Popular
Photo by GUILLEM SARTORIO/AFP via Getty Images

TOPSHOT - People take part in the Johannesburg Pride Parade on October 26, 2019 in Johannesburg, as it celebrates it's 30th anniversary this year.

South Africa Makes Strides and Passes Same-Sex Marriage Law

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has recently passed the Civil Union Amendment Bill which seeks to protect the rights of same-sex marriage.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has reportedly passed into law the Civil Union Amendment Bill which will prevent officiating officers from refusing to conduct same-sex marriages. President Ramaphosa officially passed the bill earlier today. This news comes as a welcome celebration for same-sex couples who have previously experienced difficulties with officially getting married before the state.


Read: Africa is Queer!

The Civil Union Amendment Bill repeals the former Bill of Civil Union Bill Act 17 of 2006 which legalised same-sex marriage. Originally, officiating officers had the right to refuse marrying same-sex couples on the grounds of conscience, religion, and belief. This clause reportedly prevented South African LGBT couples from getting married as many Home Affairs marriage officers would then exempt themselves from marrying LGBT couples.

Earlier in October this year, News24 reported that a Durban-based same-sex couple, Kyle Pillay and Muhammad Buckus, faced this particular difficulty for over a year. Home Affairs officials reportedly turned them away under the guise that there were no marriage officers but this was later found out to be false. In actual fact, none of the marriage officers had wanted to marry them. This amendment bill will finally change the lives of LGBT South Africans who constantly have to fight battles with a society that has not aligned itself with South Africa's progressive legislation.

Responses on Twitter have been mixed with LGBT members welcoming the news while some South Africans have commented that the amendment infringes on their basic human rights. Understandably, there is still considerable contention when it comes to same-sex marriages being called "civil unions" instead of "marriages" in the heteronormative sense.

Here are some of the responses on social media below:






Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City β€” a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.