For many years and arguably to this day, many people are ostracised for their sexual identity and or their sexual preferences. As a result of this many- both men and women- hide their sexual orientation from their loved ones or from society itself, this has led to many living in the shadows of what truly pleases them.
It has come to light that many Batswana men have a certain taste for their own kind-men sleeping with men. The argument is that, though they may sleep with men, they are attracted to women and are not gay, their preference for sometimes or on occasion sleeping with the same sex is merely for pleasure, to scratch an itch.
For some of these men (Men Sleeping with Men (MSM)), they do not identify themselves as gay in anyway, and see their acts of coitus as nothing but a sexual act and not their identity.
According to a research made by Scholars Strategy Network, there is a difference between identity and behaviours and their research highlights that sexual orientation and sexual identity are different. “Sexual orientation refers to attractions, fantasies, and desires, as well as sexual behaviours. Sexual identity refers to how individuals understand their sexuality in the context of other aspects of their lives, especially the groups and institutions they feel part of,” the research highlights.
This could mean that a lot of men in relatively stable heterosexual relationships may very well be exploring the same sex for sexual gratifications, and still go home to their families and live life as if nothing happened.
WeekendLife explored this topic further with local music sensation Motswafere, who also identifies as a feminine gay man. He confirmed that there are men in Botswana who are fascinated by cross-dressing and feminine gay people and they have a fetish for them.
“Sometimes they do it to release their anger of a part of themselves that haunts them but because of society they can’t explore freely. So they do it in secret. And in the process they might lie to the vulnerable gay person, just to get what they want and leave, but the gay person would have become attached. Sometimes falling victim to being the provider to this person, at the end they realise they invested in a project that never was.’’
In some cases, these are straight boys who lure in weak feminine boys, to swindle them of money for the gain of sexual pleasure. The straight claiming men, are cunning and tactical to benefit out of this. You find out that these men also target rich white guys and just the rich, and they become trophy muscle boys or slave boys, because they are there to offer sex for the high life,” said Motswafere.
It has become more of a trend as more people especially men, find themselves tied down by life due to financial restraints and the only way out would be for them to sleep with men. It then becomes one of the many ways to milk vulnerable people of their money without any emotional attachment, this however as much as it may seem as prostitution is not always the case for why MSMs exist.
“It is becoming more and more apparent, because men these days don’t want to work hard, the youth as a whole. So ‘Men sleeping with Men’ is one way to diversify their income.
And sometimes the helpless feminine gay boys who pay them are left with threats like ‘if you tell people about this, you are dead!’ Some men like domination, the fact that they are dominant and taking from you, emasculating you, gives them power, men love power, so when they do another man, their power is heightened, that is one of the reasons why. So, a lot of straight men now have been reduced to the thought that every gay person needs them. Especially to service them sexually and in return they would be given money,” he said.
Another young man who identifies as gay, Prince Molefinyane strongly believes that there is no such thing as having sex with other men and not classifying yourself as gay. “This is bigotry unrevealed and it really irks me when gays let themselves fall for such people who cannot proudly announce themselves as part of us. Those people can’t just accept their sexuality,” he said.
Bradley Fortuin, Acting CEO of LEGABIBO, confirmed that it is possible for men who are heterosexuals to have sex with other men and not identify as gay or bisexual.
“That is like a sexual practice which does not define your sexual orientation or how you sexually identify yourself. Just like how you can find gay men who engage in sexual practice with women, for various reasons. There is a whole difference between the two,” he highlighted.
When asked whether MSM’s are recognised under LGBTQI he said, “They can be gay, bisexual, queer or straight. Remember MSM is only the sexual act not the identity. So yes, they can identify as that,” he said.
Creatives take covid-19 strain…
With doubts surging as to whether or not things will return to normal after the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, Botswana artists and promoters’ hopes are running dry as the entertainment industry takes strain.
The creative sector was to be aided by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sports and Culture development (MYSC), this was confirmed by Tumiso Rakgare, however, the funds are reported to be taking forever to be credited which has pushed entertainers over the edge, more so that their sector is totally closed.
The argument from the entertainers is that it is unfair for the transport sector to be fully operational while they are completely closed off. “The creative sector should be opened to allow the creatives to earn a living without depending on the government. A whole lot of creatives are so depressed because of having to stay for money without a salary hence all the gigs were cancelled.
In all the industries which has been opened there are protocols and the same can apply to the entertainment industry. Look at the bus services or transportation. They have protocols to observe. We can be opened as well and be allowed to observe the same rules,” said Thabang Garogwe, Botswana Afro Jazz Musician.
