his partner, 20 year old Tiwonge Chimbalanga 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.” Chimbalanga is also reported to have told the Guardian concerning Monjeza’s decision thus: “I will also marry because there are lots of good men around. I will remain a gay.”
However, George Thindwa, a director at a Malawi human rights group, said he saw the split coming. “Monjeza was always a reluctant person in this partnership, but they managed to get the waters tested and they have seen the waters are rough,” he said.
In addition, Peter Tatchell, of the gay rights group Outrage! is reported as saying: “It is a tragedy that homophobic threats and abuse have forced this couple apart. They were deeply in love. The pressure has got to Steven. Very understandably, he wants a quiet, safe life. This would not be possible if he remained with Tiwonge. They would both be at risk of violent attack.”
The Presidential Pardon late last month was met with loud cheers internationally after the couple was released from a 14 year prison sentence under Malawian law. The new development is an interesting twist as Africans debate the intersection between gay rights and African traditions in the 21st century.