By PaanLuel Wël, Juba, South Sudan
“It [homosexuality] is not in our character…it is not there and if anybody wants to import it to Sudan…it will always be condemned by everybody.” President Salva Kiir told Radio Netherland in 2010.
March 10, 2015 (SSB) — Hot in Juba, which describes itself as the “first Junubin all round gossips website” has electrified South Sudanese on social media with a story of Mach Nhiany, dubbed the first South Sudan gay.
The story delved into the personal life of Mach, including the fact that he is living with his white boyfriend. And there are pictures too for the doubting Thomases.
As usually the case with such “juicy” stories among South Sudanese on social media, the news rapidly gains a life of its own on Facebook and twitter.
Apparently, Mach was exposed without his knowledge. Upon learning of the article on Hot in Juba, he went on his Facebook page to announce his intention to commit suicide for being exposed.
Few hours later, it was reported that Mach Nhiany has been admitted into hospital, after he was rescued, found hanging on a rope in his bathroom by close friends who had been following him up and down all day long, following his post on Facebook.
The Dinka and the wider South Sudanese community are shocked by the news of Mach’s sexual orientation. Most Africans have always maintain that homosexuality is a social phenomenal manufactured by the rich white men living in a decadence society.
This is not the first reported case of homosexuality among South Sudanese, however. As Majur Deng Nhial of Borglobe.com explained in his 2010 article “The invisible gays community in South Sudan”, there have been known cases of gay people among the Diaspora community:
The United States is the lawful nation where there is freedom of sexual orientation that benefited the long-time suffered brothers and sisters who had no choice of revealing their internal secrecies before coming here; surprisingly, four cases are frankly made known. Tracing back to their origins in South Sudan, Bor County in Jonglei State has two separate cases, one for a male and one case involves two females allegedly in a relationship. Duk County in Jonglei State has a male case and one male case from Rumbek in the Lake State. Dinka, the largest tribe in South Sudan held firmly by its traditional norms and customs now has individuals breaking records in the 21st century regarding homosexual history. Living in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, Kuma (not a real name) was a fashionable gentleman who loved to hangout with girls quite often. His voice box and walking style was of a female, but everybody else was sucking a thumb saying “Oh! he got all of them, all the girls” because he had a physical grace and beauty that attracted girls; that was a moment he wrestled with his true gender identity, but nobody paid attention until his arrival to the United State where he found liberty.
As most people heard of and comment on the social media, it became apparent that Mach has had “weird” social behaviors since childhood. Those who knew him in Kakuma Refugee camp, Kenya, say that Mach has been behaving like a girl and was fond of playing with girls rather than with boys.
For that, he was subjected to constant bullying by his age mates.
One of those people who knew Mach in Kenya is Elizabeth Kuch, who writes:
First and foremost, Mach-Tok was born that way. Those who knew him at a tender age knew that he was different kind of a boy. The word gay at that time wasn’t known but we knew something was different and people start calling him a girl. If his birth was uncultured, then blame God for creating him a girl trap in a man body. Mach Nhiany didn’t choose to be born that way. Mach didn’t create something he wasn’t originally is. He has a heart of a gold. He never bothered anyone but treat all with respect and love. We have straight guy who are destroying people lives making life in the universe a living hell, let’s focus on them but not Mach.
Indeed most of the people who are outraged by the revelation cite African culture and God, claiming that homosexuality is immoral because the biblical God created man and a woman, not two men or two women.
“What is a fun about it for a man to sway his butts in front of another man suggesting sexuality?” one asked.
Yet the same people cannot reconcile the fact that it is the same God who created everything in the universe, including Mach Nhiany and many other South Sudanese who are yet to come out.
“Even those who are not gays get killed daily in south Sudan.and we do not fear…we are here in hundreds .across all ten states, if we are not public does not means we are not here…..myself I am married to a senior military officer and a politician from Tirol who I really love and do love me. we know that our culture does not give a room for such engagement but and that’s why we do not go public” …commented one Deng Bol
Also, some argue that homosexuality is a western way of life, which is an abomination in African culture. Most of the South Sudanese who resettled in the West have always prided themselves that “we don’t have gays in Africa and particularly in Sudan.”
This is why Mach is considered a social outcast because it has proved them wrong, once and for all.
The condemnation of Mach based on morality betrayed the educational level of those who condemned him. Morality is a social construct, a social convention, which differs from generation to generation, epoch to epoch. There is nothing sacrosanct about it.
Others assert that homosexuality is a choice, which has no evolutionary justification. Yet, to think that homosexuality should have evolutionary justification is to presuppose that evolution has preordained purpose that is hardly the case.
To these people, heterosexuality is evolutionarily good because it begets other human beings while homosexuality begets none. However, what these people failed to comprehend is the fact that sentient beings are byproduct of a blind, purposeless process.
The universe doesn’t need the presence of a sentient being. Therefore, whether or not homosexuality does not seem to serve any particular evolutionary purpose is beside the point because evolution has no purpose and human beings are not the end goal of evolutionary process but rather indeterminate byproduct.
Therefore, it is the sad case that we haven’t socially evolved enough to presuppose anything, which violate our localized experience. The white racist would haul insults on an African because a black skin is contrary to his localized experience of a white skin.
This is the same premise with homosexuality; just because most of our people are not exposed to such experiences make someone like Mach a social outcast. The education our people have received—from certificate all the way to the PhD level—is not adequate to solve political squabbling in Juba precisely because it is not good enough to tolerate differences of entrenched opinions.
The disease of absolute certainty in our convictions is destroying us. The same mindset fueling the conflict between Kiir’s and Riek’s camps is being manifest here against Mach Nhiany.
“We are right, you are wrong.”
Little wonder that the society of “homosexuals” is the most peaceful and prosperous ones while the society of “pure morality” is the most corrupt, and conflict-ridden ones.
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