It is without a doubt that a lot of artists were feeding off from the sector, and now their supply ceased and they are hanging from a thread without knowing what tomorrow holds for them, some artists however suggest that the government must strategize.
“I believe that we should gradually open up the entertainment industry soonest. We can do it in phases with limited audiences and times, increasing gradually till we are back in full swing. This total closure is killing us. We have public transporters who are allowed 100 percent passenger capacity. We are talking zero social distancing and some routes, say Gaborone-Kasane, mean that people are stuck together in a bus for more than 10 hours. Why can’t I have a 5 hour outdoor event? Does it sound unreasonable for us to ask for this?” Sereetsi and the Natives said.
“I have had bookings locally and internationally cancelled. That’s a loss of income and livelihood.” The ‘Sedidi’ hit-maker, Amantle Brown also found herself drowning in anxiety as she too is sceptic as to whether the industry that kept things together in her life will open soon or not. She however calls out to the entertainment organisations to come through for their sector.
“Covid-19 has really hit us so bad, it’s crazy because when it started the first month and the second month, we were hoping that things will get to normal but when we saw ourselves going to the forth then firth month and then July. It feels like we are going to go crazy and explode. Everything is stagnant. Things have paused and panic is setting in, anxiety is setting and I’m just wondering where I am going to get money from to buy necessities,” she said.
“It is just messed up and I feel we need these music bodies to stand up and rise for this issue and figure a way to help us so that we can sustain ourselves until things get back to normal. We need help as soon as possible. We waited for way too long and we are starting to panic, lose grip and even demotivated.
MYSC relief fund has not yet come in yet. I am calling onto COSBOTS to find a way to pay our royalties, VIB to pay for our caller tunes so that at least we can gather what we could gather until things are better.”
Kabelo Mogwe from Culture Spears also established with this publication that, this has been their hardest year yet as their international shows were cancelled when international trips were halted.
“We make a living by music, especially us Culture Spears because most of the time we cross borders. Last year if I remember well, every month we were booked to perform internationally. Every month we were crossing the border.
That is where we were mostly affected. There are no shows as well, CD’s were made in South Africa and the pandemic slowed us down. Night shows and corporate shows were really affected. Things have been stopped due to travel restrictions and social distancing,” he lamented,
Lockdown cost Hamptons P85 000
Like many social events, the Hamptons Jazz Festival was also the first to be hit by the devastating COVID-19 postponements in the event fraternity. Their standing, as the biggest show in Botswana can be attributed to the growing support and loyalty of local and international customers, the ‘Hamptonettes’.
The event’s postponement meant loyal revellers could not enjoy the bawling sound of live music, the euphoria that came with the buzz that oozed from the stage and the large crowds, while sipping on their chosen potions.
The founder of Hamptons Jazz Festival, Debbie Smith established with this publication that the social event lost P85 000 after taking time building up to an event which was later interrupted by the pandemic. Despite everything, they have managed to secure all bookings on international artists for the next event.
She further explained that they are not sure as to whether the event will host or not. ‘‘We are Hoping that the event does take place on October 24th as provisionally planned, we have a few surprises up our sleeve to implore our fans to keep on the lookout for updates on our Facebook page and other social media platforms. In the meantime, while waiting for government, we encourage everyone to continue adhering to Covid regulations,” she said
As the creative industry continues to take strain amid the pandemic, it means that the Hamptons was also tampered with and many things were put on hold as well as all the engaged stakeholders.
“It also meant sending many on the team home as there was nothing left for them to do- nothing left to pay them. 50 of our consultants found themselves without an income, while an additional 100+ tasked with sales, marketing, PR and media, administration, operations, setup and maintenance, etc., the show also lost out,”
“Hamptons prides itself with its team, which comprises of 80% of youths between 18 and 35.
That, together with our commitment to always having a huge line- up comprising of local and international artists has been wrecked tragically. Local artists and band members, who stood to benefit even more from the higher rates attached to live performances have had to stay home with no lucrative income from their trade. They have lost out on an opportunity to network and form collaborations with international artists,” said Smith.
An event which is known for bringing the hottest line up, by engaging international artists said they are closely interested in the state of ‘all things COVID’ in the SADC region as their line-up has international artists from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique. Hamptons remains relentless in providing what it is known for; a good mix of quality local and international live jazz music.
“As a promoter that appreciates the need for public health and safety, we realise that social distancing at large events will be a challenge. We do know and trust, however, that the public knows how to carry themselves amid such conditions. Despite the anxiety and fear around the effects of COVID, there is a lot that we can do as events promoters to ensure that precautions are taken when attending events,”
“We anxiously wait to hear from government on any recommendations as far as large gatherings are concerned and the opportunity to brainstorm and suggest around how we can take the necessary precautions. We have been patient; we have been co-operating; we are hungry; we need to fend for ourselves. We humbly plea to the government, through the Covid Task Team, to consider us, when making decisions. We live in hope,” she said.
