I haven’t lived in my home country for ten years, but I love it. I think it’s a great place, a place that’s taken a long and horrible history of repression and prejudice and has turned itself into a functioning democracy. My latest reason for being proud to be a South African is this: last week the South African parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage, becoming the first African country to do so.
South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. The reality is that not all South Africans are as progressive as the constitution, and that the new democracy is a young one. However, they are trying, in every way, to leave discrimination behind them. During the parliamentary debate, Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said same-sex unions or same-sex marriages should be afforded similar space as heterosexual marriages “in the sunshine of democracy”.
Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said South Africans should continue to engage each other in a constructive way to lead the country towards “the kind of society that we all fought for as embodied within our Constitution”.
“The challenge that we shall continue to face has to do with the fact that when we attained our democracy, we sought to distinguish ourselves from an unjust painful past, by declaring that never again shall it be that any South African will be discriminated against on the basis of colour, creed, culture and sex,” she said.
Viva! Let everyone live in the sunshine of democracy …
(For more, see this.)