Malawi

Where Are Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga?

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Well, after yesterday's pardon (which I'm still ecstatic about), in hiding and most likely looking for a way out of Malawi.

The AP reports:

Activists said late Saturday that they were searching for a safe house for the couple, fearing they could be attacked upon release. The couple's lawyer, Mauya Msuku, said he had not seen either of the men since their release.

Maxwell Manda also said he had not seen Chimbalanga, his brother-in-law, on Sunday. He told The Associated Press days earlier that Chimbalanga wanted to leave Malawi upon his release. "We heard that they were released but we don't know where they are," he told The AP on Sunday. "They are neither at their home in (a Blantyre suburb) or their villages. But I know they are keeping a low profile deliberately because of the sensitivity of their case."

The two were not at their Blantyre home when an Associated Press reporter visited Sunday morning.

Update: It appears as if The Guardian has more information about the location of Monjeza and Chimbalanga. They had been imprisoned in different facilities over the last few months and are still apart, having returned to their respective villages in Malawi. Sadly, their homecoming has been filled with anger and hate.

The Guardian reports:

Monjeza's family members said his partner would not be welcome in their village. Kelvin Kaumira, in his 60s, said the community was "fuming" over the incident. "People here are furious," he said. "There are so many beautiful women in this village looking for a hand in marriage."

Zione Monjeza, an aunt of Monjeza, said: "Nobody wants to see Tiwonge again in this village. If he dares to come here, he must do so with police for his protection." Such is the widespread public hostility to homosexuality that there are fears of reprisals against both men.

The Guardian also notes that Monjeza is trying to sell his story in order get money to survive.

Madonna issued a statement today about the couple's release. Read it AFTER THE JUMP.

I have always believed love conquers all - yesterday I got to see it in action.

In the last week over 30,000 of you added your name to mine calling for the release of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga - the Malawi couple sentenced to 14 years hard labor for the "crime" of homosexuality. With incredible joy, I am writing to share with you that Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has ordered their release. Steven and Tiwonge were freed on Saturday night.

They have won their freedom and you have been a part of it.

We celebrate this astounding turn of events with Steven, Tiwonge, and the countless Malawians fighting for their release. It is a historic day for Malawi.

Though they are free from prison, sadly their safety and future in Malawi is still unknown. I hope this is just the beginning of our work together.

Human rights injustices continue for so many Malawians facing poverty, disease, and a lack of critical resources. There are still over two million orphans and vulnerable children who need to experience love's embrace.

It is going to take the love and creativity of all of us to bring justice to the people of Malawi. 

Thank you for joining me in Raising Malawi.

With great love,
Madonna

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Comments

  1. They will emigrate because the Malawian gov't insists it will rearrest them if they continue to be homosexuals.

    Posted by: SSCHIEFRSHA | May 30, 2010 4:46:50 PM


  2. get them out of malawi before they are killed.

    Posted by: titus | May 30, 2010 5:28:26 PM


  3. I pray to to the non-existent god that they get out of Malawi and find a country sympathetic enough to house them, so that they experience being in love without danger.

    Posted by: renbo | May 30, 2010 5:59:19 PM


  4. Paging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Madame Secretary, please pick up the white courtesy phone.

    Posted by: BeauChance | May 30, 2010 6:25:28 PM


  5. I hope they get a happy ending.

    The US needs to offer Chimbalanga and Monjeza asylum.

    Posted by: Scott | May 30, 2010 7:35:10 PM


  6. And hopefully they stay 'lost'.

    My friend who lives in SA said they should move there. It wouldn't be so far away from family and friends and SA do have laws that would protect them.

    btw... how many of you know that some missionaries that sponsor Africans to come to America, tell the males not to hold hands once they get here? Showing affection is a cultural normality in some countries in Africa (like holding hands). But the missionaries scare the crap outta them before they get here. Oh, and then basically abandon them once they do.

    Anyway, off track there. *cheezy grin*

    Frankly they should go where ever they feel the most comfortable... just not sure 'here' is the best... I mean, it's not like we're the 'bastion of hope' (though we SHOULD be).

    Posted by: aleabeth | May 30, 2010 8:20:24 PM


  7. Emigrate to the US? And what exactly do you plan on having them do for a living? Do you realize that even doctors from Africa who migrate to the US can't find meaningful employment when they get here? They are ultimately better off staying in their country. All they have to do is put up a charade: "marry" a woman in a local church and proclaim to have been changed. The Malawian public will swallow the charade whole (being sooooooo naive) - even begin to proclaim them heroes. Meanwhile, of course, they can continue seeing each other.

    Posted by: Jackson | May 30, 2010 8:20:39 PM


  8. That how your life worked out, jackson? ewwwww

    Posted by: TANK | May 30, 2010 8:37:09 PM


  9. Africans view male sexuality as being bisexual. This is basically Kinsey's notion, although Kinsey did also state that a small number of men are exlusively homosexual or exclusively heterosexual.

    Therefore, when a man is sexual with another man, the African view is that he has rejected women. This is considered a poor moral choice because it indicates a rejection of one's biological role - ie to reproduce with women and perpetuate the species.

    In essence, the African view of male sexuality as being fluid is far more correct than the American view. The American view is that men are either gay or straight. However, the flaw in the African view is that it refuses to accept that some men are exclusively homosexually oriented.

