Tuesday, June 1, 2010


SEE! PUBLIC OUTCRY does have effects. . . sometimes!
Their release didnt appear to 'make the news' like their arrest and trial did.
PLUS a number of links for other GAY news items from the ADVOCATE

more later from me. . .that is a threat. ;-)

Monjeza Pleads: "I Need Money"

Malawi x390 (Pick Up) I Advocate.com

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, who were pardoned by Malawi’s president and released from prison on Saturday, have returned to their separate home villages, the U.K. Guardian reports.

Chimbalanga, who identifies as a transgender woman, was sent from prison to her family’s home in Thylo, 22 miles from the commercial capital of Blantyre. Monjeza, meanwhile, is reported to be in Chileka, nine miles from Blantyre.

Monjeza’s family members say they are determined to keep the couple apart. Aunt Zione Monjeza told The Guardian, “Nobody wants to see Tiwonge again in this village. If he dares come here, he must do so with police for his protection.” And uncle Khuliwa Dennis Monjeza said, “We want to warn his partner, Tiwonge, that he should never set foot in this village…otherwise we shall deal with him.”

The Guardian reported that when one of its reporters approached Monjeza, he replied: “I can’t just talk to you. I am selling my story Give me K100,000 (about $665).” He then dropped his request to K60,000, adding, “I need money. Good money. I have just come out of prison. I need to survive.”

On Saturday, The New York Times spoke to Chimbalanga via cell phone with the help of an interpreter. “I’ve been under so much emotional stress that I need to find somewhere to rest,” she said. “I still want to marry Steven. But I don’t know what he’s thinking any more. We’ve been through so much.”

Chimbalanga added: “I think it’s going to be hard to stay in Malawi. I am afraid of what people might do to us. We probably need to seek asylum in some other country. Is there a place for us? I don’t know.”

Monjeza and Chimbalanga were imprisoned in December after they engaged in what Malawi officials considered an illegal same-sex commitment ceremony. They were sentenced last week to 14 years in prison on charges of gross indecency and unnatural acts.

Their pardon and release came after U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited Malawi President Bingu wa Muthrika and reportedly told him that the controversy surrounding the couple’s arrest and imprisonment was having a negative effect on Malawi’s international reputation.

In announcing the pardon, Muthrika said, “These boys committed a crime against our culture, our religion, and our laws. However, as the head of state, I hereby pardon them and ask for their immediate release with no conditions.”

Advocate.com will continue to update this story, along with any information—as it becomes available—on how readers may be able to help Monjeza and Chimbalanga.

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2 readers have recommended this story.

Reader Comments
  • Name: Ramon
    Date posted: 5/31/2010 6:22:24 PM
    Hometown: Miami


    These two should start organizing non-violent civil resistence to African homophobia just like Martin Luther King organized peacefully to win civil rights for blacks in the United States. There is no need for these Africans to be driven out of their own homeland. The Whole World is Watching.

  • Name: Scott
    Date posted: 5/31/2010 5:23:55 PM
    Hometown: Portland


    They'd be better off going to Canada where they can marry and have healthcare.

  • Name: gary
    Date posted: 5/31/2010 1:10:15 PM
    Hometown: union city


    Im glad they got out of prison, i wish to help in any way i can.

  • Name: Ray
    Date posted: 5/31/2010 11:14:15 AM
    Hometown: morgan


    Call the State department and ask that they be granted asylum in the US

  • Name: Imamu Baraka, Clik Magazine
    Date posted: 5/30/2010 10:55:35 PM
    Hometown: USA


    Frank ... Thank you!

  • Name: slobone
    Date posted: 5/30/2010 10:12:24 PM
    Hometown: NY


    That blouse is so fabulous!... is it wrong of me to say that?

  • Name: Frank
    Date posted: 5/30/2010 6:52:50 PM
    Hometown: Ontario CA


    Michael - you're right and also not right. Do you remember the story of the kid and the starfish? He's on the beach loaded with tens of thousands of starfish washed up after a storm. A man comes along and watches as he sees him periodically pick up a starfish and sling it back into the water. The guy asks, "What are you doing,kid?" "Saving them." The man scoffed. "What are you, crazy? Look at them all. Look at them all. How is whatever you do going to ever make any difference." The kid just shook his head as he picked up another starfish and tossed it into the ocean. "Makes a difference to THIS one." That what this is. Yes, we need to work to finally help the others trapped in fear, but right now, this is the "one" that we can help and potentially save.

  • Name: Michael
    Date posted: 5/30/2010 6:26:54 PM
    Hometown: RI


    well I hate to be the dick here, but can you imagine how many millions of oppressed queers there are in the less-civilized world? I mean, gay people face jail time or death throughout much of Africa and Asia. I wish this couple the best of luck, but if you're gonna be charitable, I really don't think that's the best route.

  • Name: Lisa
    Date posted: 5/30/2010 6:00:53 PM
    Hometown: Sacramento


    Is there a legitimate trust fund set up to help them leave the country and start over?

  • Name: None
    Date posted: 5/30/2010 6:00:53 PM
    Hometown: Canada


    Yes, please keep us posted. I really hope that they are both able to receive asylum somewhere...

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Stew said...

What's amazing to me is that they have obviously known eachother long enough to have a commitment cerimony, and violate the laws against such a thing. Yet still, the family doesn't want her in their village. Sounds to me like a family that doesn't really know their nephew. Or care about his feelings.
Typically that's what changes peoples minds. The fact that someone that they know and love is gay. It happened with my own father. You would think that a close family would do anything they could to allow them to be together despite the laws.
Maybe their religion is so strict that peoples feelings don't matter. Only the rules.

JustinO'Shea said...

Civil law in all contries in Africa, with the exception of the country of SouthAfrica, prohibit any form of homosexuality. It is considered so counter-cultural that it can be punished by life imprisonment and/ or
In Uganda 2 persons 'thought' to be gay can be arrested for being together over a cup of coffee.

Remember the two teenagers in Iran a couple summers ago who were arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced to death on charge of homosexuality. The photos of these boys being led to and actually being hanged was in the press the world over. It was horrible! KIDS!!! {both under 16 or so]

Some religious leaders in Africa, especially prominent Anglican Bishops support the death penalty for homosexuality. These African Anglicans are "not in fellowship" with the Anglican (Episcopal Church USA) over the election of an openly Gay, partnered bishop in New Hampshire. The issue of homosexuality and ordination of gays and women priests and bishops is threatening the unity of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Most of the African Anglican Bishops [with the exception of Archbp Desmond Tutu of Capetown, SA] have broken bonds with the rest of the Anglican Church.

I am happy personally to report that the Catholic Church does not support or approve in any way these violent measures against homosexuality.

Culturally, homosexuality is totally against the norms and tribal customs of the the African people, and is not accepted or supported in any way. If this transgendered person is unwanted in her town by her family, no surprise.

I could go on and on from history among african religions from courses I have taken on the inbred cultural prohibitions practiced in most Third-World Countries. . . .but I refrain. . .LOLOL