Flamboyant salon owner GC (Khaya Dladla) looks like he’s headed for a funeral instead of his wedding when he arrives at the Cetshwayo homestead on Tuesday 25 July. “The animation just goes away,” says Khaya. And no wonder. He’s been forced into a desperately unfair position where he must sacrifice one vital part of himself to keep another. Either he must deny his true self and lose his love Jojo (Siphesihle Cele) for good, or he must turn his back on the loving family and village that raised him. No matter what GC chooses, he loses.
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FAMILY MATTERSGC genuinely loves and respects his Father Bhomu (Mduduzi Nombela) and mother MaXimba (Mabel Mthombeni). “Being back at home is good. He likes that,” says Khaya. “You can tell that he loves his parents so much, but right now they are driving him crazy.” GC’s mother suspects that her son has no interest in women but she’s just as stuck as GC is. “She isn’t given the platform to say anything. The father is the head of the family and what he says goes,” reveals Khaya. “I had to sit them down and explain (to Mdudzi), ‘You are the biggest bully you’ve ever met in your life’, (and to Mabel), ‘Mum, you are a yes-sir, yes-sir, to the point where you would hurt your children’s feelings to protect your husband’s feelings.’ They have played this story so well,” laughs Khaya.
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COMPLETE DENIAL“In GC’s village, being gay was never discussed or acknowledged when he was growing up,” explains Khaya. “What they know is that man marries woman. Simple. Man works hard, woman stays in the kitchen.” And after GC manages to convince them that he is gay, on Thursday 27 July GC’s father demands that he be “cleansed of the gay spirit”. Khaya reveals, “Especially in townships and rural areas, even today, being gay is seen as a demon that came into your life, so it needs to be prayed for. You need to do some kind of a ritual for the ancestors. But I want to get across that this is nothing to do with ancestors or demons,” says Khaya.
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BRIBING THE BRIDE
With no way out, GC secretly arranges a meeting with his bride-to-be – the chief’s daughter Hleziphi – on Monday 31 July, only to find out that she’s done nothing with her life but wait patiently for him. She’s like, ‘I’ve never dated anyone, I’ve been told to wait for you. I was told you were going to come back from the city and marry me one day.’” She’s horrified when GC offers her money to leave the village and get work in a hotel. “She is like, ‘No, never! My father would never be pleased with that. You have to marry me. Stop running away. Why are you trying to change what has been planned in history?’” says Khaya.
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GC does runs away though, only to be dragged back by his father. And on Tuesday 1 August, the day of this wedding, he gathers his courage to take one last stand, refusing to live a lie and make two people miserable. Khaya reveals, “He drops the news in front of everyone: ‘I don’t want to get married to this girl. You are amazing, you are pretty you will find someone who will love you. I am gay. I am in love with a man named Jojo who’s not here right now…’