The Silent Masacre

Today, with our nation in a celebratory euphoria over Madiba's 93rd birthday I find myself troubled. I am troubled because every speech I am hearing about what the legacy of Madiba means for this country somehow all fail to address the core of the problem that poses a threat to the democracy that this man and others fought for. If anything our leaders and public figures seem to be so caught up in saying the right things that can be quoted in the media whilst forgetting that without the people, that very same democracy we ought to be protecting will serve no-one since our black people will be no more. Just last week I was shocked by the number of infections that within young black youth that keeps rising.

I can only speak about the world I know. The world that is cloaked by shame and secrecy. We all know that not much good come from deeds conducted under the cover of secrecy and shame. This is the world of the black gay community of South Africa. With or without that label of GAY many guys who sleep with other guys are dying in alarming numbers and nobody seems to notice.

It's easy to ignore the situation as we live in a society that believes that if we don't talk about it then it does not exist. So since our government is not gonna help with the resources to alleviate this problem why aren't these men reducing their risk exposure? Why does it seem like now more than ever black gay men are living more recklessly?

On hindsight, I have also been thinking; I did everything I thought was right with my ex. I was there when he needed me, I loved him as much as I know how to love another human being and I opened my life to him yet he still betrayed me. The biggest jab though was the fact that he made me a statistic. A statistic that say my kind can not commit to a long term companionship. Even with all the happiness I thought we had he still cheated.

Since our breakup I have gone on few dates and have met some cool dude but it seems like the trend these days is sex first and get to know each other later. Gone are the times when dating was something special. Now with all these Facebook, Twitter and BBM hookups it seems meaningless sex is the order of the day. Sadly, as I did recently, you find statistics that say the young black gay community is just a ticking bomb as more and more boys get infected with HIV.

Bummer hey? Where does that leave a young guy who just wants to meet someone who is driven and willing to commit to a monogamous relationship? How do you maneuver in this sex crazed fest without losing a sense of who you are when everybody around you seem to be so caught up in this frenzy.

Nelson Mandela ask that we do something to help others, well, how about we help our young brothers to see that this HIV thing is a serious issue that is decimating our generations. I'm not saying give the gays some special attention but ignoring them isn't helping much. All these issues are connected.

Some of these men are fathers who sleep with boys and bring HIV into their household which then leads to children being orphaned. There are many other similar scenarios but in the end there is always a connection.

What to do now?

I am a firm believer in 'living your truth' and inspiring others by your deeds and not your speeches. I believe if I can conduct my life in a manner that protects me and whoever I will be sharing my life with, then I can stand tall knowing I have done my part to change the perception about what it means to be a gay man in this world. With that this is my contribution to the plight our nation for positive people to look up to

We are all afraid of the being given the “role model” tag, understandably so ,given the humungous amount of responsibility that comes with it. But role models need not be famous, you can be a role model to someone by living an exemplary life that inspires them to seek for the best in themselves.

We can build schools and educate our youth but if we do not empower them with the tools to better take care of their lives then those building will stand there empty as our generation will die of preventable diseases because of our ignorance. Empower a black child to know that God loves him/her just as they are so they can love themselves enough to protect themselves. People who value themselves will never debase themselves the way some of these young gay boys do.

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