Literature

Listen to the Cheeky Natives' Interview with Siya Khumalo, Author of 'You Have to Be Gay to Know God'

"John had an unreserved love for Jesus, and his critique on society is so penetrating, it's so refined, so subtle, and so multi layered."

South African author Siya Khumalo's latest book, titled You Have to Be Gay to Know God, came out in April this year. The author recently sat down with Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane, one of the hosts of the literary podcast Cheeky Natives.

He discussed growing up gay, navigating Christianity while gay, among lots of other interesting topics. Towards the end of the episode, the author tells the interview that he felt that John, one of the authors of the Gospels in the Bible, was highly likely a gay man.


"When I first read John," he says, "other than the feeling that there was something divinely inspired about the text I'm reading, I felt like I was reading a gay man."

He explained his stance as follows:

"The reason I'm saying it feels like you reading a gay man, we are culturally conditioned that if a man deeply loves another man, he must be gay. That's just the label we slap on it. So I'm reading John, John had an unreserved love for Jesus, and his critique on society is so penetrating, it's so refined, so subtle, and so multi layered. And when I'm reading this side, I'm thinking you must have been gay. There's no way you could see through the systems in which people live, with so much clarity, unless you were the most oppressed, and there's no way Jesus could have meant this much to you, unless you were that oppressed."

Siya also discusses growing up as an awkward child who couldn't play any sport. "You know when other kids, kind of like, are trying to pull you in towards the center, they are trying to make you part of the whole, but you're just such an odd shape, that's how it was for me," he says.

He also talks about the first love he was sexually attracted to a boy, and what he makes of it now.

Listen to the episode below, and pick up a copy of You Have To Be Gay To Know God here, or bookstores nationwide if you are in South Africa.

Siya also touches on the time he spent in the military. He talks about the luxuries of being in the military and that him being gay was an open secret. "So if you are gay in the military, in my day, the policy was kind of like 'don't ask, don't tell, everybody knows.'"

Listen to the podcast below:

News Brief
Photo: Getty

Here's What You Need To Know About The Political Unrest In Sudan

Thousands have been protesting the Sudanese government over the weekend, supporting the military's plans for a coup.

Sudan's transitional government is in turmoil as thousands of citizens conducted a sit-in protest against them, over the weekend. A group of Sudanese citizens have called on the military to disestablish the nation's current government, as the country struggles with the greatest crisis they've seen since the end of former dictator Omar al-Bashir's controversial ruling, two years ago. The weekend's pro-military protests come as anti-military protestors took to the streets earlier this month to fight for civilian-ruled laws.

Military-aligned demonstrators assembled outside of the famously off-limits entrance of the Presidential Palace located in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum on Monday. Gatherers set up tents, blocking off access to two main intersections, cutting off access to the capital for those inside. Police attempted to wave off crowds with teargas, with Khartoum state officials saying they had, "repelled an attempted assault on the seat of government," in a statement issued Monday.

The assembly was called for by a coalition of rebel groups and political parties that support Sudan's military, accusing the civilian political parties of mismanagement and monopolizing power under their ruling. Demonstrations began on Saturday, but Sunday's gathering saw a lower attendance. According to Reuters, by Monday afternoon, thousands, between 2,000 - 3,000, had returned to voice their concerns. 52-year-old tribal elder Tahar Fadl al-Mawla spoke at the helm of the sit-in outside of the Presidential palace saying, "The civilian government has failed. We want a government of soldiers to protect the transition." Alongside a 65-year-old Ahman Jumaa who claimed to have traveled more than 900 kilometers (570 miles) from Southern region Nyala to show his support.

Protesters are demanding the appointment of a new cabinet that is "more representative of the people who participated in the December 2019 revolution that eventually led to the ousting of former president Omar al-Bashir", Al Jazeera reported from Sudan. Protesters headed towards the Presidential Palace, where an emergency cabinet meeting was being held when they were met by police forces.

Pro-civilian political parties have plans for their own demonstration on Thursday, the anniversary of the 1964 revolution that overthrew Sudan's first military regime under Ibrahim Abboud and brought in a period of democracy that the country still struggles to uphold.


Sudanese Twitter users shared their thoughts online, with many drawing similarities between the current unrest and other political crises the nation has faced.


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