Artists and promoters were promised an allowance by the government, and it seems like the payments are taking time to be credited which is putting more strain on artists as well as promoters.
“Promoters were promised a relief fund and BEPA (Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association) has tried several times to get updates from MYSC. However, finally the update is that promoters and artists will get a relief fund next week or the week after. As the Hamptons, we did not apply for any subsidence funds as we feel there are other companies who deserve them better than us. It’s a difficult time for everyone,” Smith concluded.
When your friend falls in love with your man
When it comes to love and friendship, it is often a girl code of sorts to know their limits especially when it comes to dating each other’s partners. In some instances though, some find themselves smitten over their friend’s love, to an extent that they walk down the aisle with their friend’s former lover. This then begs the question; is it okay for to find ‘true love’ in my friend’s man?
As immoral or shocking as it may be, the scenario is all but too common. A typical example of this can be found in the South African television and radio personality Bonang Matheba and renowned music personality Dj Zinhle. The two are said to have once been best friends before their feud. The two separated after rapper AKA who at the time was dating Dj Zinhle, went on to have a romantic relationship with Bonang Matheba, whilst Dj Zinhle was pregnant with baby Kairo. While some saw AKA and Bonang as a match made in heaven, bottom line was AKA was initially her best friend’s man.
There are so many reasons as to why someone, would secretly crush on their friend’s man, even after the said couple go their separate ways. Some guys however feel that, it is an issue of finding a partner that completes you rather than someone being your partner’s friend. Meaning, if their partner lacks a certain trait, and their friend has the exact trait which was sought after, then why not go for someone they feel they are more compatible with.
While women are more emotional about the issue, they believe a friend has no reason to date their man even if it is a former lover, unless of course they were never friends in the first place. Even so, loyalty can’t be overruled in friendships and it comes first.
Although hesitant to reveal more, Archibold Letsatle who found himself in a similar situation, said that this messes a person up, which is safe to say even men feel the hurt that comes with friends dating their lovers.
“Been there but on the receiving end, it destroys your partner more than you. You are not that evil. So either confess so that he leaves or you give them equal opportunity to fight for you. I can only say it cost me a lot. I couldn’t focus at school, dropped out of CIMA, went on a revenge spree and I got depressed. I just got back my life after 3years of depression. That whole thing messed me up my life,” he said.
In an interview with WeekendLife, Psychologist Tshepo Shoshong, highlighted that this is caused by a creation of whole lot things that can open a door for someone to fall in love with their friend’s lover.
“Sometimes we rush to tell our friends what is transpiring in our relationship, to an extent of citing that they are good in bed and all those things. Being an open book and your friend get to know what kind of person your partner is. The moment they meet your partner, they already feel they know them. We are too quick to introduce our partners even in the early months of the relationship. When we introduce them, a bond is being created. Then your partner and your friend can turn into more of a sexual understanding and undertone. Which can make your friend think they are more deserving of your partner, more especially when the friend is cheating and undecided about their partner,” he said.
While friendship means a lot to many, he said when it comes to understanding the kind of friendship you have with your friends, that means also understanding how the two of you define that friendship because most of the time people who we call friends do not consider us to be their friend, that is why they will go after your lover because sometimes they are doing it with a clear conscious that you are not friends.
“Some do so because of their malicious intentions, they are just being spiteful. You are happy in a relationship and they just want to destroy that. Sometimes they fall for each other because your friend has more things in common with your partner. They get to bond on small issues. They have most things in common that they spend most of their time discussing it and when they hold such conversations that is when it clicks that there is a lot going between them,” said Shoshong.
Most of the time we beat ourselves up for losing our loved ones to another person and we feel we were never good enough or we were lacking in some aspect, Shoshong however advised that when something like that happens to you, you should never think to beat yourself up about it.
“You come first, so if someone steals your partner, do not blame yourself for anything, even for bringing the two together. Do not take the blame by thinking you did not meet the expectation. We tend to be hard and harsh on ourselves for the decisions that others took. Then we feel it is not right for us. This means also that the friendship was never legit or worthwhile. Which is why you need to understand the purpose of your friendship and how you classify it,” he said.
In conclusion, Shoshong said people should not allow their friends to openly chat with their partners to an extent of even meeting up. “Do not be too relaxed without boundaries, so that they know when to draw the line.’’