    Posted by: jason | May 30, 2010 9:21:24 PM


  10. @TANK
    I don't literally mean marry. Don't you see the quotation marks. They could simply collude with their families to put on a straight marriage show...This really is their best bet at finding peace. Emigrating to a first world country is plain impractical. I also happen to be 23 and still single...OK

    Posted by: JACKSON | May 30, 2010 9:40:03 PM


  11. Jackson-- They could and should emigrate to a place like South Africa, Spain, Holland or Britain. The US is not a gay friendly country, especially if a person is African, that's just a fact.

    Posted by: Alex M. | May 30, 2010 9:41:11 PM


  12. @TANK
    Maybe Britain if worse comes to worst, because of the population of African immigrants there and their general congeniality towards them. Spain is very hostile to African immigrants because they say they steal their jobs. SA is also not very welcoming of them (despite being part of Africa) for the same reason. I don't know about Holland. I'm not for them moving to the US because I've witnessed firsthand how hard African immigrants without US degrees or with limited English-speaking capacities suffer. Many simply return home.

    Posted by: JACKSON | May 30, 2010 11:04:56 PM


  13. Jackson, SA is very friendly toward the LBGT community and it's laws reflect that. They do not allow for discrimination in marriage nor employment and they have access to joining the army w/out a DADT in place to pretend gay soldiers don't exist.

    I'm not saying it's perfect, cause no matter where you go, there will be pockets of those that have nothing better to do with their lives than to make others miserable (being a problem in more rural areas than in the cities)... but at least they wouldn't have to leave the continent of their birth.

    They even have legislation that would protect Tiwonge's choice of gender reassignment if she chooses to go through with it.

    The only thing that's not allowed is blood donorship of those that have MSM.

    I know some 'o' y'all are atheist, but Desmond Tutu and the Dutch Reformed church are HUGE LBGT activists down there as well.

    Pretty friggin' impressive if you ask me.

    Makes the US look really, really backward.

    Posted by: aleabeth | May 31, 2010 12:50:41 AM


  14. Thanks to Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika for pardoning them without condition.

    He has heard the collective cry for justice and yesterday made the world a better place.

    This is big and he deserves creds.

    Now Tiwonge and Steven need to make it to safety so that their freedom can be fully celebrated.

    Can you picture them safe and sound? Can you see people around the world celebrating their freedom?

    Yes, it can happen.

    Posted by: mark | May 31, 2010 2:02:05 AM


  15. @Jason

    That is simply not true, any part of it. You're speaking of "Africans" as though the entire continent is of one mind, when clearly they are not. And what you're saying makes no sense anyway; "Africans" view male sexuality as fluid, but are upset when men are sexually involved with other men because they have rejected women? Did you even read the article? It seems as though you're trying to present Africans as a whole as being more liberal and accepting than the cultures who divide people into gay and straight. Well, guess what? THEY FUCKING ARRESTED THESE TWO MEN FOR DECLARING THAT THEY LOVE EACH OTHER. Jesus.

    And Jackson, what the hell are you talking about? That's the worst solution to any problem I have ever heard. What about the feelings of the women they would "marry" (with or without the quotation marks)?

    And what's with all the America-bashing in this thread? Malawi arrests two men for being gay and people are calling America "backward" and saying that the president deserves "credit?" Granted, he pardoned them (after EXTREME pressure from the UN and backward countries like America), but did you read his comments about it yesterday? Yes, by all means, let's give someone credit for NOT sentencing two innocent men to hard labor for 14 years, even though he thinks they deserve it. Pathetic.

    Posted by: Zell | May 31, 2010 7:35:51 AM


  16. Tiwonge in the only interviews recorded so far, identifies as a woman. “I have male genitals, but inside I am a complete woman. Maybe I cannot give birth to a child, but I menstruate every month — or most months — and I can do any household chores a woman can do.”

    Upon her employer finding out that her employee was born male, "she made her employee disrobe and refused to let him [her] stop until he [she] was naked from the waist down and 'that’s where the cat was let out of the bag.'" She was forcibly outed when this story exploded in the international media.

    She may not be trans in the way most westerners think, but she most certainly nevers says she is a gay man. Respect her identity if you actually care about this couple.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/world/africa/14malawi.html

    More reading:

    http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/16215/leaving-the-t-out-of-the-malawian-gay-couple-story

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9d2kXHYnJk

    Posted by: Kian | May 31, 2010 1:36:21 PM


  17. It may also be possible one of the men has HAD to identify as a woman in order for it to be somehow legitimised.

    Posted by: EoinM | Jun 1, 2010 11:23:57 AM


  18. Of course they are here in Malawi. Read mwnation.com today if you really want the truth about these two..Steve Monjeza is marrying his sweetheart Dorothy (real woman) not the fake one. He says he doesn't want to hear anymore on "gay trash" as quoted. He says he wants to be left alone and promises to expose all (including one unidentified white man) one man who wants to masquerade as activist while coercing him into saying he is gay. Its all over the newspapers and radios that he has just been used by shameless pple like most of you. praise God the devil has been exposed. Long Live Malawi and its people. FAITHFULLY YOURS LORITA

    Posted by: Lorita | Jun 8, 2010 10:09:22 AM


  19. As for Aunt Tiwo this is just a poor soul who suffers Munchausen syndrome - seeking attention from across the country including that of Ban Ki Moon. Hope Madonna will come and adopt poor soul Aunt Tiwo. We do not need him here.

    Posted by: Lorita | Jun 8, 2010 10:20:30 AM


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